The Austere Academy: Part One
The Austere Academy: Part Two
The Ersatz Elevator: Part One
The Ersatz Elevator: Part Two
The Vile Village: Part One
The Vile Village: Part Two
The Hostile Hospital: Part One
The Hostile Hospital: Part Two
The Carnivorous Carnival: Part One
The Carnivorous Carnival: Part Two
With five miserable two-part tales spread across 10 episodes, the continuing misfortune of the Baudelaire orphans is chronicled in depressing fashion through the duration of A Series Of Unfortunate Events’ second season. An inspired Neil Patrick Harris continues to shine as the villainous Count Olaf and there’s just enough plot advancement here to avoid the second season outstaying its welcome, especially with the extra couple of episodes this year.
Picking up where it left off before, the second season begins with the orphans Violet (Malina Weissman), Claude (Louis Hynes) and Sunny (Presley Smith) awaiting their fate at The Austere Academy. With Count Olaf and his evil crew still at large, the orphans learn of the mysterious Quagmire Triplets, Duncan (Dylan Kingwell) and Isadora (Avi Lake) whose story mirrors their own tragedy-stricken past. Desperately searching for answers to what happened to their parents and just what the mysterious letters V.F.D. mean, the two sets of orphans are driven from one terrible place to the next, trying to avoid Count Olaf and his despicable schemes to steal the children’s inheritance. As the series grows closer to its climactic finale, it is a little disappointing to see another cliffhanger ending this year but thankfully it doesn’t detract too much from the overall appeal of this season.
A Series Of Unfortunate Events stays faithful to the familiar format inherent in the books again, shaking up the content of each tale just enough to avoid the format growing monotonous. Each of the 10 episodes begin with Lemony Snicket (Patrick Warburton) glumly narrating the misfortune of the Baudelaires, pleading viewers to stop watching before it’s too late. The rest of the episode sees heaps of misery dumped on the Baudelaires (and the Quagmires) as the exasperated orphans find themselves trying to thwart Count Olaf’s plans as he jumps from one audacious costume to the next, fooling everyone around him with his hilarious accents in an effort to steal the children’s fortune.
Like last year, the tone of A Series Of Unfortunate Events is perfectly balanced throughout the series. There’s just enough humour and dry wit here to avoid the series growing too dark and some incredulous slapstick violence to help balance out the more intense moments. The set design, world building and overall mood in this second season are all excellent with just enough character progression to justify the extra couple of episodes this year.
Once again A Series Of Unfortunate Events is one of the best family-friendly TV series on Netflix right now. With a tonally sound 10 episodes and enough plot progression to keep things interesting, A Series Of Unfortunate Events manages to tailor its episodes to both adults and older children giving it an impressively broad target audience. With an inspired Neil Patrick Harris at his charismatic best and some brilliant acting all round, A Series Of Unfortunate Events continues its impressive run with another bleak and misery-inducing series well worth watching even if it does end on another big cliffhanger.
Verdict - 8.5/10