WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
A Series of Unfortunate Events (Season One)
Type: Children’s, Drama
Basic Plot: The Baudelaire children’s parents have died, they are chased from home to home by Count Olaf, a man determined to get their fortune no matter what.
Plot: 5/5 Excellent: The plot of the books was amazing, but on TV, the plot was even better because they could add things to the story that were not in the books. I believe the author of the series thought to create V.F.D. later in the series because he realized almost halfway through that he couldn’t have the exact same plot forever and expect it to go very far or be interesting, even if he did add new characters and change the location. I believe he added V.F.D. to make the series more interesting. Because he thought of this later, there are no clues in books one through four, clues starting in book six or seven. On TV though, there were so many clues, references, and scenes that could be done in what would have been the earlier books that make the story better.
Acting: 4/5 Well Done: The actors and actresses all did a good job as the characters they played. They were able to make the scenes feel creepy or sad when needed and showed emotions realistically. The only complaint I have concerning acting is that in the first two episodes, Sunny’s voice is not being done by Sunny and it is obvious. The sounds don’t line up with her mouth or sound like a sound a baby would make. After the first two episodes though, it lines up more and sounds a lot more realistic.
Costumes and Scenery: 4½/5 Amazing: The costumes were better than the movies. The time period that the clothing was set in was much more realistic, being a forty’s or fifty’s style rather than Victorian.
The scenery was detailed and accurate without being overdone. Some of it was animated. It was thankfully not cheap or poor quality animation, but it was noticeable.
Music: 4/5 Well Done: The opening song is good, not being too long or annoying, as well as changing slightly with each episode. The music throughout the show is not constantly playing or the same in almost every situation. The music is at appropriate times and fits the mood.
Moral: 1/5 No Clear Moral: The moral in the first books of the series is not clear. A number of lessons could be taken from the series, such as intelligence will defeat ignorance or to stick together as a family, but there is no obvious moral at least in this season.
Overall: 4½/5 Amazing: Every movie and TV series I have ever seen that was made from a book was always inferior to the book. This is the first time where I have seen a TV series that was equal to the books in quality. I definitely recommend it, though I believe people who have read the books will appreciate and enjoy it a lot more.
Official Rating: PG
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 2/5 Suggestive: A man wears modest swimwear that is a little above the knee and shows the shoulders. One or two women wear clothing that either is or could be considered low and tight, and one dress shows a lady’s shoulders. Sometimes clothing falls above the knee. After a boy tells a man that he’ll “never touch our fortune” the man gropes a girl’s shoulder while saying, “I’ll touch whatever I want.” A grown man attempts to marry a fourteen year old girl for her money, though he fails. A photograph shows a shirtless man boxing. A woman says that she is going to get a “cardigan… more flattering to my figure” because she is going out with a man. The actual outfit isn’t immodest in any way. Some women suggest that two people kiss. People flirt with each other, though none of it is sexual or immodest. When mentioning the occupations he could have, a man mentions “a millionaire playboy.” “Nudism” is a word read aloud while a man is reading the dictionary. When a woman calls out “land ho” her female companion believes that she is being referred to. A man says a boy shouldn’t use the word “titular” (which means referring to a title).
