Many years ago, I was a new kid in my little Connecticut town. I’d spent a lot of time moving around from home to home as a child, and I wasn’t really sure if I’d have time to get comfortable- it was one fateful day in this town’s local library that I discovered The Reptile Room, and my life was forever changed.
You see, The Reptile Room is the second book in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and it made me appreciate fiction in brand new ways. If you’re unfamiliar with Snicket’s work, you should know that it’s incredibly self aware: it’s fiction that talks about fiction, that criticizes itself as media and as a medium, and that employs humor in ways that other books aren’t daring enough to pull off.
Besides making me love literature, the books gave me something to talk about with my new friends in my new town. They let me get comfortable, and I’ll forever love them for that. I still fondly remember going to see the 2004 film adaptation of the books- it covered the first three books in ASoUE, and it took a few creative liberties with the story, both regarding plot and tone, and while I enjoyed it, by the film’s end I realized that there wouldn’t be a sequel- and I was alright with that. I was already very satisfied with the books- a movie was just icing on the cake.
In case you’re wondering what it’s about, A Series of Unfortunate Events tells the story of the Baudelaire orphans, who are set to inherit a tremendous fortune- unfortunately for them, they’re being pursued by a treacherous villain: Count Olaf, who will stop at nothing to adopt these children in order to take their inheritance for himself. Throughout the books, metaphors are brought to life, examined, questioned and considered. It’s one of the best written children’s book series of all time, and I honestly think it’s worth reading whether you’re young or old.
Today, Netflix unveiled a teaser for their upcoming series based on the books, and I’m very excited.
Why You Should Be Excited
While A Series of Unfortunate Events is special to me for many personal reasons, the upcoming Netflix adaptation should have you excited, even if you’re completely unfamiliar with the books. To begin with? It seems that faithfulness to the original series has been a priority with this adaptation. Bear in mind, A Series of Unfortunate Events– the books- are literature that pulls apart literature. While unabashedly making fun of tropes and cliches, it encourages readers to be more aware of what they’re reading. If the tone is properly preserved by the Netflix series, expect a dark comedy that’ll push you to think about the media that you consume.
Then, too, it’s worth considering the talent behind the show- the above teaser features Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket, the fourth-wall breaking narrator of the series- an interesting pick, but I trust he’ll perform well. A few images have leaked out of Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf- while I initially had my doubts about Harris as Olaf, it certainly seems that with the magic of hair and makeup, he looks every bit as evil as Brett Helquist’s illustrations. Then, too, is the casting of Malina Weissman as Violet Baudelaire- I’m familiar with her work as an actress from her performance on Supergirl– quality of the writing on that show notwithstanding, she is rather capable. Getting good child actors to play as the Baudelaire orphans is pivotal to the success of the show; after the overwhelming success of Stranger Things, it seems that child actors on Netflix are “in,” so I’m pretty sure people will be excited for this.
My main concern is whether or not the show will really retain the tone of the books. While the teaser trailer retains the definitions of words from the books- a good sign- I’m not sure if the showrunner, Mark Hudis, has what it takes. Then again, he has worked on Nurse Jackie and That ’70s Show, so there’s no doubt that humor is one of his strengths. Additionally, Daniel Handler (the author of the series who writes under the psuedonym Lemony Snicket) seems to be very involved in the show’s production, and he seems to be very aware of tropes and cliches worth dodging- I trust his involvement will be for the best.
A Series of Unfortunate Events is set to be released on Netflix on January 13, 2017. Are you excited for the show? Sound off below and hit us up and follow @1RuleBeCool on Twitter.