Parent reviews for A Series of Unfortunate Events

Common Sense says

Exceptional, spooky book adaptation is best for tweens.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 63 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 262 reviews
Parent of a 16-year-old Written byJWilliams303 January 13, 2017

As a fan, I warn you not to watch this show!

If you too are a fan, I hope you got that reference and that I don't actually mean that...It's so great to see the Baudelaires, and even Count Olaf, once again! A Series of Unfortunate Events were books that I loved reading growing up (aside from Harry Potter and the Narnia books). I ended up reading the books again when I heard about Netflix bringing the books to life. I did love the film adaption that came out in 2005, but sadly they never finished the series. Now that they brought it to Netflix and smartly making a couple books for each season, we'll be able to see the whole series played out on screen. From how the first season is, they have each book put into two episodes (8 episodes for this season from the first 4 books). I was hoping since they were making each book into two episodes, they would bring more of the book to life and not cut shortly like the movie did (understandably). To my delight, they are very spot on with the books! Not only did they stick with what the books did, but they also chose a great cast; the Baudelaires, Mr. Poe, Count Olaf, his troop, and even Lemony Snicket, our humble narrator, who is portrayed by Patrick Warburton. It's a little dark humored for some younger kids but nothing too grim. The series is known for its dark humor and its overwhelming tone, and it plays that very well. Even Mr. Snicket warns the audience about the story he tells and what all to watch out for when it comes to the Baudelaires. This is a must see for fans and newcomers alike!

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Parent Written byKristina D. April 5, 2018

Season 2 not good for younger kids!

OK, I have signed up for Common sense media just to write this one review. My kids loved the first season. A little spooky but not really too bad. But season 2! Spoilers- there is talk of burning people at the stake, scary hospitals with rusty medical tools and almost cutting off the head of one of the main characters. The Hostile Hospital episode reminded my husband and I of American Horror Story!! Just know that Season 2 is NOT equivalent to Season 1 as far as age appropriateness!

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byUncle_Tai December 18, 2017

Might be too creepy for young kids

An excellent adaptation of the well-loved book series. It's great for the whole family, though some scenes may be distressing for your young children. Specifically, one episode has a scene that shows a corpse with a discolored eye and skin, which may be particularly disturbing to young viewers. Other than that, violence is minimal. A knife is brandished threateningly, and the villain chases the children with it, though no violence ensues. Overall, this is a great show with humor teens and up will appreciate.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 10-year-old Written byRobin S. April 10, 2018

Started out well, second season is disappointing

My kids age 10, 14, and 17 all enjoyed the first season and I was so pleased to find something that was appropriate and entertaining we could watch as a family. When the second season was available, I expected more of the same. So disappointed with the direction they went. Numerous sexual induendos and frequent alcohol use takes this from fun to uncomfortable and no longer a family show.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Parent of a 10-year-old Written bychildinhisimage March 4, 2017

Way too dark - and creepy references to inappropriate adult/child relationships

This show is very dark. My husband and I watched the first two episodes. In these two episodes alone, there are several references to inappropriate adult/child relationships. For example, in episode 1, one of Olaf's friends/henchmen say, "Aren't you a pretty little girl?" in a very insinuating creepy way to the girl baby, Sonny. It was very creepy and concerning.
In episode 2, it becomes apparent that Count Olaf has a secret plan to legally marry Violet, who is only 14 years old. It is clear that he wants to marry her to gain the children's fortune. However, there are a few instances where he calls her "pretty" while referencing the upcoming marriage. It isn't just that he calls her pretty, but there is an implication in the way he says it. Also, at one point, Count Olaf tells the brother "I can touch whatever I want," and then he pointedly puts his hand on Violet's shoulder. Again, there is an implication there. Overall, we found it way too dark and inappropriate for even us to continue watching, let alone our children. Parents, please exercise caution with this show.
Adult Written byCori M April 7, 2018

Watch out in season 2

Count Olaf squeezes the breast of a male dressed as a woman, for an obvious amount of time, and the scene focuses on this for the long 8 seconds, while hoping your young child doesn’t notice. This world is full of groping men, why put this in a children’s tv show?!?

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Adult Written byRebecric19 July 24, 2020

Pay close attention as episodes go on

It’s a good series in general.

This series started out good for kids I Nanny ages 6,6 8 and 10. However as we moved into season two became concerning. Second or first episode count Olaf slaps the young boy (which since I was aware of part fast forwarded through that) I felt it was unnecessary to show a “body“ in season finale. They could just say he “left a mysterious note” and disappears and make it obvious for the older kids that it was count Olaf that was behind it. I was able to tell the younger children that all the guardians of the baudelaires that were killed off were in a secret plot together and faked their own deaths to hide from the villain and they seemed good with that explanation. They did a good job of insinuating he was a drunk without stating anything obvious.

As for season two it was so in appropriate. A joke about how he “didn’t know if he prefers her mucous or her membrane” was so gross and out of place obviously went over kids head entirely. We skipped the creepy hospital episodes entirely and ended out watching there as I knew the creepy chasing in the dark halls of hospital and threat to cut of violets head would be too scary. I also thought the “remember you will die” slogan of the academy was morbid for young kids and they repeat it like a billion times in the show to ensure its one of those things kids will parrot....

All in all I really wanted this show to work because it promote values of kindness, working together for what is right, learning and problem solving and has the parts where the narrator explains nuanced language, idioms , grammar and advanced vocab for the audience. Neil Patrick Harris does a great job of portraying a villain with just enough of a threat but hamming it up for the younger audience until the hospital episodes. If you really want to still watch, Prescreen each episode carefully and DEFINITELY watch together to provide guidance which is fine because the episodes are enjoyable enough from an adult perspective . Not something you would want to set them up with while attending to other chores.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Violence & scariness
Adult Written bytitedog April 5, 2020

A Series of Unfortunate Events: A Dark Paradox

A Series of Unfortunate Events is truly a masterpiece. Note that this show does contain some mature-ish themes, but it is pretty tame.

