Twelve years after the 2004 adaptation of the hit Lemony Snicket books failed to excite, Neil Patrick Harris is filling the stinky shoes of Series of Unfortunate Events villain Count Olaf in Netflix’s new series starring Patrick Warburton. Here’s everything we know about the show so far.
Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) was deeply involved in production.
One of the biggest perceived failures of the 2004 adaptation was removing Daniel Handler as the primary screenwriter, resulting in a deeply jumbled version of the material that jumped around from book to book to the effect of nails on a chalkboard for fans. This time, Handler was deeply involved in the show’s production, and it sounds like it’ll be readily apparent — while the more sinister elements of the series were traded in for Jim Carrey dinosaur impressions in the first film, Neil Patrick Harris said last week the series is “a much darker take on the material than has been seen before.”
It’s the most expensive Netflix series produced to date.
According to the same Harris interview, there’s a lot riding on the series — in spite of other large-scale productions like Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Stranger Things, and more, A Series of Unfortunate Events is the biggest investment Netflix has made in a franchise thus far. Even more than The Get Down!
There’s no shortage of star power in the supporting cast.
Perhaps one of the only resemblances the new series bears to its 2004 predecessor is a healthy dose of celebrity. Bernadette Peters will play Aunt Josephine (a role played by Meryl Streep in 2004), Aasif Mandvi will be eccentric Uncle Monty (previously Billy Connolly), Patrick Warburton plays narrator Lemony Snicket (previously Jude Law), Joan Cusack joins as neighbor Justice Strauss (previously Catherine O’Hara), and Harris serves as Count Olaf (previously Jim Carrey). As in the first film, the young performers playing the protagonists Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire will be played by relatively unknown actors Malina Weissman and Louis Hynes — no word on who’ll be playing the youngest of the clan.
Barry Sonnenfeld directed half of the episodes.
The director, who is also the executive producer of the series, is well-versed in creating children’s entertainment that has the dark appeal to please both original fans of the book and adults new to the series. According to rumors, the man who brought the Men in Black and Addams Family franchises to the screen directed the episodes dealing with the first and third books, while Bo Welch — who previously served as production director on Men in Black, Edward Scissorhands, and Batman Returns — will work on the fourth book episodes.
The books will be presented in a linear fashion.
One of the major criticisms of the 2004 film was the truncated nature of the series’ first three books, skipping over a number of memorable sequences and dropping hints about later books way before it made sense to do so. Harris explained in his interview with Kelly Ripa the Netflix series will dedicate two episodes to each installment in the thirteen-book series, meaning that the first season will cover four books: The Bad Beginning, The Reptile Room, The Wide Window, and The Miserable Mill. However, it appears that fifth book characters Isadora and Duncan Quagmire will make an appearance in the first season, as both actors posted pictures from the set on Instagram.
It’s going to be dope.