TV Binge: Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (Season 2, 2018)

It sure feels like a long time that I have been working on this TV Binge. A really long time! If you missed the Season 1 TV Binge post, you can find it HERE.

Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (Season 2, 2018)

a series of unfortunate events s2

Cast: Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, Presley Smith, K. Todd Freeman, Lucy Punch, Nathan Fillion, Sara Canning, Patrick Breen, Sara Rue

Stepping right off from Season 1, the Baudelaire Orphans now have gone through a bunch of odd guardians. Each one failing because of the horrible Count Olaf and his mischief or simply because they were some shady or clueless characters. Some cases even a mesh of the two components. It was filled with dark humor and a rather formulaic way of the Baudelaires always getting away. Entertaining as always but still the idea of the episodes always followed a same pattern. Unlike a lot of viewers, the first season took me a little while to get into. With where it left off in Season 1, this Netflix Original has established itself and its tone along with the characters so we should be in for a fun ride in Season 2.

Fortunately, we do get exactly that. Filled with more clever vocabulary lessons and random narration from Patrick Warburton in the oddest locations, the Baudelaires set off for a second season that is much more sinister and dangerous than the previous one. While the tone of the show hasn’t changed much, the events are more brutal. This is still a family show so the camera always cuts away from the potentially disgusting bits. Before we get ahead of ourselves too much, Season 2 covered Books 5 to 9 in the series: Austere Academy, Ersatz Elevator, Vile Village, Hostile Hospital and Carnivorous Carnival. Structured much like the first season, each book adaptation is separated into two parts. We get some new characters introduced (and in some cases, taken away). Honestly, I like this structure, it gives it a somewhat nice slice of moment. You can choose to binge watch the entire series if you want but you can also watch it like separate stories as the Baudelaires escape Count Olaf with less and less leeway leading to a nail-biting cliffhanger.

Overall, Season 2 is pretty strong. I got involved and immersed a lot quicker. It helps to see each of the characters grow more mature and smarter. The Baudelaires end up gaining a lot of coy and street smarts to pair with their natural intelligence. They each get their own spotlight, even little Sunny. The series remembers to be fair. As they get smarter, Count Olaf also devises much more intricate plans that give us surprises and each part as its own twists and turns that work to its advantage.

For things I loved/liked a lot in Season 2:

New Friends

A Series of Unfortunate Events

At the end of season 1, we stopped when we saw the Quagmires, now landing in the first six episode of this season. Quagmires and Baudelaires learn about their similarities and they are both brave and resourceful in their own ways. Call them the dynamic foursome if you will but the bonds they create in Austere Academy carries them to save these loyal friends for the next two stories in Ersatz Elevator and Vile Village. Its a nice change in pace to have them here. While most of the credit does go to following closely to the source materials pacing, it is nice to see these four work so well together. In these extreme situations, it is important to have allies.

New Villain

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Lucy Punch joins the villainous Count Olaf troupe  as the wealthy woman who is the student of Count Olaf and his girlfriend, Esme Squalor. She is packed with all kinds of accents and characters. Honestly, she is a joy to watch on screen. I’ve only seen her do weird odd roles in other movies before so its quite the breather to see her really embrace this role and take it in a wonderfully entertaining and wicked direction, especially in Hostile Hospital. She adds just a little bit of extra wickedness to Count Olaf which changes the game a little from the silly henchmen & henchwomen in his ragtag troop.

New VFD Members

a series of unfortunate events

VFD and a mysterious sugar bowl, along with the reveal of the narrator’s identity all get a part in Season 2. It adds depth and context as well as some answers to the million of questions stirring in our minds that are left unanswered for both the viewers and the Baudelaires. Nathan Fillion adds his charming self as Jacques Snicket who ends up recruiting Olivia Calaban, a librarian who tries to help the children and is smart enough to be suspicious. Olivia Calaban is a wonderful character played by Sara Rue and is eventually recruited into VFD. She has some of the answers but being new, she is more passionate about the mission that Jacques Snicket teaches her. They are a great team and as we learn about the VFD, we see that its a chase to figure out how everything pieces together.

