Netflix has enjoyed great success in terms of viewership alone by not only creating brand-new original programming for its service members, but also reviving beloved cult TV shows (Arrested Development), breathing fresh life into cult movie properties (Wet Hot American Summer) and even re-adapting titles for television that didn’t do so hot when they were previously adapted for the big screen (Marvel’s Daredevil). This has allowed the streaming service to amass quite the eclectic and varied collection of original series under its belt, so as to better appeal to a wider range of tastes and interests, with respect to its subscribers.
The addition of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events should only further allow Netflix to diversify its original programming library, in that respect. Based on the series of novels (of the same name) written by American author Daniel Handler under the pseudonym of Lemony Snicket and adapted for the small screen by Mark Hudis (That ’70s Show, True Blood), A Series of Unfortunate Events was previously adapted as a modestly-successful movie in 2004; featuring Jude Law as the narrator Lemony Snicket and Jim Carrey as the main villain of the story, Count Olaf.
Those two roles are being played by Patrick Warburton and Neil Patrick Harris in the Unfortunate Events Netflix series, respectively. In the new teaser trailer released for Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events series (watch it above), Warburton takes viewers on a tour of the show’s set in-character as Mr. Snicket; warning everyone to avoid the “cruel whimsy and whimsical cruelty of what’s to come” on the series. NPH as Count Olaf doesn’t make an appearance during the video, but his demented voice and laugh can be heard from offscreen at one point.
Snicket actively disparging people from checking out A Series of Unfortunate Events, as well as the whimsical-yet-macabre design of the show’s sets in this teaser, are both in keeping with how the Snicket character narrates and the overall tone of the series’ source material (as well as the 2004 movie). Unfortunate Events revolves around the ill-fortunates of the three orphaned Baudelaire children – the infant Sunny, fourteen-year old Violet and twelve-year old Klaus (Malina Weissman and Louis Hynes on the Netflix series) – as they uncover dark secrets about their family and must continuously fend off Count Olaf; their first guardian, who is also obsessed with gaining their family fortune and is willing to do most anything (even commit murder) to get it.
More Roald Dahl than Harry Potter (with a touch of Hitchcock, like the Netflix series’ teaser has), the A Series of Unfortunate Events books found an audience thanks to its darkly wry humor and take on young adult/coming of age narrative tropes. Although the 2004 film was (generally-speaking) liked by moviegoers and critics alike, it was neither a runaway critical hit nor a big enough commercial success to justify additional installments. Moreover, that big screen adaptation of Handler’s novels did soften the gleefully unpleasant elements that fans love a bit. It stands to reason that the Netflix series version, as its teaser warns viewers, will not follow suit in that respect – and may prove to be more of a proper hit with the franchise’s longtime fanbase for it.
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events premieres on Netflix on (appropriately enough) Friday, January 13th, 2017.