A couple of weeks ago Netflix released a teaser trailer for the upcoming release of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. The series, which will debut on January 13th 2017 (Friday the 13th no less), will see the tale of the Baudelaire orphans return to screen for the first time since the 2004 film starring Jim Carrey.
I find it very hard to contain my excitement.
Lemony Snicket (the pen name of author Daniel Handler) wrote what was probably my favourite book series when I was younger. The first book of his I ever picked up was ‘The Hostile Hospital’, number 8 in the Unfortunate Events series, and I was completely captivated. The mystery, the dark humour and storylines, the characters…all if it was so compelling, and it felt like such a mature read for the age I was. There was something intelligent and adult about the series, despite being written for a younger audience.
I was over the moon when the film was released in 2004, and although some people view it negatively, I feel it did a good job of translating the first three books onto the screen. The only issue I had was that there was no sign of a release (and also that Klaus didn’t wear glasses which is integral to the plot of book 4). For several years I would search online to see if there was any update on a sequel, and whilst there always seemed to be various discussions by producers and directors and writers, nothing ever came about. Eventually too much time had passed in order for their to be a fitting sequel.
Then Netflix came to the rescue.
When I first heard there was a possibility the series was going to be remade from the start, I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Nothing had been confirmed and this was something that I desperately wanted. There’s nothing worse than seeing a series you love be adapted and then cut off before it’s completed *cough* Golden Compass *cough*. Once I’d read that Neil Patrick Harris had been cast as Count Olaf, though, I knew I could celebrate. This was finally happening.
That all seems like so long ago. Now with just a few months until the series is released on Netflix, my excitement has turned to curiosity about how well the books will be covered on the small screen.
I read an article yesterday written a few months back which talked about the likelihood of how Netflix would cover the series. It reminded me of how the adaptation should cover more than just the story of the Baudelaire orphans, but also the tone of the books.
As I said earlier, Snicket’s work is quite dark, both in it’s plot points and the atmosphere his writing creates. In a way this is the most important thing that needs to be transferred to the screen. If the series focuses too much on the humorous aspects of the story, particularly in relation to Count Olaf, then the darker moments won’t come across as seriously as they should. Some of what happens across the 13 books is actually quite disturbing.
I am also wondering about how much will be covered in one series. The other day I read somewhere that this first run will consist of eight episodes and will focus on the the first four books of the series. I imagine the episodes will run for about 45/60 minutes each, meaning a few hours worth of footage for each book. That’s a fair amount of coverage, particularly with the first few books being relatively short in length. Whether that will continue to be the case in future series (assuming/hoping there will be some) is yet to be seen. I would personally suggest using more episodes for one story as the show progresses through the books.
It is also unknown how much of the content of the show will be adapted from the books, and how much will be new. Some shows that are based off of existing work tend to use the major plot points, but alter some of the story. Provided that the series doesn’t detract from the main storylines or lead the Baudelaires into a ridiculous situation, then I would have no issue with that. It can be quite hard sometimes to watch a film or TV series knowing everything that will happen.
All that we can really do now is wait for January to come around and see whether Netflix were justified in bringing back the Baudelaire orphans. With everything I’ve seen so far, I’m already leaning towards a Very Firmly Definite yes!
Note: All eight episodes of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events will be available on January 13th 2017. Make sure you free up your schedule that day so you can binge to your heart’s content.
*header image taken by Cameron Evans at https:/www.flickr.com/photos/heartfullofpoison/