By Maddie Sievers
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Daniel Handler, more commonly known by his pen name Lemony Snicket, has certainly had its fair share of waves of popularity. First came the wildly popular book series with a grand total of thirteen novels, from The Bad Beginning in 1999 to The End in 2006. In 2004 came the release of the feature film starring Jim Carrey and Meryl Streep. For years, there have been rumors circulating about the production of a television series. For fans of the dreadfully dark series, this speculation finally came true on Friday, January 13, 2017.
A star-studded cast makes this 8 episode Netflix original series even more dazzling than the original film. The star villain of the franchise, Count Olaf, is played by Neil Patrick Harris. Stunningly realistic stage makeup helped to transform the actor’s face to resemble the book’s hideous description of the character. As a decorated actor, Harris is the perfect Hollywood star to portray Count Olaf seeing as the character is also a thespian (albeit a terrible one). A small How I Met Your Mother reunion occurs with Neil Patrick Harris and Cobie Smulders, who makes several brief appearances throughout the series. Count Olaf’s dilapidated theater troupe is also hilariously reinvented while at the same time respecting the integrity of the book.
Patrick Warburton also stars as Lemony Snicket, who has a much larger role in this interpretation than the last. The narrator has frequent monologues quoted word-for-word from the original text of the book. You can be sure that these quotes—along with the majority of the plot—remain true to the book series as author Daniel Handler receives writing credit for all 8 episodes. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Joan Cusack plays the role of the very spirited Justice Strauss. The young actor and actresses portraying the three Baudelaire orphans bring new light to the creative geniuses these children are.
Perhaps the biggest delight of the series’ new rendition is the fact that it contains the first-ever on-screen adaptation of The Miserable Mill. In the first movie, only the first three books are covered. While it was refreshing to see a remake of those three in this series, it was even more exciting to see some “new” content on-screen.
The end of this movie leaves the orphans at The Austere Academy, giving Netflix binge-watchers the strong possibility that the series will return for a second season. For now, this hope will remain a mystery as great as the tale of the Baudelaires.