A Series of Unfortunate Events
The Baudelaire parents die in a house fire and their three children are sent to live with their closest living relative—the evil Count Olaf.
Starring: Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes
Genre: Drama, Dark Comedy
Series Summary: Nothing can stop the Baudelaire orphans from trying to uncover their family’s hidden secrets—except the evil Count Olaf, who’s after the children and their inheritance!
Show Title: The Bad Beginning: Part One
View Appeal: Ages 8-12; Ages 12 and up
Having never read A Series of Unfortunate Events, I was kinda apathetic when Netflix announced its new original series, but my interest was immediately piqued when I learned that Neil Patrick Harris was starring as Count Olaf. If I’m being honest, I’d be content just watching him read the back of shampoo bottles for an hour. What ended up pushing me over the edge and straight into another Netflix binge was the fact that so many of my coworkers kept going on and on about how their entire family enjoyed the series.
Because of all the rave reviews, I had extremely high expectations going into this series; however, I wasn’t instantly hooked. I spent most of the first episode struggling to get used to writing. The dialogue is intelligent and fast paced, which is rare for a kid’s show. But I became hooked in the last thirty seconds of the first episode, where there’s a cliff hanger that left me open-mouthed, thinking, “Wait...what?!” That’s when I knew I needed to get comfy on the couch because I wasn’t leaving it anytime soon. The mystery built into this series was captivating, and I was nothing less than pleased.
Starting off as a 13-book series, A Series of Unfortunate Events was made into a feature-length film starring Jim Carrey in 2004. This year, Netflix released its own original series based off the books. True to its name, A Series of Unfortunate Events follows the not-so-pleasant lives of the Baudelaire children after their parents die in a house fire. Each episode contains an abundance of misery, most of which is directly tied to Count Olaf’s quest to gain guardianship over the Baudelaire children and, more importantly, their inheritance.
What I love the most about Netflix’s take on A Series of Unfortunate Events is how the over-the-top characters and dramatic settings give the illusion of watching this series from the point of view of a kid reading the novels. Plus, I don’t think you could dream up a stronger cast. Besides all the big names, including guest appearances by Will Arnett and Cobie Smulders (Robin from How I Met Your Mother), the children actors demand a presence on screen.
The only thing I’d change about this series is my will-power to not watch all the episodes available in one weekend or Netflix’s ability to create new seasons to match my watching pace. A girl can dream, can’t she?
Quick heads up, parents! Although this show is hilarious for older kids, children under 10 might miss out on the humor. Take it from someone who was a little girl afraid of anything remotely creepy: This show would‘ve scared me. I recommend watching an episode first, especially if you have a sensitive child.
Let's Talk About It
Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this TV show:
• What’s your first reaction when something bad happens in your life? Do you have any secret ways to keep a positive attitude?
• The Baudelaire's have one awful thing after another happen to them. How do you think they are able to keep positive attitudes through all these unfortunate events?
• What situation that the Baudelaire’s faced do you think would be the most difficult to make it through? Why?
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