- Megan Bingham
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The Bad Beginning (Book One in A Series of Unfortunate Events)
After the sudden death of their parents, the three Baudelaire children must depend on each other and their wits when it turns out that the distant relative who is appointed their guardian is determined to use any means necessary to get their fortune. Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are intelligent children. They are charming, and resourceful, and have pleasant facial features. Unfortunately, they are exceptionally unlucky. Imagine tales so terrible that as many as fifty million innocents have been ruined by them-tales so indelibly horrid that the New York Times bestseller list has been unable to rid itself of them for seven years. Now imagine if this scourge suddenly became available in a shameful new edition so sensational, so irresistible, so riddled with lurid new pictures that even a common urchin would wish for it. Who among us would be safe?
A Series of Unfortunate Events is an American black comedy-drama television series from Netflix, developed by Mark Hudis and Barry Sonnenfeld, based on the children's novel series of the same name by Lemony Snicket. It stars Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, K. Todd Freeman, and Presley Smith. The first season, which premiered on January 13, 2017, consists of eight episodes and adapts the first four books of the series. The series was renewed for a second season in March 2017, intended to consist of ten episodes that adapt books five through nine of the novel series, and was renewed for a third season a month later, which is expected to adopt the remaining four books. The second season is scheduled to be released on March 30, 2018. See the trailer below.
Rotten Tomatoes reports that 92% of critics have given the season a positive review based on 37 reviews, with an average score of 8.2/10. The site's consensus: "Enjoyably dark—A Series of Unfortunate Events matches the source material's narrative as well as its tone, leaving viewers with a wonderfully weird, dry, gothic comedy." According to Metacritic, the series holds an average rating of 81, based on 21 reviews, which indicates "universal acclaim."¹
Read the other twelve in the series:
Season 1 (plus The Bad Beginning) (2017)
Season 2 (2018)
Season 3 (2019)
If you enjoyed the TV and book series A Series of Unfortunate Events, you may enjoy these similar titles for children, teens, and adults.
For Children and Teens:
The Beatrice Letters by Lemony Snicket
Presents a collection of correspondence between the elusive Lemony Snicket and the mysterious Beatrice.
The Door by the Staircase by Katherine Marsh
Happy to be adopted, at last, twelve-year-old orphan Mary Hayes soon learns a terrifying secret about her new mother, the mysterious Madame Z.
The League of Beastly Dreadfuls by Holly Grant
Anastasia, nearly eleven, is snatched from her elementary school and sent to live at a former insane asylum with two great-aunts she had never met after being told that her parents died in a tragic vacuum cleaner accident.
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
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The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place)
Fifteen-year-old Miss Penelope Lumley, a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, is hired as governess to three young children who have been raised by wolves and must teach them to behave in a civilized manner quickly, in preparation for a Christmas ball.
Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye by Tania Del Rio
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Who Could That Be at This Hour? by Lemony Snicket
Thirteen-year-old Lemony Snicket begins his apprenticeship with S. Theodora Markson of the secretive V.F.D. in the tiny dot of a town called Stain'd By The Sea, where he helps investigate the theft of a statue.
The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry
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The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
When her parents leave Willoughby Chase for a sea voyage, Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia are left in the cruel care of Miss Slighcarp. Together with Simon the Gooseboy, they make a daring escape, but they must find a way to wrest Willoughby Chase from Miss Slighcarp's evil clutches.
An Arsonist's Guide to Writers' Homes in New England by Brock Clarke
A lot of remarkable things have happened in the life of Sam Pulsifer, the hapless hero of this incendiary novel, beginning with the ten years he spent in prison for accidentally burning down Emily Dickinson's house and unwittingly killing two people. Emerging at age twenty-eight, he creates a new life and identity as a husband and father. But when the homes of other famous New England writers suddenly go up in smoke, he must prove his innocence by uncovering the identity of this literary-minded arsonist.
The Arsonist by Sue Miller
Troubled by the feeling that she belongs nowhere after working in East Africa for fifteen years, Frankie Rowley has come home to the small New Hampshire village of Pomeroy and the farmhouse where her family has always summered. On her first night back, a house up the road burns to the ground. Then another house burns, and another, always the houses of the summer people. In a town where people have never bothered to lock their doors, social fault lines are opened, and neighbors begin to regard one another with suspicion.
The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell
Trying to keep the death of their parents a secret, Marnie and her little sister Nelly are on their own until several residents in Glasgow's Hazelhurst housing estate suspect that something is not right.
Gnomon by Nick Harkaway
In the world of Gnomon, citizens are ceaselessly observed and democracy has reached a pinnacle of "transparency." When suspected dissident Diana Hunter dies in government custody during a routine interrogation, Mielikki Neith, a trusted state inspector, is assigned to the case. Immersing herself in neural recordings of the interrogation, she finds a panorama of characters and events that Hunter gave life to in order to forestall the investigation: a lovelorn financier in Athens who has a mystical experience with a shark; a brilliant alchemist in ancient Carthage confronting the unexpected outcome of her invention; an expat Ethiopian painter in London designing a controversial new video game. In the static between these mysterious visions, Neith begins to catch glimpses of the real Diana Hunter—and, alarmingly, of herself, the staggering consequences of which will reverberate throughout the world.
John Dies at the End by David Wong
This may be the story of John and David, a drug called soy sauce, and other-worldly beings invading the planet. Or, it may be the story of two beer-drinking friends who live in an unnamed Midwestern town and only think something horrific is going on. But the important thing is, according to the narrator, "None of this is my fault."
Ten Dead Comedians by Fred Van Lente
Nine comedians of various acclaim arrive on the deserted island retreat of a legendary Hollywood funnyman, where they discover that they are marooned without cell phones or wifi and that someone in the group is killing the others.