10: Transmedia Storytelling and A Series of Unfortunate Events

My favorite book series as a child was A Series Of Unfortunate Events. I rememberĀ thinking about how I was going to solve the mystery that was VFD and figure out the relationship between Beatrice and the books’ author Lemony Snicket. Some may relate to my love for the series and some may find it to be too depressing and boring. Regardless the series is still an example of transmedia.

There are thirteen books in the series. It also has a prequel series called All The Wrong Questions, as well as two companion books, Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Biography and The Beatrice Letters. In 2004 it was turned into a movie, starring Jim Carey, whether or not you think that was a good representation of the book is up to you. The movie spawned a video game which was available for PlayStation 2, GameCube, Game Boy Advance, XBox, and PC systems. As many of you may know, it was also turned into a Netflix show, which, to me, is way better than the movie. This franchise may not be as involved as The Little Mermaid, mentioned in Emily’s post, but it still involves multiple mediums in order to tell one compelling mystery.

Netflix Series










Like the Matrix, an example used by Henry Jenkins in his book Convergence Culture to explain transmedia, A Series of Unfortunate Events was too complex of a story in order to be told through just the initial series. The companion books and the prequel help explain the underlying mystery of the author, something that couldn’t have been done in the thirteen books alone. I can’t speak for the video game, but I do know the movie did nothing to explain the story further; however, it did allow me to see Jim Carey as Count Olaf. Even though the movie didn’t help the story, it did bring the characters to life in a new way. The Netflix show does a wonderful job of portraying the story in a new way and provides some explanation to much of the mystery surrounding it. Like the movie, it puts the characters in new perspective.