Review: A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017 series)

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events follows the life of three Baudelaire children after they lose their parents and home in a fire. To add to their misery, their assigned guardian, Count Olaf, only cares about their inheritance and will stop at nothing to get it.


The series starts off with more than a few warnings of what’s about to come: unfortunate, miserable events that will keep on happening to the good Baudelaire children. Even the opening score tells you to “look away.” As the story continues, we’ll see that the fire at the beginning was just that — the beginning.

Violet, Klaus and Sunny don’t get the best first impression from Count Olaf but things don’t improve when they’re left in his care. They have to do chores, which include scrubbing a filthy bathroom with a toothbrush, and they only get one small bed for the three of them. Count Olaf’s actor friends don’t treat the children any better, but at least their neighbor Justice Strauss seems to have a soft spot for children.

The Baudelaire fortune cannot be touched until Violet turns 18 but that won’t stop Count Olaf from trying to get his hands on it as soon as possible. When one of his schemes fails, the children are taken to another guardian, but horrible accidents keep following them… except that they might not be accidents at all. It seems like they could be connected to a secret society but the Baudelaires will have to work hard if they hope to figure out the mystery before it’s too late for them.

This Netflix Original Series is based on the book series of the same name. Lemony Snicket is both the author and the narrator, and it’s his task to tell exactly what happened to the Baudelaires, as unfortunate as it may be.

I really liked this series and watched it over four days. The first season is divided into four parts based on the first four books: The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, The Wide Window and The Miserable Mill. Each consists of two episodes but the story still flows nicely and we have time to get to know the characters.

I’ve never read the books but I was immediately drawn in by the whimsical yet sardonic tone of the series. It deals with heavy themes and has dark moments, but there’s also humor and hope. The fourth-wall breaking narrator was a pleasant surprise and it worked well to support the plot.

The actors were perfect for their roles and the setting helped to bring the story and the world alive. Every character felt unique and had believable motivations for their actions. Not nearly every character was likable but that’s probably to be expected from such an unfortunate series.

I’d recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a bit of dark humor mixed with fantasy-like absurdity. The number of episodes makes it a great choice for a weekend binge and if you end up liking it, you’ll be happy to know that the second season has been confirmed and a third is probable as well.



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