Finally, the wait for Lemony Snicket's #ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents is over. Eerily, it's been 13 years since the ill-fated film adaptation hit theaters and kind of slid down the screen and landed with a defeated thud at the feet of critics and audiences alike. It was just OK, as far as movies go, which was a major disappointment for a book series that was just incredible. But all the rave reviews for this televised story of the Baudelaire orphans indicate that this time it's going to be different.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Daniel Handler (if that name sounds unfamiliar, it's because you probably only know him by his pen name, Lemony Snicket) disclosed that — much like the lives of the Baudelaire orphans — adapting books for the TV screen is not all tiny puppies and giant daffodils. In fact, it almost never is.
When the internationally best-selling writer first contemplated the idea of turning the Baudelaires' story into a televised misadventure, he faced a lot of opposition and attempts to thwart his overarching vision. Handler told EW:
"You know, we approached various television makers back in the day, and the first question was always, 'Does their house have to burn down? Do they have to be orphans?' Pretty basic questions, just because the thought of TV then was so sunny. It’s been nice not to have those conversations."
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But after a film franchise that never sprouted legs, Handler and his orphans finally found a platform that would give them a home. But even at Netflix, there would have to be some changes in the storytelling from the original source material. As Handler explained it, the biggest challenge of filming was figuring how to tell the mystery with the camera, rather than with written clues:
"The conversations in the various rooms were about how to lay in a big, hovering mystery that would be suitable for TV, and that’s really the big change in the adaptation — to make that mystery more present and to make it something that you need to notice. In a book, you can put in a stray sentence, and if you’re reading the book obsessively, your eyes will eventually fall on that sentence. But in television, you either have to make a mystery or you don’t. You can’t say, 'I hope that people look under the table.' They won’t look under the table unless the camera looks under the table for them."
If that is suddenly sending you into a panic attack over whether or not the integrity of the story will remain intact, take a deep breath. Handler went on to add:
"I would say that the destination is the same, but the route is different."
Will you be watching 'A Series of Unfortunate Events'?