Netflix is known for many things, but the one element that’s put it on the map in recent memory is a commitment to excellence in long-form storytelling. Orange is the New Black and House of Cards (among others) have turned the media company from a simple movie rental service into a global phenomenon. But not being ones to simply rest on its success, Netflix is currently hard at work on the next slate of shows to intend to bring to viewers. However, their latest acquisition is a bit perplexing.
The streaming giant has set in motion a series adaptation of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. Reports on the matter explain that the source novels' author Daniel Handler is attached to the project as an executive producer under the recently established Paramount TV, a division of the studio that released the Jim Carrey movie version of Lemony Snicket's.
A Series of Unfortunate Events tells the tale of orphaned children Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire at the hands of the villainous Count Olaf, as they face trials and tribulations, misfortunes and an evil uncle in search of their fortune, all in their quest to uncover the secret of their parents' death.
While the 2004 A Series of Unfortunate Events feature film did make over $200 million at the global box-office, it wasn’t enough to off-set the $140 million price tag. However, this – along with the recently announced Richie Rich series – could be the push Netflix needs to fully enter the live-action, family content game.
At the moment, the service boasts a decent variety of original animated series including Turbo FAST and the final TV season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, as well as an upcoming production slate that includes a Magic School Bus reboot, DreamWorks Dragons and All Hail King Julien. Yet, despite all that, there’s currently a severe lack of live-action material for children.
If Netflix is going to continue dominating the television space like it has been doing for the past few years, it's going to need more than Emmys to do it. That will require content able to attract younger viewers who can learn to grow up finding content they love on the service - so when they themselves have disposable income, they can spend it on subscriptions of their own.
When it comes to decisions that seem off-beat - but actually make complete sense when viewed through a long-term lens - the acquisition of A Series of Unfortunate Events definitely ranks up there, in terms of potential.
We'll keep you updated about how the series progresses through development.