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A Series Of Unfortunate Events

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46 minutes ago, animalnurse said:

I could have sworn Jacqueline said something about the parents being alive. Did I make that up?

No, when she was talking to Gustav on the walkie-talkies she started to bring up the parents but we don't actually hear which parents she's talking about.

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I'm encouraged by how the series is warming up. I found Violet and Klaus a bit robotic in the first couple of episodes but I think they are better at playing anger and annoyance at not being believed. The series is close to the line with Olaf but I must admit I laughed at NPH's delivery of that line about Monty not minding being left alone. I'm also getting a weird crush on Patrick Warburton.

Edited by Beatriceblake
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When I first read The Bad Beginning I was about nine and didn't find anything particularly creepy, sinister, or puke-worthy about Count Olaf marrying fourteen-year-old Violet; I just thought it was an obstacle the Baudelaires would have to overcome. But damn as an adult that shit is messed up.

I love how so much of the dialogue/narration is lifted directly from the books. I've read them so many times that while I don't have them memorized, the prose is so familiar that I know it's word-for-word. Please tell me Handler writes all of the teleplays.

Even though Jacqueline is not in the books and we never officially meet Gustav in them, I loved their scenes. In the books, the Baudelaires are so relentlessly isolated in their struggles, and I like the idea of people working behind the scenes to at least try and get things to work out for them. It was also nice to get some backstory (that I'm taking as canon since Handler wrote it) as to how the Baudelaires ended up with Count Olaf in the first place. I had such a hard time believing their parents would really be so careless, so of course it was ever freaking useless Mr. Poe who got the ball rolling.

Sunny is the best in any version of this story. I also love that they gave Eleanora Poe a bigger part.

I don't think the Henchperson of Indeterminate Gender ever spoke in the books, but they have some great lines in this. I loved them going on about the patriarchal trappings of marriage.

The way Count Olaf plays on Justice Strauss's personal hang-ups and insecurities to make her complicit in the almost-marriage to Violet is really quite spectacular.

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I looooooooved the literally vs. figuratively lesson throughout the episode. There are A LOT of people who need to learn how to use those words correctly. Whenever someone misuses "literally," I always think of this old Mad TV skit:


I think part of what made Count Olaf marrying Violet super creepy here is that I saw it. Reading about it was different because I knew it was words on a page as a plot point, but when he told Klaus he would touch whatever he wanted and then put his hand on Violet, I was like duuuuuuuuuude! I mean, even before that, just seeing NPH in his aged makeup standing in front of a young girl gave me the heebie jeebies.

I love that even when they add things to these episodes (characters like Jacquelyn or dialogue that isn't directly from the books), it's still so true to the spirit and tone of the books. It never feels out of place.

Poor Gustav! I was just starting to like him.

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I really loved the entire set they created for Uncle Monty's house (including the gardens and bushes shaped like snakes).

Count Olaf's ridiculous Stephano voice and disguise were so silly and fun, but man did he drop that and go straight back to menacing when he threatened to cut Sunny's toe off. I did laugh when he told Klaus, "I see you're still wearing those stupid glasses," even as he was wearing his Stephano glasses.

It's been so long since I read the books that I don't remember how Count Olaf knew the Baudelaire parents so when he said that he was the one who took the picture of the parents and Uncle Monty inside the piano, I had to refrain from going through the books to find out how they all knew each other (I know, I know, googling is faster).

It was so nice to see the kids with an adult who was nice and kind and not easily tricked (ahem, Mr. Poe and Justice Strauss), but then he had to go and accuse Count Olaf of being a spy from the herpatological society. Monty, Monty, Monty.

Loved all the VFD references in this episode!

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I'm not gonna lie.  I totally forgot that about Uncle Monty thinking Stephano was a spy from the herpetological society.  I'd thought he just did the usual, "Oh children, that couldn't possibly be Count Olaf, there's nothing to worry about, he can't hurt you now," so when he saw through Olaf's disguise and was being cagey, I got excited (granted, we knew from Lemony Snicket's narration that he was still going to die, but I appreciated it all the same.)  Then, when he confronted Stephano and accused him of being a spy, it all came back to me and was such a gutpunch.  Ouch!

Between the writing and Aasif Mandvi's performance, I thought they got Uncle Monty just right, that perfect mix of warm and kooky.  The photo of him and the Baudelaire parents locked inside the piano killed me, and I loved the bit when he was first showing Count Olaf around and, for a second, they were both struggling to remind the fake name he'd used.  The scene of him talking about not being afraid of all reptiles after an encounter with a dangerous one was really lovely.

So glad we got to see the crazy scenes from Zombies in the Snow.  I'm impressed that they're incorporating stuff from The Unauthorized Autobiography, too.

Uncle Monty's house and the Reptile Room both look so amazing.  The snake patterns on the walls are great, and the Reptile Room is so stunning with its color and natural light and beautiful library.  The series is doing a really good job at making the Baudelaires' few safe places (like Justice Strauss's library in The Bad Beginning) stand out so wonderfully from every other place in their world.

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I'm so thrilled. I love the entire series of books and think they're brilliant, witty and dark (and I will always remember being really upset at how disrespectful the chefs were on "Top Chef" toward writer Daniel Handler on a guest appearance, treating him like some kind of freak). I've read all of the books multiple times, and the tone of the series is incredibly hard to pin down -- it's gothic, hilarious, heartbreaking, grim, tragic, witty... the show got every bit of the eccentricity and edge.

Unlike many, I adored the 2004 movie adaptation, which I still think was pitch-perfect (as was Jim Carrey, not always a favorite of mine). So I liked the show's subtle homages to the movie (which was co-produced by Sonnenfeld, who is even more involved here as producer and frequent director).