New Locations

a series of unfortunate events

A Series of Unfortunate Events has been very location-based so far. In the first season, we had some incredibly imaginative locations belonging to an array of odd characters. In Season 2, we continue on with this trend. We see the Austere Academy and the orphan’s shack. In Ersatz Elevator, we move to a wealthy penthouse location as well as the various fishy (literally) restaurants. Then we move on to the Vile Village where crows migrate from one location to the next at a set routine. Hostile Hospital is a incomplete half hospital with one of its wings still in construction limbo and of course, the most fascinating of all, is the rundown circus of Madame Lulu’s Caligari Carnival. The production design and tone and lighting all add to the environment of the series.

Overall…I kept it quite to the point in this one. I still love the young cast playing the Baudelaire Orphans. They are fantastic. Neil Patrick Harris is great as Count Olaf. The success of Season 2 despite its episode formula is the depth of the story. We learn more, the characters develop further and the situation gets more dire and dangerous. It has all the great points of the first season and adds a little more, just enough to keep us curious but still unveiling a bit more to give the story some context. With the fantastic ending and the brilliant pacing in Season 2, I can’t wait for Season 3 (which should be the final season if they follow the progression of the books).

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Blog Tour: The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by Charlie Laidlaw (Review & Giveaway)

The Things We Learn When We’re Dead
by: Charlie Laidlaw

Things We Learn When We're Dead

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Humor
Publication Date: January 26, 2017

Synopsis

With elements of The Wizard of Oz, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Lovely Bones, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead shows how small decisions can have profound and unintended consequences, and how sometimes we can get a second chance.

On the way home from a dinner party, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions. It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident… Or does God have a higher purpose after all?

At first Lorna can remember nothing. As her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decision to make and that maybe she needs to find a way home. – Goodreads

Review

Leaning much more towards the contemporary fiction than humorous side for myself, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead works the best in its creative setting. Perhaps the best way to start is that The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is set up in a structure that takes us between the present state of after Lorna’s accident and waking up in a foreign place that she realizes is a spaceship called HVN and is run by a man calling himself God. How can you not stop to think about whether heaven is actually run by some alien life who is stranded in limbo and has the power to live for eternity. The constant question is whether this was the vision of her death or was this all in her head or maybe some other situations will come to mind as we also get Lorna’s significant moments in life that create a connection to the memories that are regenerating as the time passes by in heaven. In many ways, the story here is something of a character study in itself because of the focus pretty much solely on Lorna. Other characters, no matter how close, were simply passing through her life and things that affected or observed her choices. In that way, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead works very well. It actually achieves quite a few moments of where we get to see the little details of her pass sprinkle into the present people and locations that she visits in heaven.

However, where the story that fall a little bit apart is something of the overly descriptive spots or sometimes feeling like the past had way more focus and detail than it needed to have. It is the defining points of her life but sometimes it also failed to really see the importance of some of the people that kept recurring or simply situations that didn’t seem to matter so much. While that is the case, the writing and word choice is something that I haven’t seen in a while using some obscure things in comparison (at least in my opinion) and added that extra bit of detail and creativity that gives it merit. I guess what I’m saying is that the writing overall was very good but the story was a little overly long for its own good and as the book progressed to the end, the past events dominated over the present and it felt like it lingered a little bit too long and the balance of the two was lost on me.

Overall, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is a decent read. Its not exactly a page turner through and through but the creativity here deserves a lot of credit. Life is made up of our choices and how we choose to live our lives and in many ways, Lorna’s life story in all its detail is very honest and realistic. It might have dragged at certain parts but very few stories do hit those personal journeys with so much honesty and it works on that level. At least I was able to relate to some of her sentiments that she went through.

On a side note, the guy characters here have last names related to birds, “Bird, Dove, Crow”, it makes me wonder if there’s something more about freedom or something linked that I can’t find a connection to, or maybe I’m just overthinking it.

