A Series of Unfortunate Events—Season 1

a series of unfortunate events season 1 poster episode guide
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Fun adaptation, fixes some of the story problems

Not much

series of unfortunate events season 1 title card episode guide

I implore you not to watch…if you don’t want to wallow in the sadness of orphaned children

Sunny (Presley Smith), Klaus (Louis Hynes), and Violet (Malina Weissman) have just been dealt a blow.  The Baudelaires learn from their parents’ financial director Mr. Arthur Poe (K. Todd Freeman) that there home has burned down and their parents are dead.  Now, they have been shipped off to their distant relative Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris).  Unfortunately, Olaf only wants the Baudelaire fortune and he’ll do anything to get his hands on it.  The Baudelaires had a good life…but now, it is one series of unfortunate events.

A Series of Unfortunate Events—Season 1 was released on Netflix on January 13, 2017.  The eight episode season adapts the first four books of the series of book by Daniel Handler (written under the name Lemony Snicket).  The two episode arcs adapts A Series of Unfortunate Events:  The Bad Beginning (1999), A Series of Unfortunate Events:  The Reptile Room (1999), A Series of Unfortunate Events:  The Wide Window (2000), and A Series of Unfortunate Events:  The Miserable Mill (2000).  The series was released to positive reviews.

series of unfortunate events season 1 episode 5 the wide window part 1 lemony snicket patrick warburton

With sadness & remorse, I must tell you this story…please don’t listen

I actually didn’t mind the Jim Carrey adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events in 2004.  The problem with A Series of Unfortunate Events in book form and in the movie is the repetitive nature of the stories starts to wear thin…the TV series adaptation by Netflix manages to bypass this repetitiveness and make for a good tale.

The smartness of the series lies in a lot of the clever wordplay and the narration of Lemony Snicket (here played perfectly by Patrick Warburton).  I always found it rather intrusive in the book and it breaks up the stories.  Here, the clever mixing of the two sides of the story is much more fluid and less disruptive.  The basic story is rather repetitive until you reach episodes seven and eight (The Miserable Mill) which switches up the storytelling…and leaves you wanting the next season since the series also does a better job with the continuing threads to make it seem less episodic.

series of unfortunate events season 1 episode 7 the miserable mill dr orwell olaf disguise neil patrick harris catherine ohara

He’s coming for you…like it or not!

The casting is also good.  Neil Patrick Harris kind of seems to just be playing the same Olaf that Jim Carrey played, but I felt both played it well so it isn’t bad.  Louise Hynes and Malina Weisman are strong as the children and for a baby, a good performance is gotten out of Presley Smith.  Guest-stars include Joan Cusack, Aasif Mandvi, Alfre Woodward, Rhys Darby, Don Johnson, and Catherine O’Hara.  The show features a parallel story running with Will Arnett and Cobie Smulders that helps set up future seasons.

Visually (like the movie), the show excels.  The story has all the appearances of a Tim Burton film (…the good ones) and uses light and dark to capture the humor in the tale.  This combines with the great characters and costumes and makes a very visual story that also helps keep the plots moving.

A Series of Unfortunate Events isn’t perfect, but it is good and entertaining.  With a total of thirteen books, it appears that there could be at least another two seasons of the series (possibly three).  This season was a surprisingly fun (and quick) watch and has me looking forward to seeing what the Baudelaires are going to be up to…and mourning their poor, depressing lives of toil.

A Series of Unfortunate Events—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:

series of unfortunate events season 1 episode 1 the bad beginning part 1 baudelaire orphans presley smith louis hynes malina weissman

“The Bad Beginning—Part 1”

1.1       The Bad Beginning—Part 1 Release Date:  01/13/17

Sunny (Presley Smith), Klaus (Louis Hynes), and Violet (Malina Weissman) are the Baudelaire children and they have just been orphaned by a horrible fire.  Mr. Arthur Poe (K. Todd Freeman) delivers the Baudelaires to their closest relative Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris), an actor with a strange acting troop.  Olaf has plans for the Baudelaires’s fortune and not even Olaf’s neighbor Justice Strauss (Joan Cusack).