I especially liked that, for those of us who love the film, the TV show feels like a fairly seamless transition between book>film>show. The production design and casting are all very similar, and the art direction is off the charts -- NPH's Olaf could have literally stepped out of the pages of the books. Wonderful! I'm liking NPH so far (and love that he sings the opening credits "Look Away...!"), and also appreciate that he has to constantly walk a very fine line between the pathetic, the ridiculous, the hilarious, and the malevolent. I was impressed here -- I don't think he cares if we like him and that's so important.

However, the revelation of the show for me is Warburton, who always manages to be a revelation in situations like these for me (see also his performance on "NewsRadio" as Johnny Johnson, Jimmy James's nemesis). I liked Jude Law as LS in the movie, but Warburton is even better -- he manages to seem invested, caring, worried, grieving, and yet incredibly, consistently funny.

On 1/13/2017 at 0:01 PM, helenamonster said:

That being said, catharsis is subjective. Despite all the misfortune, the books have a lot of interesting things to say about the duality of good and evil, moral relativism, and coming of age in a cruel and mostly indifferent world, among other things. If that sort of thing interests you, the series is definitely worth sticking out. But if it's not, then you probably won't enjoy it. The time the children spend living at Count Olaf's seems downright quaint to the things they encounter in the later books.

I remember that I was caregiving for my ailing Mom 4-5 years back, and I was reading the books and laughing out loud, so I read her some of the passages, but after a few she actaully cried -- they were just too dark for her. 

On 1/13/2017 at 0:53 PM, ThatsDarling said:

I've always felt this series called for an animated adaptation, preferably in the style of the animated sequences in the first film. Excited to see more of this, though.  

Lemony(grid)720b.jpg

I adored the film and the closing animations. I know at one point Silberling and Sonnenberg were exploring going that direction if the movies/adaptations continued.

On 1/13/2017 at 10:03 PM, spaceghostess said:

We watched Episode One tonight, and it earned my kid's seal of approval. I enjoyed it, too. I love the Tim Burton/Wes Anderson mashup feel of the design and NPH works just fine for me as Olaf and seems to be having a ball. So happy to see Joan Cusack, too--and pleasantly surprised with Patrick Warburton's decidedly un-Puddy-like telling of the story. The kids are good; the baby's adorable.

I'm totally with you on all of these. More on Warburton farther on.

On 1/14/2017 at 4:49 AM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

I loved the books so I was looking forward to seeing this but I was also a little afraid that it wouldn't be as good as the books. I thought it would be a great project for Tim Burton à la Edward Scissorhands with the dark and dismal sets contrasted with the bright colorful cheery sets. The shot going from Justice Stauss's house to Count Olaf's house captured it perfectly. The look and the tone were perfect.

I get this, but am so glad Burton has not ever been involved -- for me it would be too much twee on too much twee. And if Burton was involved it would probably not have been cast with as much racial blindness, either.

The production design is interesting because it's, to me, very obviously often a series of homages to the film (which I don't think is a bad thing -- I adored it), and was produced and a labor of love by Sonnenfeld also. He was even going to direct it at one point until scheduling made it impossible (and Silberling stepped in).

On 1/14/2017 at 8:20 AM, angora said:

It's kind of amazing how much they have NPH looking like the illustrations of Count Olaf.  That hair!  I'm still settling into having him in the role, but overall, I think he's hitting that balance between utterly ridiculous and genuinely menacing, which is a tough needle to thread.

Patrick Warburton, on the other hand, is pitch-perfect as Lemony Snicket.  They've done a really nice job of incorporating him into the proceedings, ever-present without feeling intrusive.  The Easter eggs in his bits are great.

Warburton has always been underappreciated. I've loved him for decades -- he just never quite seemed to get a hit, or when he did, he'd be a specific kind of douche. He's capable of far more subtle and sensitive work, so I'm delighted with his LS interpretation here.

I disagree with you on the effectiveness of the movie's treatment of Sunny's dialogue, which I thought was wonderful and very faithful to the books -- and the show so far is treating it almost verbatim, to me, with the same irony and pithy smartness.

On 1/14/2017 at 1:17 PM, AmandaPanda said:

I read the first book when I was in fifth grade and have been in love with the series ever since. I remember being so incredibly disappointed with the Jim Carrey movie. This first episode was everything I wanted from that movie. The story is so melodramatic and over the top. The three kids are fantastic. I love NPH's portrayal of Count Olaf. I'm just so excited about this show.

I loved the 2004 movie but am also loving this latest iteration. It's delightful to fall into the Lemony Snicket world again (and I especially love the doleful opening dedication to Beatrice).

On 1/14/2017 at 11:15 PM, helenamonster said:

Speaking of illustrations, the first scene with the kids on the trolley and the firetruck going by took me back to this:

kids-on-trolley.jpg

I might go back and look at all the illustrations from the first four books to see how many they reference. But seriously, the opening scene on the trolley gave me chills as soon as it reminded me of this. God the illustrations are just SO GOOD. I especially like the ones at the end of each book that contain a clue about the next entry in the series.

Wonderful catch! I loved the illustrations all the way through (all the way down to the bios at the end, which, like Lemony Snicket's, just got more and more hilarious). 

So delighted this show is starting out this good.

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On 14/1/2017 at 11:32 PM, Arynm said:

I loved the song at the end. Who were the children on the other side of the bench? They had the other side of the spyglass.

Will Arnett and Cobie Smulders's kids (minus one of the boys), from earlier in the episode.

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3 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

It's been so long since I read the books that I don't remember how Count Olaf knew the Baudelaire parents so when he said that he was the one who took the picture of the parents and Uncle Monty inside the piano, I had to refrain from going through the books to find out how they all knew each other (I know, I know, googling is faster).