Goodreads score: 3/5

Purchase link: Amazon

About the Author

charlie laidlaw

I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault.  That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father.  That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.

I was brought up in the west of Scotland and graduated from the University of Edinburgh.  I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.

I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist.  I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics. I interviewed motorbike ace Barry Sheene, Noel Edmonds threatened me with legal action and, because of a bureaucratic muddle, I was ordered out of Greece.

I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries.  Highlights included being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, being given an armed bodyguard by the PLO in Beirut (not the same person with a gun), and visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa.  What I did for the rest of the year I can’t quite remember

Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then.  However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini.

Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve still to listen to Oh, Mein Papa.

I am married with two grown-up children and live in central Scotland. And that’s about it.

Twitter: @claidlawauthor
Facebook: charlielaidlawauthor
Website: www.charlielaidlawauthor.com

GIVEAWAY

2 Printed Copies of The Things We Learn When We’re Dead

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f35/?

Blog Tour organized by:

r&r book tours

Remy’s Dilemma by Andrew Snook

Remy’s Dilemma is another book that I picked up at Toronto Comicon last year. It has been sitting on my desk for a while in the TBR pile and I finally decided that it was time to start it.

Remy’s Dilemma
By: Andrew Snook

The world is coming to an end. That’s what Remy Delemme believes, anyways. While double-checking his lifelong to-do list to ensure he has led a rich life, he realizes he hasn’t come close to completing his goals. Panicked and short on time, Remy embarks on a chaotic road trip to complete the most important item on his bucket list – finding the answer to man’s greatest question. There’s just one problem. Detective Tobias Gray, the most respected criminal profiler in the Toronto Police Department, thinks Remy is a serial killer; and he’s not the only one who has come to that conclusion. Armed with a green crayon, smiley-faced stamp and a pack of cigarettes in a race against time, Remy carves a path of hilarious destruction, baffling and infuriating the police, his government and every other person he encounters. – Goodreads

From start to finish, Remy’s Dilemma is odd. Its so very odd. It all dials down to Remy’s character and all the things that happen around him that are both out of this world and unexpected. Sometimes it was purely nonsensical. However, while it did take a while to adapt to the oddities of the story, once you do, it is quite a mesmerizing read if not to just see what happens to Remy and how he manages to achieve his bucket list before the end of the world. To be honest, reading this book reminded me a bit of when I read Mailman by J. Robert Lennon.

Being in Canada all my life, its hard to not feel a little more connected to this book. The author Andrew Snook does a great job at setting up this alternate reality or maybe a future scenario of Canada being broken down where the province of Quebec has finally broken apart from Canada and turned into their own countries. Only those quite familiar with the situation will feel the connections of it all which somewhat adds on to the absurdities of what this book gives to the readers, especially when you consider that his lifelong to-do list might seem quite normal but then he manages to tick off a few of these boxes on his little road trip and for a few categories multiple times. The structure of the book follows both Remy and Detective Tobias Gray both having their own ways of measuring their progress be in figuring out the suspect or getting closer to doing everything on the bucket list.

As silly and as crazy as this road trip with Remy becomes, the story never forgets to shed a little bit of a deeper light on its main character. As the story pulls to the ending, we start seeing something of a glimpse of what perhaps motivates Remy even if it is in somewhat of an unrealistic way. Why would this be realistic when almost everything else that has happened to him also is quite unrealistic and fairly nonsensical. Remy is a very colorful character full of weird decisions and its almost like he’s the guy who walks around and explosions follow him in those CGI heavy movies. Of course, while Remy is an intriguing character, the book is full of other characters like Tobias Gray who also has quite some depth to his character and brings some more serious vibes to the story. However, the story is also scatter with this cameos of characters that Remy encounters that all have their entertaining aspects.

