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A good start to “A Series of Unfortunate Events”

By: Liam Olson

“A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Bad Beginning: Parts 1 and 2” are definitely a good start to the new Netflix series. From the wide variety of different characters to the beautiful sets of these episodes, “The Bad Beginning” definitely will make the viewer not want to look away from the rest of the season.

The first season of the show was added to Netflix on Friday, Jan. 13. Barry Sonnenfeld directs “The Bad Beginning” and Daniel Handler (who plays Lemony Snicket) adapted the books for television.

The adaptation stays true to the book, however, some plot points that make the book more dramatic are replaced for comical scenes. To a person who read the book series, this may be disappointing, but for those who have not, it is enjoyable.

In order to make the show more lighthearted, comical tropes were added such as defining vocabulary words to explaining the difference between literally and figuratively. Although these pauses are fun, they become more excessively used as the show goes on and create unnecessary pauses in the plot.

Most of the plot follows the books with the Baudelaire children, played by Malina Weissman (Violet), Louis Hynes (Klaus) and Presley Smith (Sunny), escaping the grasps of Count Olaf, played by Neil Patrick Harris, who wants their parents’ fortune.

With the extra time the show had due to each books being split up into two parts, plot that was never mentioned by the books is explained in the show, making it more interesting for fans of the book series.

As far as the acting goes, a majority of the actors do well. Patrick Warburton gives an amazing performance as the solemn narrator, Lemony Snicket, for the story of the Baudelaire children. K. Todd Freeman’s performance as Mr. Poe seems to be the weakest of the main characters. Much of his acting makes the character feel fake and unbelievable, and the coughing gag for Mr. Poe becomes excessive over time.

Weissman and Hynes do well as Violet and Klaus Baudelaire; they perfectly capture the clever and sincere personalities of the characters. However, they do sometimes fall flat in their interactions with Neil Patrick Harris’s Count Olaf often looking lost on how to respond to him. Harris’s performance as Count Olaf gives a humorous take on the character compared to Jim Carrey’s darker version of Olaf in the 2004 film. Although Harris’s Count Olaf is not very intimidating as a villain, he does make up for it in his outrageous and entertaining antics on screen, though they sometimes drown out the other characters who struggle to react to his strong personality and actions.

One of the most prominent elements worth mentioning in the show are the set designs. There is a wide variety of set designs from the dark and dreary mansion of Count Olaf, to the peaceful and colorful house and library of Justice Strauss. All the different locations in the show add to the overall atmosphere to the scenes.

“The Bad Beginning: Parts 1 and 2” are good starting points for “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” While there were a few issues with the first two episodes, the series shows promise. Viewers will want to keeping looking to see what happens next in “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”

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