Netflix announced Wednesday that it has acquired the rights for an original show based on Lemony Snicket’s (aka Daniel Handler) best-selling book series “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”
Paramount Television will produce the show in association with Netflix. Paramount is the same studio behind the 2004 movie adaptation, “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events,” starring Jim Carey, Jude Law and Meryl Streep. Handler will serve as an executive producer.
“A Series of Unfortunate Events” follows orphaned children Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire as they attempt to uncover the true cause of their parent’s death while avoiding the treacherous Count Olaf, a man who will stop at nothing to get his hands on their fortune. The result is a surprisingly dark tale for a series aimed at children.
The movie, which had a respectable cast of accomplished actors and alluring visual elements, suffered the same fate as most film adaptations of books: the inability to capture the essence of the source material. This downfall can be caused by numerous factors (uninspired direction, poor casting, etc.), but in most cases it’s due to the fact that you can only squeeze so much into a two hour movie.
Director Brad Silberling and writer Robert Gordon were only able to include material from the first three books of a 13-book series. While one movie can’t possibly portray the depth of the entire series, a television show seems like the right way to bring the story of the Baudelaires to life.
The number of books will provide a lot of source material for the writers to explore for multiple seasons. And, unlike the movie, the television show will allow the plot to develop without pacing issues and facilitate proper character development.
Speaking of characters, a successful show needs a strong group of characters that will attract viewers episode-after-episode, season-after-season, and Snicket has created a number of eccentric personalities unlike any currently on the small screen. If properly casted, the Baudelaires could be an endearing group to viewers because of their tragic background, and Olaf and his odd associates would make for great antagonists to root against.
Most importantly, the success of the books (65 million copies sold worldwide) means there is an established fan base in place. And judging by initial reactions to the news, fans are excited about the prospect of binge-watching the adventures of Violet, Klaus and Sunny.
Netflix isn’t new to original series – “Orange is the New Black” and “House of Cards” are exclusives for the streaming service that have received praise from fans and critics alike – which bodes well for “A Series of Unfortunate Events.”
Photo: Paramount Pictures