It was so nice to see the kids with an adult who was nice and kind and not easily tricked (ahem, Mr. Poe and Justice Strauss), but then he had to go and accuse Count Olaf of being a spy from the herpatological society. Monty, Monty, Monty.

Loved all the VFD references in this episode!

I agree, I love everything you mention here. I also think it's plainly implied here that (regardless of whether people have read the books) that Olaf obviously knew Monty and the Baudelaires pretty well at some point.

2 hours ago, angora said:

Between the writing and Aasif Mandvi's performance, I thought they got Uncle Monty just right, that perfect mix of warm and kooky.  The photo of him and the Baudelaire parents locked inside the piano killed me, and I loved the bit when he was first showing Count Olaf around and, for a second, they were both struggling to remind the fake name he'd used.  The scene of him talking about not being afraid of all reptiles after an encounter with a dangerous one was really lovely.

So glad we got to see the crazy scenes from Zombies in the Snow.  I'm impressed that they're incorporating stuff from The Unauthorized Autobiography, too.

Uncle Monty's house and the Reptile Room both look so amazing.  The snake patterns on the walls are great, and the Reptile Room is so stunning with its color and natural light and beautiful library.  The series is doing a really good job at making the Baudelaires' few safe places (like Justice Strauss's library in The Bad Beginning) stand out so wonderfully from every other place in their world.

Agreed, and I loved the palpable sweetness and warmth between Monty and his sweet reptiles, and how fast we also see how the kids bonded with them too. The kids' conversation with the weeping crocodile while hanging out was just adorable.

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I really love how warm and inviting the Reptile Room was, especially after all the darkness and gloom of Count Olafs house. I always feel like reptiles are given a bad rep in pop culture, so it was so interesting and nice that a place called the Reptile Room, which sounds like the backroom in the house of a super villain, is actually a safe and happy place filled with happy sweet reptiles and lovable kook Uncle Monty. 

Big props to Aasif Mandvi and the writers for making Uncle Monty such a fun, likable character in just one episode, and filled him with so much warmth that I can totally see how the kids would bond with him so quickly. I knew how it was going to end, but I was still hoping that maybe Lemony Snicket was wrong and Uncle Monty would be alright. Plus, his pet iguana on a leash is freaking adorable. 

This whole show is quite a bit like Tim Burton at his prime with more of a post modern vibe. More like Edward ScissorHands Tim Burton, not modern Tim Burton that is rather more hit and miss. I also feel the need to say that I like the color blind casting of the supporting characters, and how the races of the characters is never commented on or does it really change anything about their characters as they were. Its kind of like Pushing Daisies, where the world is colorful, but race is a non issue, at least as of now. 

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Personally I'm finding the narration tiresome, so this show will go on the don't binge pile and I'll try and watch ep 3 tonight. 

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I was confused as to why they didn't just use that a legal contract entered through coercion is usually non binding and unenforceable, that and Olaf admitted to multiple felonies in front of hundreds of witness. *sigh*

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I was really happy with this episode -- I was especially pleased that Josephine was given a bit more character and spine here by Handler in his adaptation. 

I mean, yes, it's depressing that pretty much all the adults the Baudelaires meet up with are flawed, but it was nice that Josephine tried to be brave in the end.
 

Spoiler

 

In the original book (and previous film adaptation), Josephine is pretty spineless and gives up the children to Olaf without a qualm in the final scene, offering to go anywhere he'll send her. Whereas here, she found her courage again and tried to stand up to him, which I thought was more poignant and powerful, and which made for a better arc. It's interesting that Handler changed it from his own source material.


 

Meanwhile, I love Cobie Smulders and Will Arnett as the Parents -- I'd honestly watch a whole spinoff about them. They're just so deadpan, swashbuckling and delightful.

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12 hours ago, paramitch said:

I'm liking NPH so far (and love that he sings the opening credits "Look Away...!")

FYI - don't fast forward through the opening credits before each episode because there are new lines about the previous or current episode!

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I will miss Uncle Monty's gorgeous home. Count Olaf is so arrogant that he admitted to killing Gustav without even being asked! Poor Sunny is going to miss her snake friend. I agree that NPH is straddling the line between ridiculously over the top and enjoyably evil, but I have to laugh at some of the ridiculous things he says (like telling the statue lady that she'd overdone it with the bronzer). I also love his oafish henchmen (and henchwomen).

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I found it interesting that Aunt Josephine is terrified of just about everything, but she's totally fine with living on top of a precipice where she could fall into the lake to her doom (although I did love the view!).

As with the literally/figuratively lecture in The Reptile Room, I loved Aunt Josephine's obsession with grammar and her lesson regarding it's/its to Count Olaf. If only she could explain that to the entire internet for me. It made me so sad when the kids found all the pictures of her being a daredevil before Ike died and then seeing what a fearful person she turned into after his death.

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2 hours ago, ElectricBoogaloo said:

I also love his oafish henchmen (and henchwomen).

And henchperson of indeterminate gender ;)

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RIP, Uncle Monty - in print or onscreen, it makes me sad every time.

The visuals on this show continue to be fantastic.  After seeing the light and warmth of the Reptile Room in Part One, I liked how all its colors seemed muted in Part Two.  As Lemony Snicket said, Monty's death has changed it, and the place that was once inviting and safe now has a pall cast over it.  Really effective lighting work there.

So glad they brought Mr. Poe's freakout over Sunny and the Incredibly Deadly Viper to life.  I always liked that part in the books, and it was hysterical here.  Count Olaf wondering whether they should just wait and see if he'd die from natural causes was also super funny.

