Five reasons why Netflix’s ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ trailer is way too perky

Netflix has released the first full-length trailer for their highly anticipated, A series of Unfortunate Events, television series. While the trailer certainly looks interesting, we can’t help but wonder whether the show will follow, far too closely, in the footsteps of the film that came before it.

If you haven’t caught up, Netflix’s A series of Unfortunate Events is created by Mark Hudis (True Blood, That ’70s Show) and is set to premiere in 2017. The eight-part television adaptation stars Neil Patrick Harris (How I met your Mother) as Count Olaf, Malina Weissman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Supergirl) as Violet Baudelaire, and Louis Hynes (Barbarians Rising) as Klaus Baudelaire.

While we are super excited for the Netflix series, we are also slightly worried that, much like the book-to-film adaptation released in 2004, the Netflix adaptation will be heavily reliant on humour. If you happen to be a fan of the 13-book series, you will be aware that some truly unfortunate events take place in the lives of the Baudelaire children, we are talking real adulty stuff here – death, deception, abuse, burning buildings and lets not forget those killer leeches.

While we like to keep in mind that the 2:32min trailer isn’t a true representation of the final series, we thought we would take a look at five reasons why the first trailer for Netflix’s A series of Unfortunate Events is far too perky.


Dark Historical Context

The name Baudelaire, the byname of the young, hard-done-by Orphans, was inspired by the 19th-century french poet and translator Charles Pierre Baudelaire, who was well known for his scandalous book of poems Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil). At the time of its publications, Charles’ work was considered shocking for its betrayal of sex and death, melancholy corruption, the oppressiveness of living, and of course the consumption of wine to numb the pain. In addition, the name Arthur Poe, who, in the story, is known as the oblivious wheezing banker, got his name from the well-known American macabre writer Edgar Allan Poe. 

Baudelaire translated Poe’s famously dark works into french, the connection between these two dark minds influenced Lemony Snicket (a.k.a Daniel Handler’s) writing. In addition to this, it is believed that Handler was also influenced by Baudelaire’s early poem La Béatrice, in which the character Beatrice Baudelaire, the mother of the three orphans, shares a name.

While these are the primary and most notable influences in A Series of Unfortunate Events, there are many dark literary influences hidden within each of the books, such as the name Briny Beach which is said to be a direct reference to Lewis Carroll’s Through The Looking Glass, and the Nevermore Tree which is a reference to Poe’s The Raven.

Response to the dark fan-made trailer

In 2015 a gothic teaser for Netflix’s Series of Unfortunate Events swept through the internet. After giving fans hope that they would finally see a realistic representation of the nostalgic series, and receiving widespread praise, Netflix announced that the trailer was fan made. Despite the fact that the streaming giant denied their involvement in the trailer, fans couldn’t help but hope it was one of trickster Lemon Snicket’s ploys. When Netflix finally released their trailer, rumours of their involvement were finally put to rest, and, subsequently, fans of the series took to the comment section to air their thoughts.

“In an age where children’s films are afraid to even use the word “die”, Lemony Snicket is here to remind us that in 4th grade we read about a murderous, possibly pedophilic stalker [sic] hunt down three orphans over the course of 2 or 3 years to steal their rightful inheritance that, in the end, they never get to see,” said Youtube user Barley Sixseventwo in a comment on the 2015 fan made trailer.

“The real teaser just dropped today and… yeah, its [sic] nowhere near as good as this teaser,” said user OddOneOut665.

 “This teaser gives an aura of creepiness, impeding [sic] sorrow and somehow amusing doom, as the books do, but the new trailer is merely whimsical,” said user whysosirius2.

Count Olaf, more scary less funny 

If you haven’t read Handler’s 13-part series, you would be forgiven for thinking Count Olaf is nothing more than a humorous, over-the-top villain. In fact, In the 2004 film, Jim Carrey’s Count Olaf was portrayed as ridiculous and simple-minded. While we have only seen a bite-sized look at Neil Patrick Harris’ take on the villain, it seems as if 2016’s Count Olaf will head in a similar direction.

In the book series, Olaf is depicted as a somewhat intelligent character, who is tall and thin, with dirty pale skin, an eye tattoo on his ankle and a unibrow. The character is known to be both physically and emotionally abusive to the Baudelaire children, and has gone so far as to slap Klaus in the face, lock the children in their bedrooms, hang baby Sunny from a birdcage, and threatened the orphans with murder. The deranged ‘actor’ even placed the edge of a knife against violets leg underneath the kitchen table as a warning.

While a lot of Olaf’s behaviour is perhaps a little too dark to be portrayed on-screen without hiking up the classification rating, he could certainly be a little less simple-minded than he appeared in this short trailer.

Somber Tone 

While time period and location in the written series is hard to pinpoint, one thing is for sure, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events has a distinctively sombre tone.

While the trailer depicts a bright setting with just a splash or two of grunge, the book series is quite prominently dark.  It’s true that the bright sit-com style may fit in with the author’s deadpan style writing, but it seems almost a shame to miss out on the opportunity to recreate the Tim Burton-esque world the books put together so well.

Grown-up fans 

Released in 1999, the majority of A Series of Unfortunate Events readers are now all grown up. While it is understandable that a children’s book-to-television adaptation should be suitable for kids, the scores of nostalgic twenty-something-year-olds driving hype for the series confirm that, in order to be a success, the show needs to also appeal to an older audience.

So there you have our top five reasons why we think the first trailer for A Series of Unfortunate Events is too perky. Share your thoughts on the trailer in the comments below, we would love to hear them!

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Five reasons why Netflix’s ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ trailer is way too perky

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