The casting in this series is excellent. The children fit perfectly. The casting for all their guardians was on point (with lots of diversity too, yay). Neil Patrick Harris makes a great Count Olaf; which I think is a tricky thing to do, and probably the biggest downfall of the movie. Count Olaf may wear laughable costumes and not always have the most common sense, but at the of the day he's a villain and a murderer who will stop at nothing to kidnap these children. Jim Carrey turned this into more of a comedic role, while NPH was able to pull off all sides of the character. However my favorite casting choice is Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket. His little narration tidbits were my favorite.
Another thing I was worried about was how the format and pacing of the show would work. Would they cram one book into each episode? How long would the episodes be? How much of the content were they skimping on? Well, each episode is about hour long (some more, some less), and they cover one book in the span of two episodes. There's eight episodes, so season one covers the first four books. Did they skimp on content? Well...yes, but that's to be expected with any book to screen adaptation. It's just an unavoidable thing, IMO. The good news is that they still cover enough ground for you to feel satisfied. I think the two episodes per book format worked out really well, considering books 1 through 8 are pretty short anyway. However at book 9 they start to get longer (and longer...they just keep getting bigger until the final book hahah) and there's a lot more important plot points. If they end up making the shows for the entire series I hope they consider stretching the later books into three episodes.
Covering new territory
The movie covered the first three books. And while the series is very different, it was hard not to compare their adaptation of those first three books to the movies adaption of them. It sort of felt like you were watching a remake (a much, much better one, but a remake none the less). The series goes into book four, The Miserable Mill, and it was a lot of fun to see a part of the story that had never been on the screen before. For that reason I'm even more excited for season two! Plus it will include one of my favorite books in the series, The Hostile Hospital.
(SPOILERS) Ok, so a big thing this series does where you're like WOAH THIS IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE BOOKS, is the addition of the set of parents that show up at the end of episode 1 (and more throughout the season). They've been kidnapped and are trying to find a way out because "our children need us!" So at first it's like, wait, are these the Baudelaire parents (who in the books are thought dead)? Uhh ok. But then at the end of the season you learn that they are actually the parents of the Quagmire triplets. Whaaaaat. If you haven't read the books then you'll learn more about them in the next season, when they cover book 5 - The Austere Academy. But no matter whose parents they are, none of that was in the books, so it's a new addition, and I'm actually kind of curious on where it's going. (END OF SPOILERS) I'm not always a huge stickler, not in the NO THEY CAN'T DO THAT, THAT'S NOT WHAT HAPPENED IN THE BOOK kind of way. If the change is done tastefully and is not for some stupid reason (like changing friend-relationships into romantic-relationships, why?) then I don't really mind. Daniel Handler wrote most of the episodes and is also a producer for the show, so I trust his judgement. I read an interview he did, and when asked "Has the mystery itself significantly changed from the books?" he replied "I would say that the destination is the same, but the route is different." I'm ok with that...and it's kind of fun not knowing what's going to happen next!
I just like it :) It's sung by Neil Patrick Harris, and parts of the lyrics change depending on which book you're on, giving you a little recap and sometimes little clues on what might happen next. So there are 4 different songs! Watch and listen to the first song here!
So yeah...watch this show! Even if you haven't read the books, watch it! Or if you've already seen it, tell me what you thought! I've read all the books and loved it. Andrew and my friend did not read the books, and they loved it just as much (well, maybe a little less, I admit I'm obsessed and maybe a little biased...but they loved it, really!).