Something Unfortunate to Netflix Comes

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Image: Sarah Pinault

Two days ago, a trailer was posted to YouTube by user Eleanora Poe. What an interesting name you might think, what an unusual handle. Except that Eleanora Poe is the Editor in Chief of The Daily Punctilio, a fictional newspaper in the equally fictional world of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. After the less-than-stellar outing of the first three books in movie form, one movie going against the grain and taking three books into one instead of vice versa, Netflix obtained the rights and announced last year that it was developing A Series of Unfortunate Events; an actual series, that is.

Here’s the full trailer:

I wouldn’t get too excited just yet though. Turns out the trailer is a fan-made teaser trailer, completely unaffiliated with the Netflix project. Netflix has come out publicly and announced that it has nothing to do with Ms. Poe’s trailer.

I choose to still get excited, however.

My introduction to Snicket’s books came in the best possible way. I was perusing a bookstore in Salem, Massachusetts. A bookstore that was literally floor to ceiling with books. Books on every surface, books on every corner, books crammed into every available space. It’s a beautiful place. Suddenly, I spied a small stack of books, only six were available at the time, and I have to admit I judged the book by its cover. The delicious artwork by Brett Helquist, the size and feel of the books, the texture of the pages, the artistry of their physical design. I was overjoyed to discover that the words inside were just as meticulous and beautiful as the outer cover. For the next few years, I devoured the world of the Baudelaire orphans, and, along with countless children around the globe, learned some new vocabulary, and obtained a deeper appreciation for Volunteer Fire Departments.

I was utterly disappointed with the Jim Carrey adaptation. While it grasped some of the feeling of the universe created by Snicket, it did not reach for the nuances, and it blustered through story lines that were far too delicious to be hurried. I left the theater knowing that the subsequent books would never see a movie outing, and only feeling sad to not experience more of Jude Law as the incomparable Snicket.

But a television series? Television can do for story and detail what movies cannot, unless you are Peter Jackson, of course. It can create whole universes in thirty minute increments, conjure up alternate realities in between commercial breaks, and break your hearts just in time for bedtime. This trailer excites me. Not because it comes directly from the studio behind the forthcoming series, not because it gives a glimpse into the story artists busily weaving Snicket’s words into screenplay, but because it reminds me of the things I loved about the books in the first place, and I can live in hope once more that a screen adaptation will be worthy of the ink on paper that I so cherish.