Now in its second season, the story of the most unfortunate orphans in the world trying to evade the capture of Count Olaf hasn’t lightened the mood. It hasn’t provided a glimmer of hope. It hasn’t paused for laughter. But showrunner Barry Sonnenfeld said he isn’t worried about getting too gloomy.
“I think that there’s a good balance between darkness and comedy,” the Washington Heights native told the Daily News.
The humor is subtle, an over-the-top prop choice or an outlandish line, but the most hilarious aspect of the show remains the overt cluelessness of every adult on screen.
“What I love about the books and the series is that they posit that all adults, whether they mean well or are villains, are inept,” Sonnenfeld told The News. “Only children are capable and wonderful.”
The NYU grad who made his name on “The Addams Family,” the “Men in Black” trilogy and “Pushing Daisies” said he relishes the opportunity to be a “world creator.”
“We make whole towns and water and carnivals and a city block. We create this world where you don’t really know what year it takes place. The cars are all over the place, from the 1940s to a brand new Fiat 500. There are no electronics, no computers, no cell phones. Yet I wouldn’t call this a period piece,” he said.
“A Series of Unfortunate Events” has no defining characteristics: it doesn’t exist in a time or place, but rather simply exists.
“It’s a fairy tale, to a certain extent,” Sonnenfeld said.
Malina Weissman, who plays the eldest Baudelaire orphan, Violet, bounces between set and school with co-star Louis Hynes, who plays Klaus Baudelaire. Sometimes, she joked, they’ll come back from class to a different decade.
“It really helps to make your own world,” the 15-year-old New York native told The News. “You get to believe what you want to believe in.”
The Lemony Snicket novels, 13 books published between 1999 and 2006, focused on a specific narration style and relentless rollercoaster of hope and despair, an absurdist black comedy in which adults are useless or evil or both and children are left to fend for themselves. Sonnenfeld’s challenge was bringing a wordy text to life.
The first season of the Netflix show was a whirlwind of snakes and lakes and lumber mills. The second season, while just as gloomy, is brighter: Carmelita Spats’ pink dress and Esmé Squalor’s blindingly white pinstriped suit. Each prop, each diction, each costume seems intentional.
The guest stars, too, add to the fantastic world of “A Series of Unfortunate Events;” in season 2, Nathan Fillion, Tony Hale, Sara Rue, Lucy Punch, Roger Bart and Allison Williams all join the already impressive cast.
Some, Sonnenfeld said, knew the Snicket series from their own children. Others were drawn to the script.
Readers get their own takeaways from the depressingly dark tale of death and despair. They get a gloriously shot TV series. They get some of Neil Patrick Harris’ best work as the devilishly evil Count Olaf. And they get, hopefully, comfort in knowing the Baudelaire orphans always have it worse.
The second season of “A Series of Unfortunate Events” premieres on Netflix Friday.
On – 28 Mar, 2018 By Kate Feldman