The Curious Case of A Series of Unfortunate Events

By Kayla Huynh

Hello, dear readers. I suppose you have come here to see what I have thought of A Series of Unfortunate Events, but I must warn you first: these stories are not what you expect. These stories are dark and twisted–full of corruption, greed, and, of course, murder. Lemony Snicket (a pseudonym for American writer Daniel Handler), himself, has required a warning to be sent that these tales are not for the faint-hearted. And yet, despite the horrible events that occur over three seasons of the show, there is something deeply alluring about the constant misfortune that befalls the Bauldelaire orphans that just grabs your attention and won’t let go. 

A Series of Unfortunate Events revolves around three orphaned children: the eldest, Violet (Malina Weissman), the middle child, Klaus (Louis Hynes), and the infant, Sunny (Presley Smith) Bauldelaire. However, simply calling them by the order of their births does no justice to their incredible intellect. Violet is a tinkerer, one who saves their small family on many occasions with her brilliant mind. Klaus is the reader, saving all the information in the world in his mind. And Sunny, bright and cheerful Sunny, is the babe with remarkably sharp teeth who can hold an intelligent conversation if you understand her blatherings (which we understand from the subtitles). These child actors play their role perfectly, bringing their characters to life in a way that preserves a childlike innocence coupled with a dreary perspective of the unfortunate future.

But the series would not be complete without the main antagonist, the vicious Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris). His lust for the Baudelaire fortune and his rather extravagant schemes provide the dynamic and tragic adventure of the Bauldelaire orphans. Count Olaf dances into every scene, hungry for the spotlight, and allows the viewers to watch as he basks in his truly wicked ways.

Each couple of episodes, the Bauldelaires tango with Count Olaf in a variety of crises based on the thirteen book series. Each conflict is greater than the last, escalating into a real-life reenactment of the pages written by Lemony Snicket. It is no easy feat to bring to life a story that many children have read, but Brad Silberling managed to do so. He, and the rest of the talented crew, ensured the essence of misfortune was not lost while adding all the Hollywood flair needed to survive in such a cutthroat streaming competition. 

Yet even as the series delved deeper into the twisted darkness of humanity, children can still find enjoyment in the show. Yes, the show has death and murder, but the tales of the Bauldelaire orphans also teaches children that they can be kids, and still be intelligent, kind, and responsible. The Bauldelaire children embrace their uniqueness and refuse to let the many adults in their lives dull their minds. They also showed that siblings, no matter how different, were family. Despite the innumerable misfortunes that befall the Bauldelaire orphans, they remained united through love and compassion. Young children can also learn how to recognize manipulative behavior (though exaggerated in the show), and learn how to stand up for themselves. Even adults can find amusement in the Count’s ridiculous antics and find comfort in the strength of the three main protagonists. 

While their actual tale may be one of misfortune, there is nothing but praise for A Series of Unfortunate Events. At times, you may feel a tear forming in the corner of your eye, and that is perfectly normal–encouraged even. Indulge in your curiosity about the unfortunate events that occurred to the Bauldelaire children and learn what it takes to triumph as a family.   

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