A Series of Unfortunate Events – Review

Genre     Drama
Developed by  Mark Hudis, Barry Sonnenfeld
Starring  Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Avi Lake, Louis Hynes, Presley Smith, Lucy Punch, Malina Weissman, Dylan Kingwell
Released on  January 13, 2017 – present
Duration 40–64 minutes
No. of Seasons
No. of Episodes
Channel Netflix

 ‘A series of unfortunate events’ is a Netflix original series starring Neil Patrick Harris, Maline Weissman and Louis Hynes. It is a dark comedy revolving around the lives of the three Baudelaire children – Violet, Klaus and Sunny; as their parents perish in a fire accident and they are left to live with whoever takes them in. This journey starts with them living with a supposed relative, Count Olaf, who is after their great fortune. Once they flee from him, they are constantly on the run from Olaf and well, unfortunately, no one believes them when they claim that he is always around, right under their noses.

The show’s title track ‘Look away’ is fitting since, as you might hope and assume that good things would befall the children, trust me, nothing does so you better look away while you still can. They are constantly, hiding, being ostracised and never believed by the people around them. They suffer needlessly and although your heart might go out to them, it’s a series of unfortunate events and they are meant to suffer. However, the show is indeed a treat to watch. As Variety rightly mentioned – it is ‘what would happen if Wes Anderson and Tim Burton decided to make a television series about children together’. It is literal in it’s themes and characters and when mixed with the dark tone and the story, it delivers to be a masterpiece. Essentially, the side characters have straightforward goals and personalities, just like how characters are in children’s storybooks – there are no arcs, they are simple and sometimes flat. They are only further shaped because of their place in the story and their encounter with Count Olaf. But by making the characters this way, it adds to the tone of the show and gives us an interesting perspective. They all give in to things adults usually do without thinking – selfishness, greed, blind love and so much more. The adults one would assume the smartest and kindest also have many flaws. Through the course of the show you would notice interestingly enough, how even the Baudelaire children do not have prominent character arcs; they remain the same throughout. However, since the world around them is in constant contrast with them, it helps the story progress. 

The show highlights how these three children struggle because they’re young and no one believes kids. They appear to be a part of a game controlled by Count Olaf wherein characters are effortlessly either manipulated or tricked or even murdered by him. However, there is a glimmer of home – a secret organization. Their parents were a part of a secret organization and it constantly attempts to save the children. People from it are always around, looking after the kids. A spyglass that belonged to their parents comes in their possession and they then begin to unearth the mystery by avidly looking for clues and ways to find out more information. Interestingly enough, the characters act and behave as they would from a child’s perspective – The adults are overly protective, yet unbelieving of the children and the only sensible people in the entire story are the children and they are right throughout – as a child might perceive itself versus adults.

The show feels self-aware – it is purposely literal and explicit in it’s tone and theme through the characters, production design, cinematography and lighting and colour. Count Olaf even breaks the fourth wall. There is  also a comedic sequence in the opening of the second season wherein Klaus says “We’ve been waiting to long, Sunny is starting to look less like a baby and more like a toddler”: the first season ended with them sitting on a bench and the second opens with them still there.

This show has a clear vision and from the very beginning it knows exactly what it’s doing and what it’s about. It has never once been inconsistent and is clearly one of the best shows on Netflix right now. Overall, it’s great watch and if you’re looking for a different, interesting, dark-comedy!

Video Credits – Netflix | YouTube


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