Netflix released the eight-episode first season of Lemony Snicket‘s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” last month to critical acclaim and reportedly solid viewership numbers, their latest success in a fruitful Emmy eligibility cycle that has also yielded “The Crown” and “Stranger Things.” “The Crown” recently won the Golden Globe for Best Drama Series, while “Stranger Things” took the top drama awards from the Producers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild. With those two shows well on track to dominating the drama races at this summer’s Emmys, “A Series of Unfortunate Events” might be able to extend Netflix’s domination to the comedy categories — if it contends as a comedy.
Starring Neil Patrick Harris and Patrick Warburton, “A Series of Unfortunate Events” is the rare series that feasibly can be submitted as a drama, comedy or even a children’s series. Vote in the poll below for what you think is most appropriate.
With an average runtime of 48 minutes per episode, “A Series of Unfortunate Events” will be classified as a drama by default by the Emmys and must appeal to the TV academy to submit as a comedy. The academy has approved nearly every appeal, resulting in major comedy nominations for “Shameless,” but they infamously rejected Netflix’s bid for “Orange is the New Black” and made it classify as a drama beginning with its second season. Although “A Series of Unfortunate Events” boasts dry humor and exaggerated personalities as comedies do, murder and misfortune are also essential ingredients to the narrative, so the academy would not be unfounded to reject a potential appeal.
Netflix referred to “Orange is the New Black” as a “comedic drama” in early press releases, which muddied the waters when it came time to decide where to submit the show for awards. Learning from that debacle, Netflix has exclusively referred to “A Series of Unfortunate Events” in press releases simply as “a series,” omitting any reference to perceived genre.
The Netflix streaming website itself does categorize “A Series of Unfortunate Events” in three genres (drama, children’s, period piece), but not comedy. That Netflix sooner categorized the series as a period piece, despite its ostensible present-day setting and references to modern technology, suggests that Netflix might not have any intention to campaign it as a comedy.
Perhaps they submit it for Best Children’s Program instead. Not only is the series about children, but it is an adaptation of a series of books by Lemony Snicket for children. The series is considerably light in tone for its dark subject matter and Netflix has kept it to a PG rating by foregoing coarse language and gore. Although they submitted “Degrassi” last year, Netflix is yet to be nominated for Best Children’s Program, so this might be the best avenue for Netflix to maximize its Emmy potential.