Every shot of the hook-handed man using his "hands" killed me.  They were so ridiculous-looking.

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Uncle Monty's death as a kid was a real gut punch, and that hasn't changed. The Baudelaires were so happy with him, but of course that couldn't last. Count Olaf dropping the lamp from the window and almost killing Uncle Monty also always freaked me out.

I wish they had leaned in more on Uncle Monty thinking Count Olaf was just a spy from the Herpetological Society. Count Olaf is a bumbling idiot a lot of the time (the part where he couldn't even remember the name he came up with for his own disguise was great), but he is most excellent at finding out what makes people tick and using it against them. He did it witch Justice Strauss, playing on her never-realized dream of being an actress, and he does it with Uncle Monty by playing on his sense of self importance regarding his contributions to the herpetological community. He is clearly a brilliant scientist (and his joke with the Incredibly Deadly Viper would have been a good one, god damn it!), but his weakness is that he knows he's a brilliant scientist and assumes that everyone resents him for his success. I feel like that's more stressed in the books. For instance, in the aforementioned lamp-dropping scene in the book, the lamp comes from the window of Violet's room and he assumes that she was careless and left it dangling out the window for unexplained reasons. He'd rather believe the children are absentminded and Stephano is there to steal his life's work than accept that Count Olaf is back and ready for murder.

I agree that I loved the set design for Monty's house and grounds, and the reptile room is so warm and inviting (and I say this as someone with a pathological fear of snakes!) but I wish they'd found the time to show more of the animals. There's a great passage in the book where a bunch of them are described and I would have liked to see them brought to life. My favorites were a toad with eyes like stained glass church windows, and the Virginian Wolfsnake, "who should never be allowed near a typewriter." That being said, I did enjoy the scene with the children in the room, and all of the interactions with the animals that we did get to see.

I like that we got to see the ridiculous Zombies in the Snow (only ridiculous because the dialogue had to be warped to convey a message). I remember the portion of the screenplay in The Unauthorized Biography being equally nonsensical. They also did a good job of adapting the Sebald Code to a visual medium. The way it's portrayed in the books, it's easier to decipher when reading (despite the fact that most of the characters use it when speaking, which seems impossible), but for viewers it would have been really hard for us to count the words, or figure out exactly how Uncle Monty was deciphering the code, so they came up with a good way of getting around that. I kinda want to check my copy of The Unauthorized Biography again because I did decipher the code and I can't remember what it was, but I underlined all the words, and I want to see how close it was to the message they used in this episode.

Gustav is gone for good, but I hope we get more Jacquelyn. I was not expecting to love a non-book character so much.

On 1/16/2017 at 9:16 AM, ElectricBoogaloo said:

It's been so long since I read the books that I don't remember how Count Olaf knew the Baudelaire parents so when he said that he was the one who took the picture of the parents and Uncle Monty inside the piano, I had to refrain from going through the books to find out how they all knew each other (I know, I know, googling is faster).

Spoiler

Count Olaf, the parents, Uncle Monty, and nearly every other adult character in the books have all been in VFD since they were children and before the schism.

I did love the joke about Uncle Monty and the parents being inside the piano though.

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How come all these highlyskilled, formidable people die in house fires? The fires were set from far away and we have no indication that anything else was done. Have they never heard that you can leave a burning house? I know this show isn't super realistic and I got over my frustration about most people being complete idiots at some point, but come on these were supposed to be the smart people.

Also, I am surprised that Justice Strauss didn't show up again, after she pulled out that book about secret societies. Maybe next season...

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I really liked the part with Sunny and Violet working as a team to get into Olaf's suitcase. And Warburton explaining Meanwhile Back at the Ranch and how it wss a cliched phrase was reall funny. And my kids love this show even with  how dark this episode was. Oddly enough both of them now have at least one baby doll they call Sunny.

Would have liked to see a bit more of the scene in the bar. Those people are about to get their asses kicked by a SHIELD agent and Batman (or Mr. Banana Grabber if you prefer).

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Wow, this blew me away. Great episode, great first season. It was a typically beautiful, funny, and yet very sad episode in true Lemony Snicket fashion. The song at the end was such a perfect way to end the season -- it was witty and smart, and also genuinely poignant.

One thing I really salute the show for -- and NPH -- is that Olaf is a terrible, awful, scary person, but he also does come across as a believable character with his own weaknesses and emotions. The Olaf moments in the song for instance showed gleeful villainy and malevolence but we also got glimpses of something under the surface -- a glimpse of loneliness (which, juxtaposed with the revelations about Olaf and Snicket and the Baudelaire parents) makes the situation that much more tragic -- that Olaf was once their friend and companion, that he took the playful picture of Monty and the Baudelaire parents hiding in the piano, that he and LS were once evidently real friends.

One of my favorite things about the books is that Olaf is a truly complex character -- oh, he's horrible, murderous, awful, terrible, and villainous -- but he's genuinely interesting too. And so are his sidekicks -- you get these occasional glimmers that they could have been more decent people in other circumstances. From a writing standpoint, I really love that. And the show has delivered on showing us those elements as well, and that's hard to do.

Meanwhile, I especially loved the revelation about the Parents (and kudos to the show on the beautiful, season-long misdirection -- my niece was so shocked that they weren't actually the brave beautiful Baudelaire parents!), and the kids at the end sitting on the other side of the bench from the Baudelaires...

Spoiler

 

The Quagmire Triplets! I may have let out a squeal of happiness. I love them -- they're so necessary and give the poor Baudelaires the companionship and support they so deserve and need.

 

 

 

Quote

How come all these highlyskilled, formidable people die in house fires? The fires were set from far away and we have no indication that anything else was done. Have they never heard that you can leave a burning house? I know this show isn't super realistic and I got over my frustration about most people being complete idiots at some point, but come on these were supposed to be the smart people.

