While a cheery message & happy ending are fine – ‘Fine’ here being a play on a polite answer often given in an obligatory manner that is often neither truthful nor accurate – my ‘Big’ kids want more complex stories and are gravitating toward grown-up entertainment. I regret to inform you that A Series of Unfortunate Events is now streaming.
How very, very ‘Unfortunate.’
“A Very Foreboding Drama, the show serves up dark comedy that your big kids are probably ready for
– whether you are or not.”
The (Unfortunate) Reality of Growing up
Our family fully recognizes great value in a world of make believe. (In case you missed it, click Truth in Magic: The Lies Parents Tell to read how we have encouraged our children to use their imaginations and to look at the world through a different lens. To see the possibilities – the magic – in everything around them.) But the reality is that my kids are wanting more complex entertainment and are gravitating toward grown-up stories.
Many entertainment offerings in games, movies, and television are not made with kids in mind. If I believe what my kids tell me, all their friends are watching The Walking Dead or the latest Horror flick and playing Grand Theft Auto.
But they’re not grown-ups just yet. Adult content is just not appropriate. (Sometimes even for adults, IMO.)
That’s why I am so happy Netflix is reinventing family TV with shows like Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. At first glance, the series is first and foremost a kids show. But, despite a cute baby and a hint of fantasy, there are dark currents running beneath the surface.
The mere thought of watching every miserable episode makes me shudder, here used as an expression to indicate dread and disgust. A Very Foreboding Drama, the show serves up dark comedy that your big kids are probably ready for – whether you are or not.
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events: YA Literature
A Series of Unfortunate Events is a series of thirteen children’s novels by Lemony Snicket (the pen name of American author Daniel Handler), which follows the turbulent lives of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire after their parents’ death in a fire. The children are placed in the custody of a murderous relative, Count Olaf, who repeatedly attempts to steal their inheritance. The children try to flee the clutches of Count Olaf and his accomplices who orchestrate numerous disasters in order to secure their fortune. As the story progresses, the Baudelaires gradually discover a deep background of secrets and conspiracies involving a secret society known as V.F.D., with connections to both Olaf and their parents.
Snicket narrates the series, dedicating each of his works to his love interest, Beatrice. He repeatedly attempts to dissuade the reader from continuing the Baudelaires’ story.
The books are noted for their dark humour and sarcastic storytelling with frequent cultural and literary allusions. The black comedy is supported by the type of slightly gothic and absurd storylines that combine fiction, horror, death, and seemingly meaningless and often incongruent actions and events that question the certainty of existential concepts such as truth or value.
A Dark Coming of Age
According to Wikipedia, the books have been classified as postmodern and metafictional writing, with the plot evolution throughout the later novels being cited as “an exploration of the psychological process of transition from the idyllic innocence of childhood to the moral complexity of maturity.” Likewise, the final installments of the series are also acknowledged for their “escalatingly intricate ethical ambiguity toward philosophical ambivalence, as the nature of some of the Baudelaires’ actions becomes increasingly harder to discern from those of their antagonist counterparts and more characters are revealed to be responsible for permanent wrongdoing, despite their identification with the self-proclaimed good side of the tale.”
Perfect for your babies that aren’t babies anymore.
Since the release of the first novel in 1999, the books have gained significant popularity, critical acclaim, and commercial success worldwide, spawning a film, a video game, assorted merchandise and a now a television series on Netflix.
I always prefer to read the book(s) first and encourage my kids to do the same. CLICK HERE to buy the main thirteen books in the series as well as the several companion books set in the same universe of the series. Please try to enjoy the precious few hours you have left before unfortunate events begin unfolding.
And when your family still needs more agony and despair, moving onto A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix is the only very bad choice for people who have read the series from The Bad Beginning to The End.
“Like the books, the series is witty, imaginative, offbeat, and dark.
The stories are set into heavily stylized and fantasy like settings”
A Series of Unfortunate Events: Netflix Original Series
A Series of Unfortunate Events, based on the children’s novel of the same name by Lemony Snicket, is now an American black-comedy drama television series.
Netflix‘s A Series of Unfortunate Events premiered on January 13th, 2017. The original series stars Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, K. Todd Freeman and Presley Smith. The first season consists of eight episodes and adapts the first four books of the series.
Like the books, the series is witty, imaginative, offbeat, and dark. The stories are set into heavily stylized and fantasy like settings which offer perhaps even more chronological inconsistencies in the impressive visuals as well as the storyline (achieved through layering of person(s), events, objects, or customs for different periods of time.)
This is much closer to the storyline than the movie. Neil Patrick Harris’ Count Olaf is truly a Vile Felonious Deceiver: a pompous and egomaniacal actor-turned-charlatan whose excessively elaborate plans are made more darkly comedic by his inability to carry them out. I much prefer Harris’ villain to Jim Carrey’s leering and overly comedic character. Fans will find Harris’ Count Olaf to be a much more accurate and eccentric version as was depicted in the books – and still quite funny without having to steal every scene.
Snicket, the on-screen narrator, is played by Patrick Warburton. Through a deadpan delivery, Snicket helps to convey some of the wordplay humor used in the books. His rambling and seemingly offside prologues offer the occasional reminder of what’s come before. I have read that there is even a hint of what is to come hidden in an ever changing verse in the opening song….
Lookk awayyyy…..Loooook awayyyyy
It’s unfortunate that we’ve watched all miserable episodes now streaming. Episodes here meaning short theatrical bits of television entertainment. Streaming meaning those bits seen much more conveniently from my own home.
A Series of Unfortunate Events was renewed for a second season, which is planned to consist of ten episodes that adapt books five through nine of the novel series, and a third season is expected to adapt the remaining four books. Our family must now patiently await Season 2, patiently in this case being ironic as we are, in fact, very impatient to continue the state of perpetual despondency the series inspires.
I can’t believe we must force ourselves to revisit this dreadful tale over and over and over. It gets more deliciously and depressingly despicable every single time we reread the books and watch the series. While there may be a plethora, here used to mean “an unreasonably large amount,” of more pleasing activities available to us, how ever will we satisfy our insatiable thirst for agony and woe in the meantime…?
Check out the recipe we created for YYC Pizza Week. While the Lemony Snicken Pizza may not satisfy your thirst for more miserable events, it is sure to please your taste buds and ease the suffering of the wait between seasons.
Disclosure: I am so darn happy to be a part of the Netflix #StreamTeam. I receive promotional items and a Netflix subscription in order to find great content that I can share with YOU. As always, all opinions are my own.
But really, who doesn’t love Netflix?