Netflix sure knows how to pick 'em. On Wednesday the subscription streaming service announced it will be putting together yet another original TV series based on the A Series of Unfortunate Events books written by Lemony Snicket. The rights to all of the books have been picked up, and reportedly, the project is being “fast-tracked” to move forward. If it does, it will be a live action, family-friendly program, which is a different than the goals of House of Cards or Orange is the New Black.
Netflix has no news on when or how A Series of Unfortunate Events will translate to the small screen. Netflix is producing the project, and apparently, the show is currently looking for a director and will move forward from there. Deadline is reporting Lemony Snicket (a.k.a. Daniel Handler) himself had plenty to say about the purchase of the rights to his books in a statement that will give you some idea of the dark humor for kids conveyed on each page.
“I can’t believe it. After years of providing top-quality entertainment on demand, Netflix is risking its reputation and its success by associating itself with my dismaying and upsetting books.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time Snicket’s wildly popular children’s series has been adapted. Back in 2004, the first several books in the series were reworked for the big screen, rolling with the title A Series of Unfortunate Events. Remember Jim Carrey with that long nose?
The movie did fairly well both critically and monetarily, but a second movie was never produced. There are actually thirteen books that Netflix can use if the company wants to stick to the stories in the books, so there should be plenty of ways to introduce the world to the orphans Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire and their various misadventures at the hands of the evil and dismaying Count Olaf.
Of course, Netflix will face some of the same problems Paramount’s movie faced when working with the source material. Snicket’s humor is often dark, although not so scary that kids don’t get into it. However, most of the best moments from the series involve asides from the narrator, who loves to define big words for children and who often goes on cynical or cheeky asides about the children’s situations. That’s a lot tougher to convey than any mood or ambiance, and I wish Netflix the best of luck when adapting A Series of Unfortunate Events for the small screen. The company’s gonna need it.
The move comes about a week after Netflix also signed on for another adaptation of a popular property. Former comics and cartoon hit Richie Rich is already moving forward to series. Clearly, Netflix really wants to develop more interesting family programming, and hopefully the streaming service will hit it out of the park with its new live action shows.