I don't mind the fire plot device because it's got to be something, from a story standpoint -- some big, believable, non-high-tech yet uniform weapon that Olaf (we presume) has and uses against his enemies, and fire is both genuinely scary and leaves very little evidence.

And as these aren't remotely realistic stories, but absurdist gothic Victorian/steampunk fairytales, basically, it works for me that fire just happens to be Olaf's go-to weapon -- he's also obviously willing to use a variety of others, as he did against both Gustav, Monty, and Josephine.

One thing the show does just as well as the books, for me, is the way it portrays -- as in fairytales -- situations in which children are the smartest, most mature people in the room, but their very status as children means that they are consistently disregarded by the flawed (if well-meaning) adults around them. Luckily, the Baudelaire orphans have each other -- and their assorted superpowers -- to keep the villains at bay.

I hope they get another (and multiple) seasons -- I'd absolutely adore to see *all 13 books (which are amazing) play out, and I think the cast could handle them. The show is really palpably a labor of love by so many involved -- it's obvious that NPH has become as big a fan of the books as Sonnenfeld, as he has producer credit on the second part of "The Bad Beginning," and appears to have been a really enthusiastic participant in the show.

*Although some of the books I would argue, simply for plot reasons, wouldn't need the two-episode treatment -- The Ersatz Elevator, or The Hostile Hospital, for example.

Edited by paramitch · Reason: Fixed word tense. Grammar issues!
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Poor Aunt Josephine finally found her spirit, but it cost her. It is nice that she had an arc though, and she found some of her old fierceness in the end.

I continue to love all the sets and locations they go to. Its all in similar styles, connecting it to the same world, but their all also so unique.

"Call me Ishmael!"

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Aunt Josephine's house looks fantastic, as do Damocles Dock and The Anxious Clown!

Alfre Woodard does a nice job capturing both the silliness and the sadness of Josephine's many fears.  I like that she got the speech about the death of a loved one being like climbing the stairs in the dark.  I've always found that to be such an evocative comparison and had been surprised when we didn't get it in The Reptile Room.

(Side note:  while the show is pretty darn white overall, I really appreciate the ongoing effort to make sure there's some diversity in the proceedings.  Alfre Woodard is a great Josephine.)

I like Olaf's Captain Sham disguise, and the henchpeople continue to be awesome.  I loved the scene of them being Olaf's wingpeople with Josephine, and the shot of them towing Olaf's rowboat was perfect.

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I loved the henchpeople all talking about Captain Sham at the market! That's the kind of silly but hilarious thing that makes this show so fun to watch. 

Edited by ElectricBoogaloo
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I wasn't sure about the series a few months ago at first, when it was first announced. I worried that it wouldn't be able to capture the essence of the books. I liked the film well enough, but I was always disappointed on how quickly the film moved. Obviously it was for time, but I always just wanted more. This series eventually gave me some hope that I'd be able to get a good adaptation out of it. What I didn't expect was a fantastic adaptation that is everything that I've wanted. Now, I haven't read the books in a long time so it seems like that will be on my list of things to do after I watch this season. 

I'm going to start with the kids, who are just perfect in their roles. Each of them capture their counterparts well. I think each kid has a lot of talent, and they even manage to capture baby Sunny well. I know there's only so much they can do about Sunny on screen, short of CGI'ing her to move her mouth when she babbles, but I am totally fine with the way they've handled her so far. 

I was so unsure about NPH as Count Olaf. I guess after having the vision of Jim Carrey as Olaf for so long, I wasn't sure whether he'd be able to pull off what Carrey managed to. And ok, admittedly, his first few scenes had me wavering on whether I liked him in the role or not. But he completely sold me during the dinner scene. He captured the menacing aspect as well as the dark humorous side very well. He had me on edge when he had Sunny in his hand, hovering above the table (also props to Malina Weissman for capturing Violet's terror in that one shot). So I think that I will be able to feel comfortable with Count Olaf. Ok, not comfortable, but content that he's being portrayed well. 

Warburton is an actor I've never really cared for. I've seen a lot of his work, but he's not an actor I've really paid attention to. But I absolutely love his version of Lemony Snicket. He plays the role to perfection. I love the vibe that he gives. Lemony is such an important part of the series that Warburton makes sure that importance is captured. 

The production value is exactly what the show needs. The film managed to capture this too, so I'm glad they haven't dropped any of it. 

I forgot how much all the adults suck, besides maybe Strauss, but even she has her moments. I do think Joan Cusack captures Strauss perfectly. I remember feeling so sad when she didn't take the children in, and I know I'll feel the same way here, especially with the material they've given to her in this first episode, with her reading a book on adoption and her disappointment whenever the children didn't ask her what she wanted them to ask. 

I do feel like I have to re-read the books, but now I'm wondering if I should be trying to re-read at least the first four books before I continue on or wait until I finish watching this first season. The third book is one of the three that I don't have so I've never read, so I think that I'll have to go out and buy the three books that I'm missing now. Either way, I will definitely be catching up on the series by the time the inevitable second season starts up. I really enjoy that this show will have an end date, so there's no worries about it going on for far too long. 

I also didn't realize that popular voice actress Tara Strong voices Sunny. 

Edited by Lady Calypso
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On 1/13/2017 at 7:21 AM, hincandenza said:

 On the one hand, plus for making the obvious outcome be unexpected, but on the negative side this show had better have some rays of light or I'll give up.  That it's sort of off-kilter and the adults are all idiots who don't listen is fine, since that fits these kinds of young adult stories, but there's only so far they can push that before I can't take how absurdly obtuse all the "well-meaning" adults are and how the kids never seem to just blurt out specific details to save themselves- for example, why did Klaus not just show his bruise to Mr. Poe, or explain it to Justice Strauss when they were alone in her library for several minutes.  

