Tag Archives: Netflix

A Series of Unfortunate Events Netflix Review

On September 30th 1999 the first book in a tragic tale concerning the three Baudelaire orphans was published, five years later on a cool November morning a bored teenager unsure of what to read while waiting for the sixth Harry Potter book discovered them. In these books was a dark story filled with shout outs, a phrase which means to pay tribute to or to give reference to another piece of work, and dark, dark humor which although entertaining through the first reading of these books would lead to utter depression rereading said books knowing that yes, things got worse and worse. Oh and various descriptions of food and possibly some morals based from the Jewish faith and tradition.

The series that I speak of is A Series of Unfortunate Events by a man named Lemony Snicket and not at all associated with an individual named Daniel Handler. It is mere coincidence that along with my discovery of the series in the year 2004 there was a movie from the company known as Nickelodeon based on these books with what looked like a promising film series to rival the likes of J.K. Rowling, Warner Brothers, and Harry Potter. There are various words that can be used to describe this film and somewhere on the internet there is a forum where a young fifteen year old fan used a variety of words and vulgarity, a word which here means inappropriate and unpleasant, to describe his distaste and lack of satisfaction with the film to put it lightly.

The boy in this blog post enjoyed the books released since the fateful day he discovered A Series of Unfortunate Events, reading through each book within a day learning many things from these books despite the target audience being significantly for absolutely no one ever. And during a year when this boy felt sad, reading the last book gave him hope. Since that day there had been silence from Lemony Snicket until 2012 where a prequel series known as All the Wrong Questions was announced and as of 2015 has concluded.

In the fall of 2015 though it was announced A Series of Unfortunate Events would be adapted to a television show on the internet streaming service known as Netflix. Fans were overjoyed that a more faithful, a word which here means sticks closer to the source material in terms of what happens in the books and the tone of said books as well. A former but successful child star known as Neil Patrick Harris would be replacing a washed up comedian, but talented painter as the villainous Count Olaf. And finally as of last January, Friday the thirteenth this series premiered on Netflix. This is the review of A Series of Unfortunate Events, the tv show.

Spoilers, a term which here means a highly detailed synopsis of what takes place during the story, will be present after this bold text. As homage to Mr.Snicket I would rather you slam your computer shut, place your phone in airplane mode, and toss your tablet outside of a moving vehicle hoping it doesn’t kill a pelican, and find something better to do like donate money to MyASPCA, Puppies Behind Bars, The Trevor Project, or read a book by Cody Wagner, or read a book review by a very nice woman with three cute puppies. 

I must admit watching the televised adaption of the beloved books of my youth was very enjoyable. One of the benefits of adapting books to television is the opportunity to have the book accurately transformed into a form of viewing for the audience. However, like most things in life even when a book is adapted to television isn’t always enjoyable. With the participation of Daniel Handler (whom I’m not too sure why he is so heavily associated with Lemony Snicket), events and plots that were not present or known to the reader of the first four books in A Series of Unfortunate Events.

As mentioned in the above text, Neil Patrick Harris would be portraying the villainous Count Olaf, and was dark, fearsome, and even at times, funny. The cast of the series was diverse, a word which means to have different people represented, averting having a prominently Caucasian cast of actors in a television show thus giving a wider world view to the poor children brave enough to watch each tragic episode and telling producers and talent agents that you can hire any race or ethnicity to play a role.

The expansion of each book per episode was enjoyable, it gave the opportunity to explore the depths of side characters in each story beyond their original intended purpose and foreshadowing future travesties that would affect the Baudelaire orphans. Characters like Justice Strauss, Dr.Montgomery Montgomery, Josephine Anwhistle (who is not played by her dame Meryl Streep in this adaption) are now more fleshed out beyond a neighbor, a herpetologist, and a scary cat.

The tone of the television show followed the books closer than any film adaption ever could. However at times I couldn’t help but be reminded of a television show created by Bryan Fuller that premiered in the fall of 2007 and because of a writer’s strike was cancelled by the ABC network. The artistic direction of each set was wonderful and interesting to look at for both fans of the book series, fans of art, and people who need the internet and social media to dictate to them what to watch on Netflix rather than deciding for themselves what they should and shouldn’t watch. I’d rather they watch something with strong female characters overcoming challenges presented to them in their life, but then again this show also has that.

There are a few shocking twists and turns in the television adaption of A Series of Unfortunate Events, even for those who have read A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Beautrice Letters, and All the Wrong Questions complete with a Red Herring, a phrase which here means something that appears to be of importance, but is a distraction from the main story, within this adaption.

I will give the Netflix Adaption of A Series of Unfortunate Events one mansion on fire out of five, because I can’t fathom why people would want multiple mansions on fire.

Fandoms, do we Know What we Want? What we Really, Really Want?

