Netflix's Adaptation of 'A Series of Unfortunate Events' Should Make Fans Nervous
I'm going to get the inevitable pun out of the way right off the bat: this new Netflix news strikes me as an unfortunate event. The streaming site has acquired the rights to the Lemony Snicket book series A Series of Unfortunate Events from which they will create a live-action family series. The series, written and narrated by Snicket (the pseudonym of writer Daniel Handler), is comprised of 13 books published from 1999 to 2006 and was adapted for the big screen in 2004 in a film starring Jim Carrey as the wily villain Count Olaf. A Series is close to my black heart, and though Handler himself will be a producer on the live-action series, I am very, very wary of this news.
Of course, as a child, I was deeply connected to the Harry Potter series, as well as the Wrinkle in Time books. But the Unfortunate Events filled gaps that the rest of my literary loves could not — it was darker than dark but still funny, and informed my own sense of black humor. Plus, the imagery that echoes Edward Gorey and presents a gothic, steampunk futuristic world is wholly original, and was, in my opinion, recreated beautifully in the 2004 film. And though, like I said, Handler is producing and Paramount is taking the helm as they did for the live-action film, I am nervous that whatever new cast is chosen to star won't live up to Jim Carrey, Meryl Streep, Jude Law and the trio of children that played the misfortune-plagued Baudelaire orphans, Violet (Emily Browning), Klaus (Liam Aiken), and baby Sunny (Kara Hoffman and Shelby Hoffman).
But, what do I know? Casting woes aside, Netflix has definitely proven they have a grasp on creating original series — House of Cards and Orange is the New Black stand out as their best. And Handler, the creator of the very special world that A Series inhabits, is surely trustworthy enough to dictate the styling and direction of the TV series. A point in Netflix's corner: assuming that the series will be comprised of 13 or more episodes, there will be much more room and freedom to comprehensively adapt the books.
Of course, the 2004 screen adaptation does not hold the same cultural cornerstone that the Harry Potter films do, but I feel this is somewhat akin to if Netflix remade J.K. Rowling's film series. I suppose, in general, I worry that new installments will sour my old loves, much in the same way that I worry about the new Twin Peaks episodes, even though they are being made by the master David Lynch himself. But, in both cases, I will definitely be watching, and I think all Lemony Snicket fans will be, too.