The Baudelaires are on the run yet again.
Netflix couldn’t have picked a better time to release this new teaser for A Series of Unfortunate Events. The hit metatextual series was abruptly reintroduced onto Netflix homepages by a truly unfortunate appearance from Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris). Watch the teaser below.
The new teaser predictably doesn’t reveal much in terms of actual storylines, although we know that Season 2 of A Series of Unfortunate Events will be based on books 5 to 9 of the eponymous children’s book series by Lemony Snicket. The overall premise involves Count Olaf terrorizing the Baudelaire children in various darkly funny situations, constituting of a myriad of awful disguises on the Count’s part.
Season 1 kicked off with a mysterious fire that killed the parents of Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire (Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, and Presley Smith, respectively). Olaf swoops in to take the children under his wing, but his sinister history and ulterior motives prove themselves. The Baudelaires then fight to prove Olaf to be a fraudulent guardian and find out some family secrets of their own along the way.
“There may be some of you who are surprised that Netflix would choose this to be the first face you see in 2018,” says Count Olaf, although that only adds to the sheer glee of diving back into Snicket’s stories. The failed film adaptation starring Jim Carrey in 2004 left audiences satiated only partway. Hollywood heavily took on the more humorous aspects of A Series of Unfortunate Events with Carrey’s Olaf, removing the quintessential melancholy, creepiness, and darkness that makes up Snicket’s multilayered narratives. Admittedly, Harris’ casting was a little concerning at first too. Barney Stinson as Count Olaf felt like an adamant forcedly funny do-over that just wouldn’t work.
But Netflix succeeded by producing a series that matched the level of maturity present in Snicket’s complicated children’s stories. The Verge’s Chaim Gartenburg praises the show’s commitment to the books, saying “it nails down the tone that made the stories so special. […] The world-building is rich with…a deeply interconnected backstory spanning the entire series for attentive readers to uncover alongside the Baudelaire orphans.” Erik Adams wrote for The A.V. Club that Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events “treats mature themes like grief, loss, and disappointment with sardonic honesty” without losing the essential family element.
Netflix’s new teaser may not tell us exactly how faithful books 5 to 9 will be covered in Season 2 of A Series of Unfortunate Events, but it does the job splendidly. It isn’t the first time the show’s promotional campaign has taken such a sarcastic route either. The teaser reveals just enough of what makes the series thoroughly compelling: a mixture of macabre and comedy, and a ton of fourth-wall breaking.
Season 2 of A Series of Unfortunate Events premieres March 30 on Netflix.