series of unfortunate evetns season 1 episode 2 the bad beginning part 2 wedding olaf violet judge strauss joan cusack neil patrick harris malina weissman

“The Bad Beginning—Part 2”

1.2       The Bad Beginning—Part 2 Release Date:  01/13/17

Count Olaf has a plan and it up to Violet, Klaus, and Sunny to find out what it is before it is too late.  As Count Olaf prepares for a play starring Violet as his bride, the real reason behind the play…but can it be stopped?

series of unfortunate events season 1 episode 3 the reptile room part 1 sunny incredibly deadly viper presley smith

“The Reptile Room—Part 1”

1.3       The Reptile Room—Part 1 Release Date:  01/13/17

With Count Olaf’s plot being foiled, the Baudelaires are headed to live with their “Uncle” Monty (Aasif Mandvi) who lives in a home with a reptile room and the incredibly Deadly Viper.  When Count Olaf arrives in the disguise of Stephano, the Baudelaires could be in danger again!

series of unfortunate events season 1 episode 4 the reptile room part 2 uncle monty stephano aasif mandvi neil patrick harris

“The Reptile Room—Part 2”

1.4       The Reptile Room—Part 2 Release Date:  01/13/17

Uncle Monty is dead and the incredibly Deadly Viper is the suspect.  When Count Olaf (as Stephano) and his cronies lock down the house with Poe and the Baudelaires inside, Violet, Sunny, and Klaus must prove how Uncle Monty really died…and uncover that there might be a bigger mystery when they learn the mysterious Jacquelyn (Sara Canning) is protecting them.

series of unfortunate events seaosn 1 episode 5 the wide window part 1 aunt josephine captian sham alfre woodard neil patrick harris

“The Wide Window—Part 1”

1.5       The Wide Window—Part 1 Release Date:  01/13/17

Shipped off to live with their Aunt Josephine (Alfre Woodard) at Lake Lachrymose, the Baudelaires discover that Aunt Josephine fears everything due to the death of her husband to the Lachrymose leeches.  When Aunt Josephine meets Captain Sham, Violet, Sunny, and Klaus must convince the love-struck Josephine before she’s hurt.

series of unfortunate events season 1 episode 6 the wide window part 2 orphans louis hynes malina weissman presley smith

“The Wide Window—Part 2”

1.6       The Wide Window—Part 2 Release Date:  01/13/17

The Baudelaires find Aunt Josephine is suspected dead, and Captain Sham aka Count Olaf is poised to become their new guardian.  When Klaus notices the strange errors in Aunt Josephine’s suicide letter, it could be the key to finding out what happened to Aunt Josephine.

series of unfortunate events season 1 episode 7 the miserable mill part 1 dr orwell klaus louis hynes catherine ohara

“The Miserable Mill—Part 1”

1.7       The Miserable Mill—Part 1 Release Date:  01/13/17

Running away to Lucky Smells Lumbermill in hopes of finding the secrets that their parents were keeping, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny learn from the mill’s owner Sir (Don Johnson) and his partner Charles (Rhys Darby) that their family has a unique tie to the town of Paltryville.  Taking a job at the mill, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny seek out what happened in Paltryville.  Meanwhile, Count Olaf is reacquainted with an old love in Dr. Georgina Orwell (Catherine O’Hara) who works near the mill…and they have plans for the Baudelaire children.

series of unfortunate events season 1 episode 8 the miserable mill part 2 dr orwell sunny catherine ohara presley smith

“The Miserable Mill—Part 2”

1.8       The Miserable Mill—Part 2 Release Date:  01/13/17

Klaus has been hypnotized by Dr. Orwell, but Violet soon realizes that Klaus isn’t the only one at the mill under hypnosis.  As Olaf tries to use the hypnosis to gain control of the orphans, the orphans work to free the mill and its workers before an even more horrible accident occurs.

Related Links:

A Series of Unfortunate Events 4:  The Miserable Mill

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response