Before the iPhone the internet was a simpler time; we had MySpace teaching us html code, no one posted intense political rants every four years, you could upload, stream, and watch anime on YouTube without having to go through the trouble of torrenting new episodes, we all used AIM instead of skype, there sadly were the origins of cyber bullying, and yes there were also complete a**holes who spoiled Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to fans who didn’t realize what they were getting themselves into.

We didn’t have tumblr to show us the fanart and crafts we didn’t know that we wanted to see, we didn’t have facebook to search for our favorite books, movies, and tv shows and follow them in a convenient way, and we definitely still had to buy dvds since Netflix wasn’t what it was today. Cosplay was harder to do, and I could continue to go on and on how in nearly ten years being in a fandom has changed significantly.

We Need Things That Make Sense

Today I’m going to talk about questioning what we want from what we are a fan of. My reasoning for this is the recent rumor of there being a possibility of a Harry Potter version of Pokemon Go being made based on the success of the later and fans losing their minds over it saying “yaaas, I need dis nao!” And although it does sound nice, the truth is no, we don’t really need it.

I agree maybe there does need to be a Harry Potter app for Pottermore since the website has been re-hauled completely making it hard to find specific information than in the previous version. But we don’t need a Harry Potter version of Pokemon Go. Pokemon Go works for the Pokemon franchise because the whole point of the video games, anime, and manga is to travel around catching, training, and battling with your pocket monsters while fighting whatever evil organization is trying to take over the world with little to no adult supervision, however please make sure your child has adult supervision if they are playing Pokemon Go and always play with w friend to avoid stranger danger. Harry Potter on the other hand is different from Pokemon with deeper themes concerning love, life and death, racism, and much more. It took Pokemon up to the sixth game to come up with a meaningful plot.

While it is possible to create a tie in with the spin off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them consisting of the magical creatures of the Harry Potter universe, it would probably be sloppy at best in comparison to the time dedicated and spent to developing Pokemon Go.

The same applies to cross overs of series; a good example was a proposed episode of Doctor Who where JK Rowling’s Harry Potter universe would have crossed over into the Doctor’s world and dark wizards would be running around. At the time David Tennant demanded the idea be shot down to Russel T. Davis because “it would be jumping the shark for both franchises,” I’m not saying crossovers are bad and can’t happen, but they need to be done very carefully.

Also please stop saying either Danielle Radcliffe or Rupert Grint should be the next Doctor with Emma Watson as the companion just because “it’s them” they need to be able to add more to their resume first to become the next Doctor (however I wouldn’t mind Emma Watson or Tom Felton as the Doctor one day ).

What Happens if we get What we Want?

Sometimes what we want is given to us; case in point, the Star Wars series. After Revenge of the Sith it looked like the Star Wars franchise was going to be dead with fans buying as much merchandise as possible to see how much it would be worth in the future. Big fans of the franchise had novels of the expanded universe to enjoy, some of them going beyond the events of Return of the Jedi.

Then fans were given, The Clone Wars tv series with a movie to kick it off. Fans hated it (initionally), I think it’s because the art style was a little weird and the fact many fans did not want a fourteen year old girl to be the padawan to Anakin Skywalker. Little did we know we’d all come to like her. Then came the purchasing of Star Wars by Disney with the promise of new movies and destroying the library of the old expanded universe. Fans who followed the expanded universe were rightfully pissed that their established universe was labeled as an alternate universe and all ongoing stories were cancelled as a result. Some enjoyed the recent Force Awakens movie, some didn’t. My point is that sometimes if we’re given what we want we probably won’t like it like we thought we would.

Same goes for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, some fans loved it, some fans despise its existence and condemn JK Rowling even though she just provided an outline. I intentionally feared what would become of the franchise with the announcement of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film trilogy since, let’s be honest with ourselves, it was turned into a spin off for the sake of continuing the franchise in the eyes of Warner Brothers. Seeing the work and effort JK Rowling has placed into setting up the world of FBaWtFT after stating she needed a ten year vacation from Harry Potter I’m confident to say this won’t (entirely) be a soulless attempt to continue to cash in on the franchise.

Also sometimes getting what we want is a good thing; let’s look at how Netflix and Hulu have saved some of our favorite tv shows like Longmire and The Mindy Project from being cancelled for good. Fans rejoiced and are happy at these turn of events. Now if only we knew how not to binge watch a whole season and realize we have nothing to watch for a whole year. Still waiting on the return of Firefly though…

How do we Know Anything Anymore?

I can’t tell anyone how to be a good fan, or what they want in a fandom, but I’ve been around long enough to know what’s a good idea or bad idea. It’s fine to cosplay, buy merchandise, write your self insert fanfiction, and create fanart. It’s fine to love everything that comes out of a franchise, and it’s fine to enjoy something and still critique what you love. “To be a fan is to have hope.”