Friday the 13th of January will, appropriately, see the release of a new Netflix series based on the international best-selling series of books "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events" written by Daniel Handler. A film version was released in 2004 (what seems like a lifetime ago now), and while we may see some of the situations from said film replayed here in the early episode, things may play out a bit differently due to a number of factors. Firstly, Handler's script for the film wasn't used and secondly director Barry Sonnenfeld, who is a longtime fan of the books and was originally attached to direct, left the film but has returned for this adaptation, directing four episodes and acting as Executive Producer on the series.
Starring Emmy- and Tony-winning performer Neil Patrick Harris, the series also stars Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes and Presley Smith as the three wealthy Baudelaire children, who are sent to the greedy, manipulative Count Olaf (Harris) after the sudden deaths of their parents. In addition, the cast includes Joan Cusack, Catherine O’Hara, K. Todd Freeman, Alfre Woodard, Don Johnson, Rhys Darby, Aasif Mandvi and Patrick Warburton as the narrator, Lemony Snicket.
As fans know all too well, Handler’s original series spans 13 books, each very different from the previous one. Here, each episode spans half a novel, allowing viewers to delight in the details while still moving at a brisk, cinematic pace. Settings such as Count Olaf’s dilapidated mansion, the “Miserable Mill” and Uncle Monty’s snake-filled “Reptile Room” spring to life, thanks to dedicated teams of set designers, costumers and prop specialists. As the Baudelaire children continue on their journey for a proper guardian, they encounter a variety of eccentric characters – several of which are also played by Neil Patrick Harris. While the kids don’t fall for Count Olaf’s trickery, the adults always do. “Daniel Handler wrote these ideas and these books through the eyes of children,” says Harris. “Because the Baudelaires and the kids that play them are so truthful … those are the people you want to respond to and relate to. And from their lens, you can look at how ridiculous adults can be.”
All eight episodes will available exclusively on Netflix worldwide from Friday the 13th of January. If you, like me, are still lamenting the cancellation of "Pushing Daisies" this could be right up your alley.
You can watch the trailer below:
*Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team and for this, I avail of complimentary Netflix subscription. However, all opinions are my own. Information about films available on Netflix is correct at time of publishing. All photos courtesy of Netflix.