“A Series Of Unfortunate Events” Shines And Succeeds In Season Two

Jack Julow, writer

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After the first season of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” arrived on Netflix last year, it has gained praise for its witty and clever storytelling, and for going against the typical bubbly children’s show format found on Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. The show is also adored for the cinematography, the striking style, and the outstanding performances from both the child actors and Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf. Even though the first season suffered from formulaic storytelling, the second season has dropped the formula and the episodes have been able to take on different tones as a result. Season two has played horror and mysteries with the “Austere Academy” and “Hostile Hospital” episodes being the highlight.

“A Series of Unfortunate Events” finally embraced its quirkiness and intentional morbidity to create a complex story with entertaining characters. It is one of the most engaging children’s shows I have watched since “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and “The Legend of Korra,” as the story weaves across the season and all the episodes matter, unlike many other children’s shows on television. Having a serialized format allows for deeper stories and greater payoffs.

As an avid reader of the original series, the show somehow improves on the story with the appearance of a subplot featuring Olivia Caliban and Jacques Snicket, who were briefly in the series. Having the subplot helped balanced out the Baudelaire storyline, develop the greater world, and elevate suspicions about what VFD is. As for the Baudelaire children, this season allowed them to separate and act with other characters, giving them far more to do and show off range of ability. With the introduction of the Quagmire children, the Baudelaires have allies and actual motivation for the situations they are in, unlike many episodes in the first season.

The greatest part of this season was Esme Squalor and the effect she had on Count Olaf. Esme Squalor, portrayed by actress Lucy Punch, adds a new blend of humor, which helps make Count Olaf more exciting to watch, as he has a developed character to play off of when the Baudelaires are elsewhere. In addition, Esme helps expand the mythology of VFD as well as quipping along Count Olaf for a funnier sophomore season.

If you have not watched “A Series of Unfortunate Events” yet, I highly recommend watching it. And, after you enjoy watching it, tell everybody else to check out this delightful children’s series.

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