Netflix not only offers the some of the best book-to-film adaptations, it also creates them. Making a book into an original series has been a hugely successful venture of Netflix, producing uncensored, highly binge-able shows like Orange is the New Black or Hemlock Grove. The authors and fans of the books are elated at the Netflix originals because they stick to the original material of the book. This is likely why author Lemony Snicket decided to trust Netflix with his iconic A Series of Unfortunate Events books.
Hemlock Grove was a dark, horror-thriller novel rife with gypsies and werewolves, written by Brian McGreevy in 2012. Before it was released, Netflix was interested in making the ultra gory, ultra sexy story of the clash and strange friendship of a dirt-poor werewolf and an affluent pseudo-vampire into a series without the censorship that the usual means of distribution enforce. In 2011, Netflix reportedly ordered a thirteen-episode series based on McGreevy’s yet to be released book. When the show was released in 2013, McGreevy signed on as a main developer and executive producer, believing that TV was more willing to go into edgier subjects than movies. McGreevy was also happy that the episodes were shot seamlessly. With Netflix, there are no commercial breaks. The series stuck closely to the graphic canon of the book, each episode near-correlating with a chapter. However, the book ended with the first season. Netflix continued into a second season, again with McGreevy heavily influencing the direction, and are now promising a third and final season.
It’s easy then to see why Lemony Snicket chose Netflix to adapt his own lengthy series into a show. You might recall the 2004 Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events movie featuring Jim Carrey harassing the Baudelaire orphans as the dastardly Count Olaf, which received favorable reviews all around. Despite this, Daniel Handler‘s (Snicket) screenplay was thrown out, as fans of the books recognized. Handler is famous for making snide comments during the DVD commentary, not exactly excited about the liberties taken with his original work.
Netflix has already promised that Handler will work closely with the writers, serving as executive producer of the family-friendly series, thus we can expect to see material that is true to the original, or at least approved by the creator of the books, which in the end is the ultimate stamp of approval.