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Netflix brings children’s books to life

February 4, 2017

Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire are left orphans after a tragic house fire. – Netflix

 

Sarah-Katherine Semon
Staff Reporter | sks033@latech.edu

 

On Friday the 13th Netflix brought the children’s book series “A Series of Unfortunate Events” to life with its new original show.

 

“A Series of Unfortunate Events” follows the journey of three children, Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire, who are left orphans after a fire kills their parents.

 

The show as a whole was very dark in both theme and most settings. The sets were striking and polar, either bright and ostentatious or dark and eerie.

 

Every line in the show had meaning, either hidden or obvious. The obvious humor and almost every character’s blatant disregard for the social norms made it impossible to not find it humorous.

 

The first character introduced was none other than Lemony Snicket himself. Snicket, who narrated the show, was played by Patrick Warburton. At first, the monotone narration was distracting and felt very forced.

 

Soon his ominous presence became both comforting and expected. Snicket explained every scene as it played out and pointed out pieces in the scene to pay close attention to.

 

In episodes one and two, “The Bad Beginning,” Count Olaf, played by Neil Patrick Harris was introduced. Harris’s portrayal of the Count was as outrageous and cringe-worthy as the character himself. He also brought a sort of theatrical element to the show, with his musical numbers and grand gestures, which complemented the thematic elements.

 

His many appearances throughout the show disguised as many different characters, from a female optometrist receptionist to a reptile expert with a sketchy accent, were well represented. From the moment he stepped on screen, he demanded attention and certainly stole the show.

 

The Count’s outlandish Theater Troupe was also introduced and seemed unnecessary at times with their slapstick comedy and bland delivery of lines.

 

Episodes two and three, “The Reptile Room,” brings new adventure and the new character, Uncle Monty, played by Aasif Mandvi. He brought a fresh spin on the character that was different from both the books and the 2004 movie adaptation starring Jim Carrey.

 

“The Wide Window,” episodes four and five, seemed to slow down. The story was slower, and the character development took a break. In these episodes, Aunt Josephine is introduced; while her character is one of the most humorous of the show the actress, Alfre Woodard, didn’t have much to offer. Her delivery of the well-written lines fell short, which caused the believability of her character’s extreme beliefs to suffer.

 

The final two episodes, “The Miserable Mill,” were not the least bit entertaining. The short-lived characters had no lasting impact on the children and were not at all memorable to the series as a whole.

 

Overall, this book to small screen adaptation hit the mark. It is definitely a Netflix must watch.

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