Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events is finally back, successfully building on its premise by deepening its established gloominess and quirky antics with surprising maturity.
The end of season one warned us through a sing-along that the tragic tale of the Baudelaire orphans is far from over, “You might dream that justice and peace win the day, but that’s not how the story goes.” In a narrative perspective, season one can be likened to ‘act one’ (aka the set-up) and season two (‘act two’) sets in motion the Baudelaire’s increasing troubles and complications.
Snicket’s peculiar story continues right where we left Violet, Klaus and Sunny after their arrival at Prufrock Preparatory School and this season preserves what has made Unfortunate Event’s such a joy to watch.
Viewers are in for a treat with novels five to nine (The Austere Academy, The Ersatz Elevator, The Vile Village, The Hostile Hospital and The Carnivorous Carnival) from the beloved best-selling series adapted for the screen for the very first time.
The faithfulness to the source material while being playful with it (exploring secondary characters and subplots) will simultaneously please long-time readers and allows the series to dig beneath its Scooby Doo-like surface to reveal a more poignant, bigger picture.
Reflecting the book series, each episode is a page turner filled with eccentric characters, red herrings and subtle dark humour that leaves you anxiously waiting to see how the story unfolds. However, the series’ established formula becomes somewhat predictable as Count Olaf lurks behind every corner while the orphans constantly try to outsmart and foil his dastardly plans.
Luckily, every few episodes places the orphans into a new home and new challenges to overcome which helps keep the show feel fresh rather than repeating itself.
New characters Duncan and Isadora Quagmire are welcome additions, offering a new dynamic and ally to the Baudelaire’s. Despite excellent performances across the board, Neil Patrick Harris’ joyfully menacing Count Olaf and Patrick Warburton as narrator Lemony Snicket once again steal the show.
Season two will hopefully start fleshing out Count Olaf’s character rather simply using him as ‘the villain’ so the audience can discover the man behind the disguises.
Overall, season two cements A Series of Unfortunate Events as a must-watch for fans and newcomers alike, for the sinister and tragic tale of the Baudelaire’s is only beginning.
Review Score: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE STARS)
A Series of Unfortunate Events season two premieres on Netflix on March 30.