Of all the children's books series that didn't deserve to have cruddy movie adaptations, A Series of Unfortunate Events is perhaps Hollywood's greatest victim. The 2004 Dreamworks take on Daniel Handler's (pen name Lemony Snicket) cult classic series about the harrowing lives of the three Baudelaire orphans could have been great — dark, smart, funny — but was mostly just weird and hurried, and paid far too much attention to its poorly cast leads (Jude Law as Snicket, and Jim Carrey as the villainous Count Olaf).
The film also covered material from only the first three books, and seemed to promise sequels that never materialized on the big screen. But Netflix announced in November that the series would indeed be coming back: the company was developing a television adaptation under its "Original Series" banner, with far more participation from Handler than the film received.
This trailer was uploaded yesterday morning to a YouTube account registered to "Eleanora Poe," the editor of a fictitious newspaper called the The Daily Punctilio, who notoriously fires Snicket (the series' narrator) for writing a bad review of a play penned by one of the series' many dozen bad guys.
Updated 7/6/15 11:37 AM: A representative from Netflix told EW that the company was not responsible for the teaser trailer. Regardless, it looks great, and certainly renewed the buzz, which has understandably died down in the eight months we've gone without an announcement of any details.
Here are the book references we spotted in the gorgeous, albeit fake, teaser:
The first three seconds are pretty much a vintage Fallout 4 trailer, but it only goes up from there.
These grubby dishes are coated in some kind of pasta — presumably the pasta puttanesca that the Baudelaire orphans are forced to cook for Count Olaf in the first book, The Bad Beginning.
This little guy is obviously a leech from Lake Lachrymose, the setting of the third book, The Wide Window.
Here we have Klaus Baudelaire's glasses, as well as a book on arson, which is the felony of choice for villains and conflicted heroes alike throughout the series. The book on the top of the pile also sports the symbol for the secret organization, VFD. "Starting fires" and "putting out fires" are going to be important shorthand for the factions within that group, but the books don't delve much into its history until book 12, The Penultimate Peril.
The "Lucky Smells Lumber Mill" needlepoint, as well as The Paltryville Constitution pictured here are props from book four, The Miserable Mill, while the stuffed crow is almost definitely a call-out to book seven, The Vile Village, which takes place in a town overrun by the foreboding birds.
Mushroom Minutiae is pulled directly from book 11, The Grim Grotto, in which the Baudelaire orphans consult a mysteriously authored text on mushrooms and fungus in order to save themselves from some nasty lung spores. Also pictured: a bellhop hat from the Hotel Denouement, the setting of book 12, The Penultimate Peril.
This shot is all book one, featuring Violet Baudelaire's marriage certificate, the book on nuptial law that she used to nullify it, and her signature hair ribbon. But the cameo locket also looks strikingly similar to the cover of Handler's supplementary book, The Beatrice Letters, which has direct relevance only to book 13, The End.
The trailer ends with a shot of a typewriter (which we can only hope and pray will not be operated by Jude Law this time around) and the Netflix logo, the main reason that the internet thought this teaser was all but confirmed as real. Alas, this is just another unfortunate event.
The intended audience for this show, in Handler's own words: "A family with children of assorted ages ranging from first grade to graduate school. They make popcorn and pull out the sofa bed and lounge around watching something interesting on television. They have some flecks of Japanese seaweed that they sprinkle on their popcorn."
Updated 7/6/15 11:37 AM to include statement from Netflix