No Spoiler Review of ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’

Produced by Netflix

Director: Brad Silberling

Producer: Neil Patrick Harris, Cindy Holland, Brian Wright, Ted Biaselli

Cast: Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, Presley Smith

Release Date: 13 January 2017

No of Seasons: 3

 

Summary

Probably my favorite ever Netflix’s web series, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events is based on the book with the same name. The series follows the Baudelaire children that were orphaned early in the story and Count Olaf who was determined to steal the fortune that was about to be bequeathed to them. It’s a depressing tale that was made entertaining through the ridiculous and villainous plots of Count Olaf and the mysteries that pop up in each episode.

 

Meet the Characters

Count Olaf

Count Olaf and his disguises

Count Olaf is the main antagonist in the series and considers himself an “Actor”. He is first introduced as a distant relative of the Baudelaires, which was part of his first of many plots to steal their enormous fortune after their parents died in a fire presumably started by Count Olaf himself. As unique as his every plot to steal the fortune of the Baudelaire’s are his disguises. However, he is easily recognizable with a unibrow and a VFD tattoo on his ankle but none of the adults in the series seem to be able to recognize him even when it is painfully obvious.

 

The Baudelaires

Source: Netflix
Left to right: Klaus, Sunny, Violet

Orphaned at the start of the series, Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire are the main protagonists of the series. They are stalked by Count Olaf throughout the series and had to employ every ounce of knowledge and ability they have to evade Count Olaf while solving the mysteries of VFD, a group their parents were in.

Violet, the eldest of the three, is the inventor of the family. During every crisis, she ties up her hair and goes into inventor mode. Her inventions have saved them from many perilous situations. Klaus, the middle child is a reader and is very intelligent. Together with Violet, they have come up with many solutions.

Sunny Baudelaire is the youngest and the baby of the group. Sunny is depicted as the most amazing and unrealistic of the three. She is not only able to use her teeth to grind and smooth many objects but she can have coherent thoughts; her baby talk can even be understood by Violet and Klaus! Additionally, she is a cook throughout the series and has been performing acts not possibly done by a baby.  Playing and winning in blackjack, for example.

 

Mr. Poe

The perpetually coughing Mr. Poe. A financial banker who is in charge of the fortune of The Baudelaires. Throughout the series, Mr. Poe brings the Baudelaires to the next guardian and the next. Mr. Poe is a well-intentioned and nice man who is determined to keep the Baudelaires safe from Count Olaf. However, he is also hysterically gullible and is always fooled by Count Olaf in each and every plot.

“Mr Poe meant well, but a jar of mustard probably also means well and would do a better job of keeping the Baudelaires out of danger. Violet, Klaus and Sunny had long ago learned that the only thing they could count on from Mr. Poe was that he was always coughing.” – Lemony Snicket, The Austere Academy

 

Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket is the researcher of the lives of the three Baudelaire children and also the narrator of the series. Often seen telling the viewers the tragic lives of the Baudelaire children and advising the viewers to look away. He is often on the run and hiding from someone while he recounts the difficulty that the Baudelaire children had to endure. He is later revealed that he is one of the volunteers from VFD but the reason why he is so fascinated with the lives of the Baudelaire children was never revealed till the end of the series.

 

Olaf’s Troupe

The group of actors that is part of Count Olaf’s troupe that ends up in a life of crime. The troupe consists of a hook-handed man, a tall bald man, hench-person of intermediate gender, and twin elderly sisters known as the white-faced women. They are often seen doing the dirty work of Count Olaf while pursuing the Baudelaire children. Like Count Olaf, they are also often in disguises and never recognized by the adults in the series.


Our Thoughts

Wonderfully Depressing

It’s an oxymoron but nothing can describe this series more accurately. Throughout the series, each episode is as depressing as the next. Each plot by Count Olaf puts the Baudelaire children in some danger or takes away someone they love. But somehow, it is also very entertaining. It could just be human nature to enjoy the pain of others. 

Whenever it seems that the luck of the Baudelaires has turned and something good is about to happen, Count Olaf knocks on the door with a ludicrous new disguise and a new method to steal their fortune. It also doesn’t help that none of the adults are able to see through his disguises and help the children. In some cases, the adults actually make the situation worse.

Of course, the series is not made up entirely of Count Olaf’s money-chasing schemes. Maybe just 50%. With each episode, more and more mysteries appear and the writers did a good job of keeping the viewers in the dark until it’s absolutely necessary. At times, the writer even goes out of his way to ensure that there is always a plot twist lurking in the corner. Nothing is certain, except that you will have to watch every season to understand the mysteries lurking behind each episode.

 

Mysteries Of The Series

VFD

Also known as Volunteer Fire Department, is a secret society which includes Lemony Snicket, the parents of the Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, many of their guardians and some others. The origins of VFD are unknown and this includes the original purpose of VFD. There is not a single event of fire being put out in the series. Many of the mysteries that arise in the series are seemingly always related to this society and its volunteers.

As the series progresses, the mysteries become more and more convoluted. The direction of the series also often tends to mislead the viewers from the actual truth but it also makes the series more intriguing which is what made me fall in love with the series in the first place.

 

The Sugar Bowl

First mentioned in the episode “The Hostile Hospital”, Lemony wonders if it was really necessary to steal the sugar bowl years ago. It seems to be the object that separated VFD into two groups with both groups desperately wanting what was in the sugar bowl, but it was never revealed what is in it! The event, now named as the Schism, is the very reason why Count Olaf is so set on murdering the parents of the Baudelaire children and stealing their fortune. Speaking of their parents…

 

Who are the parents

At the start of every two episodes, a small text dedicated to Beatrice will appear. It is particularly depressing as each text emphasis on the death of Beatrice. It will become clear that the text is written by Lemony Snicket but it isn’t clear if Beatrice is related to the Baudelaire children or not. Unless you have read the book, in that case, “shhh..” 

 

Verdict: Binge it!

The third and final season was just released on 1st January and with its completion, there is no better time to binge the series if you haven’t already. What a strong start to 2019!

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