Anticipation is high for the upcoming Netflix series A Series Of Unfortunate Events, in part because of Neil Patrick Harris taking on the role of Count Olaf. It looks like it's set to be a black, quirky sort of comedy, in much the same vein as the 2004 movie Lemony Snicket: A Series Of Unfortunate Events was. There has been quite a bit of publicity surrounding Neil Patrick Harris' appearance in the lead role as Count Olaf, and with good reason - the series looks like a huge delight.
There are several quirky, dark sorts of shows along the same line as the Netflix show A Series Of Unfortunate Events, and this should serve as great news for those fans of black comedies.
1. Haters Back Off, 2016 - ongoing
Colleen Ballinger, aka internet superstar #MirandaSings, stars in this original and satirical series meant to poke fun at egotistical performers who record themselves singing as a way of promoting themselves. Miranda Sings is a portrayal of how a painfully awkward teenage girl navigates the world around her and believes it's everyone else with issues, in much the same way as Count Olaf believes himself to be a true aristocrat and tries to portray himself as being a great guardian for the Baudelaire kids when in reality, he just wants the money associated with their family name and is a terrible guardian.
2. Trollhunters, 2016 - ongoing
It will be interesting to see what they do with this unique computer animated fantasy. #AntonYelchin of Star Trek fame was in the lead voice role as Jim Lake Jr., also known as Trollhunter. Given his untimely and tragic death last summer, there is little doubt that #Trollhunters showrunners will have to examine where they want the show to go. Regardless, Yelchin had recorded his voice work for at least one season, and it's great.
Created by the spectacular Guillermo del Toro and featuring voice work by such luminaries as Kelsey Grammer, Jonathan Hyde and Tom Hiddleston, Trollhunters features a del Toro standard: a supernatural world situated near, or in this case under, a human one. While the storylines do stray towards the generic at times, the supernatural elements that are so typical of del Toro's work make this a funny series fraught with enough darkly comic elements to appeal to both adults and kids alike.
3. Crazyhead, 2016-ongoing
For a blend of the darkly humorous and the supernatural, with some powerful female leads to boot, look no further than Crazyhead. The series focuses on Amy and Raquel, who are twentysomethings looking to make it through their 20s but also have to fight off demons through all their seemingly normal adventures. The thing is, almost everyone they are surrounded by are demons of one stripe or another, some of whom are intimately involved with the girls in various respects. The only one who is completely unaware of the demon hunting going on by the girls is Raquel's brother. This, of course, makes for some rather awkward and hilarious circumstances. There's a lot of #GirlPower happening with this series, so for some seriously empowered female leads who are looking to kick butt in the supernatural world, you'll want to check #Crazyhead out.
4. One Day At A Time, 2017-ongoing
OK, I know what you're thinking; how can a family-based comedy even remotely relate to a quirky, dark sort of series like A Series Of Unfortunate Events? What can be funnier than the relationships that go on within a family - particularly between a single mom and her well-meaning but somewhat stubborn mother? You'd be hard pressed to pass up the remake of Norman Lear's 1970s version of #OneDayAtATime; Rita Moreno plays Lydia who takes care of the house and her daughter Penelope's (Justina Machado) kids. At times funny, at times touching, this is a story all about relationships. While there are no supernatural elements to be found here, the relationships that exist between the characters are what provides the show's humor. The relationships in A Series Of Unfortunate Events provide much the same humor as the kids learn about Count Olaf and his real motivations.
5. Travelers, 2016-ongoing
No one executes dry humor like Eric McCormack of Will & Grace fame. In Travelers, McCormack plays the leader of a team of Travelers who inhabit the bodies of people in the moments before they die. The idea is that these #Travelers can prevent a societal collapse by doing so. Although Travelers is essentially billed as a science fiction television show, it's very light on the science end of things. That said, there are elements of the stereotypical "fish out of water" stories that also come into play during A Series Of Unfortunate Events as well as enough intrigue to keep viewers coming back.
6. Iron Fist, 2017-ongoing
There would be little argument that this new series from the juggernaut known as Marvel should be associated with shows that are similar to A Series Of Unfortunate Events. With some mysticism thrown in, Iron Fist is a series about Danny Rand, a young billionaire who, following the death of his parents, became adopted by Buddhist monks and ultimately got the power of the Iron Fist. There are elements of evil presented in the character of Harold Meachum, and various conflicts and alliances presented with Harold's two children, Joy and Ward, who have been in charge of Rand Enterprises until Danny's return. This is likely to cause a great many moments of sarcastic revelations, poignant memories and some out and out laughter throughout.
7. Gypsy, 2017-ongoing
Described as a psychological thriller that sees the main character, Jean Holloway (Naomi Watts), take on "dangerous and intimate relationships with the people in her patients' lives," this is a series sure to pack plenty of punch as far as the plotlines go. Showrunner and scribe Lisa Rubin, who is a relative newcomer to the scene, seems to promise a show with tight plotlines and sharp humor. Rubin is also working on a film adaptation of I Was Here, the novel by Gayle Forman about a young woman's suicide and the ensuing investigation by her best friend. Not much beyond that is known about the show, but with a heavyweight like Naomi Watts in the lead, there are sure to be very fortunate events ahead.
Fortunately, There Are Options
Netflix is proving itself to be ideal for those writers looking to capitalize on the recent craze of bringing beloved books to the small screen. Now, there are also other tautly written stories coming to the small screen that will prove themselves as sharp witted as A Series Of Unfortunate Events is.
Netflix's version of A Series Of Unfortunate Events bows today.