Screen

Netflix’s ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ is a lucky find

Image
This time, Count Olaf isn’t messing around.

Four stars

A Series of Unfortunate Events Season 1 available January 13 on Netflix.

Netflix’s original programming juggernaut is proving nigh unstoppable. In only a few short years, the streaming network has assumed ownership of television drama (Orange Is the New Black) situation comedy (Lady Dynamite) and cult-favorite genre fiction (Stranger Things). Now, with a delightful adaptation of Daniel Handler’s kid-gothic book series A Series of Unfortunate Events, Netflix has taken to righting the wrongs of Hollywood’s recent past.

Unfortunate Events was first produced 13 years ago as a Jim Carrey comedy. Unlike the new series, which is written for television by Handler and produced by Handler and Addams Family director Barry Sonnenfeld, the Carrey film was entirely forgettable—little more than a vehicle for the actor’s tiresome, rubber-faced mugging. The Netflix show is smartly scripted, boasts some feature film-worthy production design and has a terrific ensemble cast that includes Patrick Warburton as kindly narrator Lemony Snicket and Neil Patrick Harris in prime scenery-chewing form as the villainous Count Olaf.

I stop here for fear of spoilers. To reveal even a tiny bit of the tragedy of the Baudelaire orphans would ruin the surprises Handler and Sonnenfeld have carefully laid out. Watch for yourself, and expect only what Netflix delivers regularly: one fortunate discovery after another.

Share
Photo of Geoff Carter

Geoff Carter

Experts in paleoanthropology believe that Geoff Carter began his career in journalism sometime in the early Grunge period, when he ...

Get more Geoff Carter
  • The title promises something a lot more fantastical than the movie delivers, and the dull restraint is a poor substitute for all-out jungle madness.

  • Everything in theaters this week, plus special screenings and movie reviews.

  • The entire plot of this stylish, occasionally clever action movie amounts to little more than a bunch of idiots shooting at each other.

  • Get More Film Stories
Top of Story