I personally have never read the books, but the show is about 3 orphans in the "Baudelaire" family, who's house was burnt down, and their parents were killed. A man who is a friend of the parents, known as Count Olaf, who wants to pursue a career in acting, but is also in a secret society known as VFD.

Count Olaf takes them in, and seems like an okay man, but is soon to be revealed a terrible person. The Baudelaire's eventually escape him, but he finds them everywhere they go, always with a new disguise (which are hilariously awful).

I don't want to spoil too much, but i've already watched the show once, and during this rough time i'm watching it again. It is a little dark for a PG show, but i'm into dark shows, so this really appeals to me. Neil Patrick Harris (the actor for Count Olaf), is such a great actor, and I love his performance throughout this series! Now, enough talk, go watch it for youself!

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written bylyd.tich November 6, 2019

super mysterious, love it!

I read some of the books and i love the plot twists whenever i finish one book i can't wait until library time at school to get the next one! A bit 10+ but 9 year olds would love it too! Great show!

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byGodfreyVee July 20, 2020

Racist undertones

I watched all 3 seasons and I think this has too many racist undertones. Stereotypes & depicts blacks as ignorant. It left me wondering where did the writers grow up and who raised them! This is not the type of show I want my children exposed to!

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult Written byjustagiantdork June 12, 2020

Way too dark for little ones

I grew up loving this book series. I was 7 when I read them, and looking back on it I was too young to. This series should have never been rated PG imo. It literally has murder, sexual content and a lot of dark stuff. The books are great and the series as a whole is amazing but it’s not for kids

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Parent of a 12 and 13-year-old Written byCheriBaby2215 May 9, 2021

Sneakily Inappropriate

Though the constant play on words is fun, they slip in much adult content and gestures. I'm disappointed they felt the need to do that and make it undesirable to share with kids.

Examples:
- Motioning zipping up pants for abstinence.
- Something about not "disturbing a married couple and a man turning tricks."
- Comments about bananas and penetration.
- Many comments and scenes with cross dressing and being gender-questionable.
- Trying to bribe or distract with sexual advances and innuendo.
- Slurring words and acronyms to say things like "F U" without coming right out and saying it.
- Drinking and getting drunk, drugging people, suggestions to kill oneself (by noose in a jail cell).

The list goes on....
I can't believe not a single person mentioned these things in the ratings, so that the main page says sexual content, violence, smoking drugs, etc, are "not present."

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult Written byJustin Gonzales April 4, 2020

Worst series ever

Jim Carrey would have been better in this series as he was in the movie Neil Patrick Harris plays the worst count olaf ever it was a very big disappointment
Parent Written byTamiebonto July 18, 2019

Dont, "Look away!" Lol, you'll get it if you listen to the theme song. Pretty good

Pretty good. Can be kinda gruesome though.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Parent of a 10-year-old Written byCare86 July 14, 2019

Hard to find appropriate shows to watch with my 10 year old

My daughter and I love watching this when my younger two are asleep. Entertaining for adults and 10 year olds!
Adult Written byScattegorized January 30, 2019

If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - L.Snicket

This TV show is easily one the finest pieces of tv production I've ever seen. Its wits, humor and visual splendor can inspire, entertain and educate kids and adults alike ( oh and there are plentiful of educational snippets disguised as colorful plot streams carrying the story along ). The relationship of the siblings is refreshingly one of utter most kindness and respect ( something the young viewers with siblings can certainly find encouraging, to say the least ). The fantastical story does have its eerie moments which adds a pinch of delightful goosebumps to the entire equation. I don't recommend it for young kids. This is a treat best enjoyed by brainy kids ( and adults who still remember how to be kids ), 10+.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written bylapc4 May 21, 2019

Not the Usual History

If you are going to see this serie you need to know before hand that it's not a happy history where the main characters live happily ever after, but is a tragic history disguised as a children tale. Even if it looks like it's made for children, in my view it has a lot of references that only an adult is able to understand. The developing of the drama is very good, intriguing, entertaining and gripping. All in all, it's not the kind of usual family series you would watch together, but I feel that that's what makes it good.
Adult Written byRobert K. April 7, 2018

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 9 and 11-year-old Written byheather13 June 1, 2017

Great retelling

My 11-year-old has read all of the books and seen several film variations of the series and said this one is excellent. It varies a bit from the series, however as a parent who hasn't read any of the books I've found it fantastically funny and very interesting. I actually look forward to the next episode. My 8-year-old has found it to be a slight bit harder to watch although she's just recently begun reading the series. As far as redeeming qualities (other than entertainment value) there are plenty of new definitions that are introduced, and we've expanded upon the elements that are discussed in the series (like "dramatic irony"). All in all I've found it to be quite fun and very much in line with the level of violence (which is not exceptionally gory although people die) that one would expect from the books.
Adult Written byOwain.Davies December 14, 2021

Uniquely dark but thoroughly enjoyable

This series is not only unfortunate, but unexpected.

In a world of saccharine children's programming, this is brilliantly subversive and just the right amount of dark.

There is death of major characters throughout (but its not graphic) and the themes are more challenging.

My eight and ten year old have loved it, and I've loved watching it with them.

It absolutely isn't for *all* eight year olds, or even all ten year olds, but more mature children, who are fans of things like Nightmare before Christmas, which is similarly slightly dark.

It has given some good talking points about the change from the black and white morality of small children to the slightly hazier morality as the characters grow up.

If your kids are comfortable with a range of emotions and the slightly darker themes, this is a great series.

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