I do understand this, especially if you've never read the books before. I think, when it comes to this series, you will have to keep an open mind that it's not going to be a happy story throughout. Without giving much away, it does have some sprinkles of hope and joy, but the narrator is not joking when he says that this story truly is a series of unfortunate events. 

It was such a darkly humourous book when I first read it at the age of nine. But it definitely isn't for everyone, and it does seem like this series is going to follow the books quite closely. I think it's possible to find joy in other aspects, even if the story doesn't end up heading that way. 

I laughed really hard at the Hooked Man displaying the cakes to Count Olaf and said that the third is a little "lemony", followed by Olaf barking at him to never say that word. What I've always loved about the series is the meta dryness to it and how self-reflexive it is. 

I love all the foreshadowing too. Such as the first episode stating that Violet's right handed, which led to the climax of the wedding. Without giving anything away, there are most likely going to be more foreshadowing moments. This show is quite smart in terms of its writing, much like the books. I guess it helps that they've kept Daniel Handler on as the writer. 

I do love that they added some new elements, such as a new character like Jacquelyn, or an added element of the Hooked Man being able to understand Sunny. I'm sad about what happened to Gustav, because he seemed like he was going to be a very fun character. Maybe he's just going to be missing and he'll show up later on! I have some hope here. I also love that they changed little things, such as how Sunny got out of the tower. I do wonder what purpose Jacquelyn is going to serve to the series, though. I like adding Jacquelyn because now her role comes into question. Is she really there to help the Baudelaires, or is she there for another heinous reason? 

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Monty! My favourite of all the adults!! And this is my second favourite of all the books (my heart will always belong to The Hostile Hospital, for reasons). I am glad we got to see the Baudelaires happy for a few scenes. I'm never prepared for Monty's demise, though. I knew he was a goner, but I was really hoping he would survive for longer. They really made sure Monty was utilized to his full extent, so I'm happy about that. 

On 1/17/2017 at 0:13 PM, helenamonster said:

I wish they had leaned in more on Uncle Monty thinking Count Olaf was just a spy from the Herpetological Society. Count Olaf is a bumbling idiot a lot of the time (the part where he couldn't even remember the name he came up with for his own disguise was great), but he is most excellent at finding out what makes people tick and using it against them. He did it witch Justice Strauss, playing on her never-realized dream of being an actress, and he does it with Uncle Monty by playing on his sense of self importance regarding his contributions to the herpetological community. He is clearly a brilliant scientist (and his joke with the Incredibly Deadly Viper would have been a good one, god damn it!), but his weakness is that he knows he's a brilliant scientist and assumes that everyone resents him for his success. I feel like that's more stressed in the books. For instance, in the aforementioned lamp-dropping scene in the book, the lamp comes from the window of Violet's room and he assumes that she was careless and left it dangling out the window for unexplained reasons. He'd rather believe the children are absentminded and Stephano is there to steal his life's work than accept that Count Olaf is back and ready for murder.

I agree with this. I mean, Monty still thought that Stephano was just a spy, but they could have empathized it more. But I was still happy with what we were given, and we still had enough of Monty to feel for him as he eventually meets his demise. 

I loved seeing the movie come to life. There's a lot I've forgotten about the second book, so it'll be quite interesting to re-read the series while having this knowledge as I watch it unfold onscreen. I love the idea of the hidden message, something that was woefully left out in the film.  

So many great moments in this series so far. I appreciate that we've gotten moments of the reptiles, and I love the feel of the house. It's just so extravagant and lovely. It lightens up the series somewhat with its set designs, that I do think it's easy to forget that these children will never have more than a few moments of happiness. 

It's nice to see Jacqueline pop up along with Gustav. Even though he's dead, it seems like they'll still pop up from time to time. Maybe. 

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I loved the touch with the darkened lighting in this part. It really emphasized how gloomy their situation got again. I also loved the design of the labyrinth. I've always loved those mazes, so it was fun for me to see Count Olaf and the Baudelaires navigate through it. And of course there is a trap door.

I like Jacquelyn and the air of mystery she has. She seems to want to help the Baudelaires, but we don't know who she really is and why she's doing it. She's a fun mystery to add to the series.

Mr. Poe's freakout over the Incredibly Deadly Viper was a hoot. I really enjoyed how freaked out he got. And to those asking why the kids can't just yell out Count Olaf's name to the adults, it's because they never believe them until the last minute, when they get further proof. Count Olaf is delightfully fun and downright scary, so I am really enjoying him. 

A lot of really great and memorable lines, and as always, Warburton is by far one of my favourite parts of the series. His Lemony Snicket is just fantastic. 

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We also got the Wes Anderson vibe from the episode. I loved that I recognized so much of the script as verbatim, and the attention to detail was wonderful. The children were great, the details of the troupe's interactions were wonderful, and I'm an unabashed NPH fan (while decidedly not a Jim Carrey fan), so this casting pleases me very much. I also thought that Patrick Warburton was incredibly great as Lemony Snicket. I liked the solution of turning Sunny's back to the camera when she had to do her work, and I'm going to overlook the dubbing, because, while it annoys me, obviously something had to be done for my favorite Baudelaire to work her magic! 

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I've been getting such a kick out of the henchperson who looks like neither a man nor a woman.  I like in general how the henchpeople have been getting somewhat more distinct personalities, but especially this one.  Their deadpan little rambles at random times kill me - I especially loved the cut the them reciting the recipe for puttanesca when all the henchpeople were in the back of the restaurant.

Also, much love for the cab driver who waxes analytically about Moby Dick to all his customers.  Ha!

One thing that really struck me in this episode was how palpable the Baudelaires' frustration is at all that's going down.  Yes, they're still grieving their parents, and yes, they spend a lot of time terrified/in survival mode, but they're also PISSED that there isn't a single (apparently) living adult who can get it together long enough to offer them even a shred of actual help.  I loved Violet's speech to Aunt Josephine about all the things they did when they were afraid.  And by the end of the cave scene, Klaus was just DONE with Aunt Josephine.  I adored that little moment where he wiped off his glasses and then clearly enjoyed scaring her with the thought of realtors coming to Curdled Cave.  Vindictive?  Yes, but by that point, I'd say he'd earned it.

Goofy CGI or not, I LOVED the shot of Sunny hanging onto the doorknob by her teeth!  Only on this show...

In the desperate rush to invent a signalling device, I liked Klaus shutting down the idea that you just need to try your best, because what really matters is what happens.  If it was in the books, I don't remember it, but it DEFINITELY feels in keeping with the general theme and spirit of the series.  Forget participation-trophy, special-snowflake stuff - if you're best isn't good enough, you won't make it out alive, so step it up!

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23 hours ago, Lady Calypso said:

I also didn't realize that popular voice actress Tara Strong voices Sunny. 

I DID NOT KNOW THIS. Gotta pay attention to the credits more closely. As if I needed another reason to love this series.

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On 1/17/2017 at 9:46 AM, angora said:

So glad they brought Mr. Poe's freakout over Sunny and the Incredibly Deadly Viper to life.  I always liked that part in the books, and it was hysterical here.  Count Olaf wondering whether they should just wait and see if he'd die from natural causes was also super funny.

Yes, it's one of my favorite parts of this books as well! Especially when he randomly screams, "Nathaniel Hawthorne!" after listing a string of deities.

My mom and I both laughed out loud at Klaus's, "That is absurd?" These poor kids.

Uncle Monty's death is one of the most depressing moments in the series, even compared to the things that happen in later books. I cringed every time they cut to his corpse, which they really didn't shy away from showing. I know this is, ostensibly, a kid's show, but I'm kind of glad they showed it a lot. It's the stuff like that that really gives the series gravitas and pulls it back down from its more ridiculous fare.

In the "Olaf is a buffoon but also scary as hell" report, the moment with Sunny in the suitcase made me cover my eyes. I knew she wouldn't be hurt but from when he bumped the suitcase into the door and you could hear her inside to when he carelessly stabbed airholes with his knife, I was on pins and needles. 

I agree that the lighting and whatnot that they used to change the Reptile Room from what was once an inviting, fascinating place, to a cold, empty mausoleum was really effective. Again, I hate snakes and pretty much anything with scales, but it's still always sad to see them scattered to the winds. I think it has more to do with the finality of Uncle Monty's death. He spent his whole life putting this fascinating, world-renowned collection together and in less than a day, it's gone.

I'm not convinced Will Arnett and Colbie Smulders are the Baudelaire parents, but they are certainly a pair of badasses.

Most of what I have to say about this episode veers into spoiler territory, so I'll go to the book thread.

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11 hours ago, angora said:

 

In the desperate rush to invent a signalling device, I liked Klaus shutting down the idea that you just need to try your best, because what really matters is what happens.  If it was in the books, I don't remember it, but it DEFINITELY feels in keeping with the general theme and spirit of the series.  Forget participation-trophy, special-snowflake stuff - if you're best isn't good enough, you won't make it out alive, so step it up!

I really like that as things are progressing the kids are taking matters into their own hands more and more. And Sunny telling her siblings to man up was really funny.

Also i am curious, is Violet tying her hair back with the ribbon when it is time to go to work something from the books? Because if not it is a nice little character touch, and totally something I can see her picking up based o  her mom's personality.

On 16/01/2017 at 9:35 PM, paramitch said:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

 

In the original book (and previous film adaptation), Josephine is pretty spineless and gives up the children to Olaf without a qualm in the final scene, offering to go anywhere he'll send her. Whereas here, she found her courage again and tried to stand up to him, which I thought was more poignant and powerful, and which made for a better arc. It's interesting that Handler changed it from his own source material.

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, I love Cobie Smulders and Will Arnett as the Parents -- I'd honestly watch a whole spinoff about them. They're just so deadpan, swashbuckling and delightful.

I would love a flashback spinoff. What kind of lives have they led where the things they are going through now are almost boring.

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On 1/16/2017 at 6:35 PM, paramitch said:

Meanwhile, I love Cobie Smulders and Will Arnett as the Parents -- I'd honestly watch a whole spinoff about them. They're just so deadpan, swashbuckling and delightful.

Oh they're fantastic- I only knew Cobie Smulders from minor roles in The Avengers films (never saw HIMYM), and I've struggled to enjoy any of the many ill-fated TV projects Will Arnett has done since AD (although I think I was one of 3 people who enjoyed the Netflix series he did, "Flaked"), excepting his voice-over work in Bojack.  But as a cameo or supporting actor, he's usually fantastic, and I love the way we cut to Mother and Father just after some presumably epic feat of derring-do, and a tongue-in-cheek "tell, don't show" recap of the amazing things they did to get free.  While I was worried about the show's bleak outlook, and overall felt the show/season was kind of a bummer... in the moment there were so many choice pieces of dialogue or background humor, I enjoyed it greatly when I stopped caring about the Baudelaire kids.

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On 1/17/2017 at 5:06 AM, mahree said:

I'm pretty sure that's Daniel Handler playing the fish head salesperson in the town

"Fish heads, fish heads, roly-poly fish heads!" :)

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On 1/17/2017 at 9:02 PM, paramitch said:

I hope they get another (and multiple) seasons -- I'd absolutely adore to see *all 13 books (which are amazing) play out, and I think the cast could handle them. The show is really palpably a labor of love by so many involved -- it's obvious that NPH is as big a fan of the books as Sonnenfeld, as he has producer credit on the second part of "The Bad Beginning," and appears to have been a really enthusiastic participant in the show.

*Although some of the books I would argue, simply for plot reasons, wouldn't need the two-episode treatment -- The Ersatz Elevator, or The Hostile Hospital, for example.

It's kind of well known at this point that Netflix pre-emptively plans for at least a second season of all its shows (only pulling the plug if it totally bombs; this is smart if it means they get the principles contractually bound to do follow-up seasons ahead of time) and apparently has already said it's renewed for a second season.  Apparently they plan to do 5 books in 10 episodes in season 2, which leaves is perfectly set up to finish in 3 seasons.  As a labor of love, and with Netflix's famous hands-off approach to the creative side, this hopefully means a fun, surreal and twisted show to enjoy through 2018.

Edited by hincandenza
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Oh my god, they're

Spoiler

the Quagmires!

Even though I spent the first 6-7 episodes struggling with the idea of the Baudelaire parents still being alive, it was just a suckerpunch to realize these weren't the Baudelaires.  Well played, show - you got me GOOD.  Ouch.

Sir and Charles's relationship is anything but healthy, but I'm glad the show was slightly more direct in pointing out that there are different meanings for the word "partner."

That shot of Sunny chewing the bark off that log was fantastic.

I can't believe there's only one more episode; this is basically everything I could want in A Series of Unfortunate Events adaptation.

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I'm watching this with my teen who read the books.   We're enjoying it, being Wes Anderson fans, and generally odd.  I get a little Bryan Fuller feel from it, too.

My big question is how did they film so many scenes with a baby being (1) so quiet, (2) making so many amazing but subtle faces and (3) without the actor playing Violet's arms falling off, given their relative sizes?  I even wondered if the baby was CGI!  

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Yes, loved the Daniel Handler cameo! I didn't catch it until he was almost off-screen.

Aunt Josephine is probably my favorite guardian the children have. Not because she's a good guardian, but because she's so uniquely unqualified for the position that it's really entertaining to watch. Between her banal phobias and obsession with grammar she is nonstop annoying, but the way the frustration the children have with her is portrayed in the books and here makes it so worth it. Alfre Woodard is doing a great job. She makes believe that Josephine really was fierce and formidable once upon a time, but I guess your husband getting eaten by leeches would suck that spirit out of anyone (pun slightly intended).

I loved the detail in the set design of Josephine's house of every single electrical wire being pulled out.

The kids are really becoming quite resourceful. The way they conspire to get Josephine out of the house so that they can turn up the heat, light some candles, and cook a hot meal is divine.

Olaf's Captain Sham's disguise is better than his Stephano one, I think. It looks less Olaf and I have no trouble believing someone like Josephine would fall for and get swept off her feet. I also liked the running gag of Olaf talking about his love of the ocean and everyone correcting him that it was really a large lake.

This also might be one of my favorite books for allusion naming. Captain Sham, Lake Lachrymose, and Damocles Dock. I love the illustration in the beginning of the book with the Sword of Damocles hanging over the children.

I consistently find myself looking forward to the Mother and Father scenes at the end of each episode. Will Arnett and Colbie Smulders are excellent, whoever they're supposed to be.

No spoilers, pure speculation, but I wonder if Jacquelyn will come back and disguise herself as that statue in Josephine's library. It looks so out of place in there, and it's not like she hasn't done it before!

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That really was a good twist, although once they started hinting at the meeting (even though there was still one episode to go) combined with the fact that Snicket keeps saying how this is a terrible and sad story made me kind of figure that they weren't Klaus, Violet and Sunny's parents.

I also loved all the signs around the mill about how short cuts save time, and how safety gear gets in the way. And the fact that they had baby sized coveralls for Sunny was great.

Also the actress who plays Violet is really good. Everytime she was upset about what happened to Klaus and how she blamed herself she really sold it and made it really believable. 

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6 hours ago, Winston9-DT3 said:

I'm watching this with my teen who read the books.   We're enjoying it, being Wes Anderson fans, and generally odd.  I get a little Bryan Fuller feel from it, too.

My big question is how did they film so many scenes with a baby being (1) so quiet, (2) making so many amazing but subtle faces and (3) without the actor playing Violet's arms falling off, given their relative sizes?  I even wondered if the baby was CGI!  

The set design definitely feels like the lopsided suburbia of Edward Scissorhands, as well as Pushing Daisies.  Vividly bright- almost technicolor- and toy-like.

The baby was presumably a real baby (and she could hand it off to someone in between takes), but they definitely CGI in most of the expressions, kind of like the eTrade baby commercials; you can definitely see it when the baby pouts, etc.  Also, I'd bet money that baby's lines were dubbed in later. ;)

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Another great episode with a wonderful ending.  The song was awesome, and the way they so directly positioned everything for the start of The Austere Academy put me at ease; clearly, they're ready for at least another season.  Thanks for the further info on that, hincandenza.  Three seasons sounds about perfect - they'd have to recast Sunny, of course, but the actors playing Violet and Klaus ought to be able to get by for another two years looking at least close to the ages they are now.

The near-fatal accident with Phil was SUCH a Dead Like Me/Pushing Daisies moment, the way there was absolutely no trace of his leg between his thigh and his foot.

Are we to assume that was

Spoiler

Esme Squalor starting the Quagmire fire?

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