Violence: 2/5 Light and Mentioned Violence: People use “violent” to describe people and use things that contain violence describe things or as examples. A bird catches another bird, probably killing it. A man says that you have to hit the stove like you would have to hit a servant and actually hits the stove for example. Later the children bang it. A man mentions that a “rat bites,” though it never shows it happening. A man slaps a boy on the face. A woman slaps her husband to get him to stop hyperventilating. A man drops a lamp and hits another man on the head. A man stabs a suitcase that is hinted to have a baby in it. It doesn’t. A man feigns that he hurt himself for a few seconds. A car runs into a shrub, though the car window is smashed no one is hurt. There are photographs of a person wrestling other people and animals. A man kicks a boy in the back, knocking him over. People talk about memories that include un-detailed violence. A woman attacks a man, and there is a scene that suggests a man and woman fought a group of people, though it doesn’t show the fighting. A man gets his leg stamped onto a wooden board. A boy knocks people over using a machine, though doesn’t hurt anyone that way.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 2/5 Light Swearing: God’s name is taken in vain eleven times. “Hell” is misused twice.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 2/5 Some Lightly Intense and Disturbing Scenes and Dialogue: It mentions that a woman named Beatrice is dead and shows her tombstone. People threaten children throughout the series, sometimes with death. The children never actually die or get hurt. Things that include death and injuries are used for examples and to describe things. Poison is mentioned throughout the series, though is only once shown to actually be used on someone. Two homes burn down, both of them shows the house burning from the inside. It is assumed that parents in both homes are dead, though it does not show them dying. A man acts as if he will drop a baby, but doesn’t. A girl says they should make “small bombs out of wine bottles,” but is unable to. A lady somewhere else actually does, though it does not show her using them. People threaten each other with weapons. A boy has a bruise on his face from being slapped. A man chases and threatens children with a knife as well as makes threatening comments. Some people watch a movie about zombies that shows a zombies arm and includes a song about being eaten. Though not shown happening, a man is murdered, and his face is shown to have two puncture wounds and is discolored. A man talks about several ways can kill you, and another man talks about different ways you could sink in a hurricane. An iguana roars in a scary manner and jumps on a man. There is a clown sign that some people may find scary, but it is not made to intentionally be scary. Some signs show cars falling off ledges or people getting attacked by leeches using stick figures. A man lies that his leg was eaten by leeches. A woman’s husband is mentioned to actually have been eaten by leeches. A woman is terrified of everything and mentions several ways a person could get injured or die by doing everyday things. A woman fakes committing suicide. There is mention of people burning ants. A man pushes a lady overboard, and she is eaten by leeches. The leeches may be scary in appearance, being large (for a leech) and having big teeth. People believe other people are dead, though some of them aren’t. A woman tells a man that he “left” her “to drown.” Some people say that a family “drinks blood from… skulls.” Some children are told that their parents burned down a town, though it is not true. A man mentions how “Hansel and Gretel” has a cannibal. A woman throws darts at a man’s picture. A woman has skeletons hidden in her closet. A woman is surprised and accidentally steps backward into a furnace, though it does not actually show her burning. A man is almost pushed into some blades. His shoe is slightly cut from them, and he says his foot has a small cut on it. A school has buildings shaped like graves.
Religious Issues: 1/5 Slightly Suggestive: A man mentions “Zeus and Hera” (false Grecian gods) while he is exclaiming. A map shows a deviled egg in a devil costume. A newspaper mentions a “ghost train.” Atheism and mythology are both briefly spoken of. A boy mentions how in The Great Gatsby there is mention of a pair of eyeglasses “representing God… judging” the world. Death is always mentioned from the perspective of not being able to come back to life, and a woman says that “no one knows what happens when you die. “Haunted” is used by people as a description. Karma and yoga are each mentioned once.
Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention “Zombies” is used to describe people. A movie is watched called “Zombies in the Snow.” Hypnotism is mentioned and performed. The fairytale, “Hansel and Gretel” is mentioned.
Others: A man tries on a wedding dress over his regular clothes. A man wears a woman’s nurse disguise. Another man disguises himself as a woman and goes all out with jewelry, makeup, and a feminine body shape. Neither man is trying to actually become a woman, merely disguising as one. While in this disguise people refer to them using feminine words. Wine bottles are seen throughout a man’s house. People drink alcohol and wine throughout the series, and mention wine and drinking. A man smokes a cigar and another man smokes a pipe. A boy mentions reading a book about gambling. A baby plays poker with a man, though there is no gambling over money. References are made to movies, music, and books such as The Great Gatsby.
Two men are hinted to be gay. The narrator says they are partners, and he describes the different meanings partners could have, including “more progressive” ones. He says that “The definitions are not mutually exclusive.” One of the men asks the other if they can take the children in, though it is not phrased in an explicitly gay manner. The scene that would appear the most gay is when a man says to his “partner” all he has are the lumber mill, “And you. Of course I have you,” while the other man looks slightly like he was expecting a kiss, though he does not receive any.
Overall: 2½/5 Almost Child Appropriate: The three main things that are an issue in this show is the taking of God’s name in vain, the homosexual suggestions, and men tending to dress as women for a disguise. There are also some that believe bad jokes are hidden in some of the speech, though whether that is true or not is debatable. If a person wishes to know what they are, they will have to search elsewhere. Unfortunately, the director’s choice to make the men gayer in the series than the books causes me to not recommend the series.
I still do recommend the movie, which has no references, and the books which have much less, if any, hints to homosexuality.