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Neil Patrick Harris Turns Up the Camp as Count Olaf in the Latest A Series of Unfortunate Events Teaser

Neil Patrick Harris looks like he’s having a lot of fun as Count Olaf already. This is the kind of meaty villainous role that can be a real joy to play… but, it’s also a challenge.

Jim Carey first played the role in the movie adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events back in 2004, so NPH has a tough act to follow. With a character whose mannerisms are this goofy and over-the-top, it can be difficult to straddle the line between a humorous performance and an eyeroll-worthy one.

Debatably, Carey didn’t manage to master that himself, having received mixed reviews from critics at the time–but personally, I liked his take, and based on this trailer alone, I think NPH’s cornball approach to the character is going to work, too. It does seem similar to Carey’s performance in some ways, so far, but also, this is who Count Olaf is. This is how the role should be played, at least in my opinion.

In addition to an all-too-brief peek at Neil Patrick Harris’ performance as Count Olaf, we also got to see a lot of lines from the child actors in the upcoming Netflix series, upon whom the emotional weight of the series will rest. I admit, I wasn’t exactly blown away by any of their lines in this trailer, but I’ve already seen Malina Weissman play young Kara on Supergirl and enjoyed her performance there, so I’m confident that she can win me over as Violet on this show. As for young Louis Hynes, this is only his second role ever (at least according to his IMDB), so this will be a good opportunity for him to play in the big leagues.

There are also a couple of lines in here from K. Todd Freeman, who plays the role of Mr. Poe, the banker handling the Baudelaire kids’ fortune and who, as shown, ends up leaving them in the care of an over-the-top villain for the sake of convenience. So far in this trailer, he does a great job delivering the deadpan bizarre lines with just the right amount of clueless ineptitude. In short, I think he’s going to do great.

This show isn’t out until January 13, 2017, so hopefully we’ll get a few more trailers and peeks at the material before then. I’m intrigued so far, at any rate, and I definitely recommend checking out Patrick Warburton’s hilarious trailer for the show if you haven’t yet.

(via /Film, image via screencap)

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (, and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (