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Lemony Snicket Urges You to Stay Away From A Series of Unfortunate Events

By  · Published on October 5th, 2016

But don’t listen to him…

A trailer for an upcoming show or film is, normally, supposed to introduce characters, tease big moments, and plot points. It is designed to urge people to watch what it is advertising and draw them into the show’s or film’s world. In the first teaser for Netflix’s adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events, the literal exact opposite occurs. In fact, it actually pleads with you to “not make the same mistake that Netflix has” and “look away before this dire tale is even filmed, and avoid the cruel whimsy and whimsical cruelty of what’s to come.”

Based on the bestselling book series of the same name, A Series of Unfortunate Events follows the lives of the recently orphaned Baudelaire children. After their parents die in a mysterious fire, they bounce around living with everything from zany relatives to oddball locations, all while on the run from the villainous Count Olaf. As their lives continue, they unravel a twisted and immense conspiracy related to their parents’ death. Excited yet? I know I am.

The teaser for the show features a hallmark of the books: “author” Lemony Snicket (Patrick Warburton) directly talking to the audience. Here, he is walking through an empty set informing viewers that, due to the nature of the show, the entire cast and crew are suffering from low morale. Well, all save for one person. Right in the middle of his stone-faced monologue, off screen, viewers can hear what I assume to be Neil Patrick Harris’ Count Olaf shouting “Joy, joy, happiness!”

In all fairness, I did read all 13 books in the series when I was a kid and absolutely loved them. It still baffles me that this is the premise for a series aimed at children because the story is so richly and intricately told that the words on the page really do come alive. Each book unstitches some of the mystery, but simultaneously introduces more information. The second these books came out, they were begging for a big screen adaptation that Paramount provided in 2004. The film was largely a letdown, if only because they combined the first three books into just one movie and softened the tone of the source material. The books revel in the melancholy and sad lives of its protagonists while still never giving over to what a target audience of middle schoolers would expect to get.

At just eight episodes, it will be interesting to watch the show fully explore every nook and cranny of the first four books. Even though the teaser gives us almost no information about the show itself, it totally captures the macabre spirit of the book series. Including Harris, the cast is full of high level talent like Joan Cusack, Todd Freeman, Aasif Mandvi, Malina Weissman, and Louis Hynes. Despite the warnings given to me in the teaser, I could not be more excited for this show appropriately being released on Friday January 13th. Watch the teaser below, if you dare.

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