On the heels of Netflix’s family-friendly original series “Stranger Things” comes the first look at the streaming service’s adaptation of a beloved series of children’s books.
In its original iteration “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” was a series of 13 books, narrated by Lemony Snicket (the pen name of Daniel Handler) that told the tale of the three orphaned Baudelaire children who are left to their evil relative Count Olaf after their parents perish in a fire.
The first look at Netflix’s handiwork only shows the visage of Lemony Snicket, as portrayed by “Seinfeld” alum Patrick Warburton, who seems to be doing his best Don Draper impression as he strolls through the quiet set of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” delivering a twisty monologue that implores the audience to stay away from the series for their own good.
“Avoid the cruel whimsy and whimsical cruelty of what’s to come,” Warburton deadpans into the camera, holding a beat and then promptly turning and walking off set.
The deserted set that Warburton meanders through delivering his monologue is just that: whimsical. A soundstage full of lights and weatherbeaten buildings, an old taxi cab and a crate inexplicably labeled “VERY FLAMMABLE DANDELIONS,” presumably because it contains dandelions that are very flammable, create an ambience of slightly mystical otherworldliness and a much needed dose of magical realism.
But while Warburton is the only series cast member shown in the teaser, he’s not the only cast member featured: Midway through his speech about the low morale suffered by the crew while witnessing the tale of the Baudelaire orphans, he is interrupted by a voice joyously singing off-screen.
That voice? Neil Patrick Harris. And what is Harris’ involvement in the series? Why, he’s playing Count Olaf.
It’s quite a tantalizing peek into the world of “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” with a somber Warburton, a giddy, villainous Neil Patrick Harris and lush designs to boot.
“Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” premieres on Netflix on Jan. 13, 2017.