Orphans! Murder! Disappearance! And more: A Series of Unfortunate Events is becoming a TV series.
Seventeen years after its publication began, children’s book series A Series of Unfortunate Events (ASOUE) is being adapted into a television series. The series has been taken up by Netflix, and is set to premiere in 2016.
The series follows the lives of characters Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire after the tragic death of their parents who died in a fire that destroyed their home. The children fall into the care of the malicious Count Olaf, who is set on stealing the orphans’ fortune. The Baudelaires’ misfortune, catered by Olaf, follows them through multiple homes and settings, such as a dying carnival, a desert island, an empty elevator shaft, and a half-built hospital. The thirteen best-selling novels were published from 1999 to 2006 and authored by Daniel Handler under the pen name Lemony Snicket.
The first three books were adapted into a film starring Jim Carrey, Meryl Streep, and Jude Law in 2004, and there were initial plans for adaptations of the entire series. However, the film received harsh critique by the fans of the series due to the sweeping inaccuracies between the series and the books. Thus, the film series never fulfilled its potential past its first installment and the project was dropped. Despite newly-found trust issues, ASOUE fans still hoped for another adaptation of their beloved series.
On November 5, 2014, Netflix announced that they would adapt the series as a television show. “I can’t believe it. After years of providing top-quality entertainment on demand, Netflix is risking its reputation and its success by associating itself with my dismaying and upsetting books,” Handler said under Snicket’s dark and pessimistic persona.
The show will star Neil Patrick Harris as Olaf, with newcomers Malina Weissman and Louis Hynes starring as Violet and Klaus, respectively. Several other castings have also been announced, including K. Todd Freeman as Mr. Poe, Aasif Mandvi as Montgomery Montgomery, and Patrick Warburton as Snicket himself. Barry Sonnenfeld, who served as an executive producer for the 2004 film, will direct the series.
ASOUE fans are no strangers to ambiguity; in the writing of the series Handler is notorious for obscuring details pertaining to the plot and setting. For instance, at one point in the series the Baudelaires encounter a train station with three shops, one of which a blacksmith shop, and another a computer repair shop, which come from completely different time periods. Apropos to this characterization, ASOUE fans have been left to their own devices to figure out many things about the new series. In July of 2015, a teaser trailer was released on YouTube by a user with the screen name Eleanora Poe, taken from a character in the series. No information was given about the trailer and Netflix neither confirmed nor denied its involvement in the production of the trailer. However, the trailer was of extremely high quality, not something that any ordinary fan could have created, and it left many wondering who created the video. After the trailer’s release, several Twitter accounts popped up with each taking the name and persona of a character in the series, the first account belonging to the same Eleanora Poe. All of the accounts were proven to be run by fans except for the Poe account, whose administrator never revealed themselves.
Filming began in March of 2016, and fans are eagerly awaiting the premiere of the series. For those who are unfamiliar with the series, there is still a good amount of time to read the series, become fans themselves, and join in the excitement for the release.