Back in the early 2000s, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter book series not only seized the minds of tweens, teens, and adults everywhere, but it also triggered the ‘age of adaptation,’ spawning a long line of breakout successes (Twilight, The Hunger Games, Divergent) and an even longer line of failures. Somewhere in the middle, though, lies Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, a fantasy film based on a series of novels of the same name, starring Jim Carrey. While the 2004 project snagged mostly positive critical reviews – especially for its visual aesthetics – it failed to pull in enough at the box office to justify a sequel.
Enter: Netflix. The streaming service picked up the franchise in late 2014 with plans to adapt it as a television series. But beyond a well-made fan trailer – confirming audience anticipation of a darker, nastier reboot – there has been little movement on the production front. Fortunately, it seems the wheels could finally be turning, with news that the series has recently attracted a showrunner and director.
According to The Wrap, Netflix has tapped Men in Black director Barry Sonnenfeld and Mark Hudis (True Blood) to take the reins of the planned reboot. While the former will direct and executive produce, the latter will serve as the new series’ showrunner as well as an exec producer. The books’ author, Daniel Handler (pseudonym, Lemony Snicket) will also serve as an EP.
If the TV work Hudis has done in past is any indication, fans should have an indication of the upcoming show’s direction. For all the criticism it received, True Blood did offer an unapologetically peculiar world that featured a part-fantastical, part-comedic tone. A Series of Unfortunate Events may not feature vampires, werewolves, or any other supernatural creature, but it does share with True Blood that same eerie, dark-to-its-core quality.
One of the key complaints against the original adaptation accused the film of softening the sharper edges of its source material. Luckily, Netflix isn’t exactly known for its tendency to soften or hold back (see: Daredevil, House of Cards, or any of their other shows, really).
Indeed, the Netflix format certainly suits the source material’s creepier content, cynical and complex themes, and episodic nature. Composed of thirteen volumes in all, the entire series calls for the type of long-form quality storytelling that Netflix has become known to deliver. In fact, it’s not completely improbable to think other young adult sagas – both new and old (Harry Potter, for instance) – could be realized or rebooted in a similar manner. With television becoming more and more cinematic, while offering a wider creative scope, it may very well become the default for book-to-screen adaptations – at least, where longer series are concerned.
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events has yet to be officially titled, and its cast and crew are still being sought out. The series is expected to become available to stream on Netflix in 2016.
Source: The Wrap