Remy’s Dilemma takes a little getting used to its oddities at the start but it is also these oddities that escalate during the story that makes it a page-turner. Its a fast read. However, its setting might prove to be a little more welcoming to Canadians (particularly living in Ontario and Quebec). However, the geographic story doesn’t quite make that much of a difference here as the characters and scenarios more than makes up for all the entertaining elements. I can’t help to think that Remy’s Dilemma might not be for everyone as it is a rather dark humor sort of story and humor is quite subjective to everyone.

Where Do I Start? The Secrets of Happy People :)

Happy Saturday everyone! 🙂

How was the past week for you?

Mine has been a bit all over the place.  It was calm for the most part, which is good.  Yesterday (Friday) turned out to be quite hectic and nerve-wracking.  Our plans had to be swapped around and I went for the “x” amount of times this year to check up on another emergency. As I type this, I’m on call if I need to go out to help out and waiting on the news which we should get some time today.  Its never good to be caught in these sudden situations.

But hey, you know me? Its the weekend after all! There’s lots of stuff to do and I survived another week, didn’t I? There are so many things to do today and I just don’t know where to start? How about changing it that negative I started out with and putting in a positive by sharing a video I just watched last night when I got home from all the chaos from PopSugar TV called The Secrets of Happy People?

I’m sure we can all use some of that! Amazingly, I do agree with every bit of that and I try to do most of what they say.  Granted, I don’t write down what I’m grateful for but I think about it every time something bad happens.

With that said, if you have been following me, I’ve been in the 90210 binge watch phase and you can read about that frustration I had THIS silly post! On that same night, I stayed up late and finished up the series! Totally worth it because for once, it was such a feel-good vibe. As empty as a lot of these teen drama series are, they are a coming of age and nothing gets better than watching one which  made me feel that they all grew up and wraps up everything nicely. They even had some awesome quotes like this:

naomi 90210

And when we aren’t sure if we can keep fighting? Here’s we do:

90210 dixon silver finale

You reach deeper until you find the strength. That’s all life is. Its just one big fight after another….you fight and you keep fighting until you can’t fight anymore and when you can’t, we’ll be there to lift you up and carry you.-Dixon, 90210

You know what I love about these series is that solid friendship even through all the crazy.  It can get touching but thats probably because I’m tired and sappy.  Plus, I got hormonal imbalance all the time! Oops, wasn’t supposed to say that, right? Anyways, I am going through the normal process of withdrawal from a series ending…maybe in another 10-15 years, they’ll give us a spin-off but with the same cast with their families with with more focus from the adult cast also 😉

Moving on! I have a good number of movies lined up this weekend to get a lot more recommendations reviews ready for next week 🙂 I already finished two and just need to write the actual reviews! I’m going to leave which ones for the surprise element  😉 Plus, I have to get a movie watched and reviewed for a blogathon! Busy weekend, right? AND BAKING hopefully 😉 I just bought this awesome recipe book and I can’t wait to try it out!

Betty Crocker's The Big Book of Cupcakes!

Betty Crocker’s The Big Book of Cupcakes!

Well, on the note of new acquisitions, I’ve been waiting for this new scarf at my favorite shop, Dynamite and they didn’t have the scarf I wanted, but I fell in love with a new one and at the same time, bought a new top that looked totally adorable!

20130824_162417 20130824_162514

Now I’m all ready to go out for a night out with my girl friends 🙂

Before I end this, you know what else I love? Public proposals! I’m going to share another very happy video of Phil DeFranco’s surprise proposal.  That was totally awesome!

These videos always make me smile.  I can sit there all day and watch this and it’ll just make me so happy.  Since I follow his YouTube show, it feels even more familiar and making this even happier moment 🙂 I don’t know him personally but hey, as weird as it may be, thats just how I am.

So much rambling in this post but thats my secret to being happy also 🙂

Hopefully something there put a smile on your face! 🙂

Are you already doing what they said about the secrets of happy people?  Getting ready for fall clothes yet (even if its still early)? What TV series are you obsessing over or just finished?

HAVE AN AWESOME WEEKEND WITH LOTS OF SMILES 🙂 🙂 🙂