“Your first impression of me might be that I’m a terrible person,” said Count Olaf as he showed the Baudelaire siblings their new room — a dirty cramped space with only a single bed and a pile of rocks in the corner. “You haven’t the faintest idea.”
Netflix’s newest addition, “A Series of Unfortunate Events” debuted season one on Jan. 13. It follows the dark comical tale of the Baudelaire orphans: Violet, Klaus and baby Sunny. The trio are sent to live with the wicked Count Olaf, played by Neil Patrick Harris, after they lost their parents and all their belongings in a mysterious house fire. After realizing that Count Olaf is after the fortune their parents left them, the siblings attempt to escape his clutches while trying to uncover the story behind their parents’ untimely death.
Despite the grim subject matter, “Unfortunate Events” is frequently hilarious. The writing is quick, sharp and highly self-aware. This self-awareness is delivered from Patrick Warburton who acts as the show’s narrator, Lemony Snicket. Warburton constantly addresses the audience and reminds them of how depressing the show is and how evil some characters are. His deadpan delivery always gets a laugh.
Harris is a blast to watch as the evil Count Olaf. He chews the scenery as he brilliantly mixes menacing, cheesy and goofy behavior. Harris dedicates himself to the role and the result is a performance you can’t take your eyes off.
Malina Weissman, 13, and Louis Hynes, 15, who portray Violet and Klaus, also give excellent performances despite their ages. The two work off each other quite well, leaving the audience empathetic and wanting them to succeed.
Where the show begins to falter is the plot. Episodes can feel repetitive; the orphans get sent to a new guardian and Count Olaf follows them there, hatches a new scheme to acquire their fortune, resulting in the Baudelaires exposing him and being sent to a different guardian. Luckily the dialogue and performances alleviate this issue.
The biggest sin is the use of Computer Generated Imagery. The show mostly uses practical effects, real locations and fantastic looking sets. However, occasionally a CGI effect appears looking completely unrealistic. The audience ends up distracted as it doesn’t fit with the scene.
Despite these flaws,“A Series of Unfortunate Events” is highly entertaining to watch with the entire family. Dark, witty and charming, this show is worthy of being your next weekend binge-watch.