5 Reasons Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events is Underrated

Sydney Gager, Editor

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With its bright colors and the occasional musical number, it’s easy to dismiss A Series of Unfortunate Events as just another kid’s show. But just like the books, there is more to the series than meets the eye. 

The premise of the show is that useless banker, Mr. Poe (K. Todd Freeman), places Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire (played by Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, and Presley Smith respectively) with Count Olaf after the death of their parents. Count Olaf–your stereotypical greedy villain, played by a practically unrecognizable Neil Patrick Harris–is interested only in their fortune and chases the Baudelaires for all three seasons. He disguises himself (as a woman, a gym teacher, and more) to trick the idiotic adults, but the children always see through his costumes. While the adults ignore them, the three children use their talents in inventing, researching, and biting to defeat Olaf’s schemes.

When Violet ties her hair back in a ribbon, viewers know she is going to invent something amazing (if slightly impossible). Klaus’ glasses are a reminder of his love of reading, which provides him with the knowledge to figure out the mysteries surrounding him and his sisters. Sunny’s teeth (quite realistically) are powerful enough to break rocks and mold metal. Eventually her penchant for biting leads to her discovering a culinary passion. Everything is narrated by Lemony Snicket (played by Patrick Warburton) who is perfectly morose and comical. Just remember not to listen when he tells you to turn the show off, because you’ll be seriously missing out. 

The series is ridiculous and over-the-top, but it has an underlying authenticity. It has morals (about how adults may be well-intentioned but don’t listen to kids, how no one is noble or wicked, and much more) all while staying fun and funny. It deserves way more attention than it gets, and here’s just five great things about it:

1. Accuracy. While there are a few artistic liberties, on the whole the show is true to the plot of the books. The film adaption of the books (which deserves its own article) combines the first three books. Netflix, instead, made each of the thirteen books into two episodes each (with the exception of The End which is only one episode). With about eighty minutes per book, all major plot points are represented in this TV-adaption.

2. Diversity. Based on a series with a gender-neutral character and at least one implicitly gay couple, it would’ve been easy to claim diversity. Instead, Netflix inserted other subtle LGBT representation (as well as keeping lots up to interpretation) and made the portrayal of the gender-neutral character (who is never misgendered!) more respectful. Additionally, while the main characters are all white, there are supporting characters played by people of color. 

3. An amazing cast. From Neil Patrick Harris as the villainous Count Olaf to child actors, Malina Weissman and Louis Hynes, the acting is great. Which is especially important given the (overly) dramatic script

4. Sunny Baudelaire. Presley Smith–only eight months old at the beginning of the series–is an entire reason to watch the show. She has the skills and intelligence of someone much older. She even has her own character arc as she convinces her siblings that she is “not a baby” anymore. From funny one-liners (translated from baby-talk) to simply being adorable in the background, Sunny Baudelaire alone makes the entire show worth watching.

5. The costumes! While some are as ridiculous as the plot, others are simply gorgeous. The bright costumes are used as a reminder of the good, colorful life the Baudelaires should have instead of trying to avoid Count Olaf stealing their fortune. As well as the Baudelaire’s beautiful outfits, Count Olaf has impressive disguises and many side characters take part in outrageous fashion and intricate disguises as well. 

 

A Series of Unfortunate Events is ridiculous at times (from the baby’s jackhammer teeth to the adults’ obliviousness) but it’s all part of the magic of the show. 

Whether you loved the books, are looking for a new binge-watch, or simply fell in love with the pictures of Sunny Baudelaire — this show is for you!