The way the Internet is talking about this teaser, it's like a company has never lied to you before. Sure, Netflix has saidfor its "A Series of Unfortunate Events" (ASOUE) series.
But this is bunk, and the biggest reason why is Lemony Snicket is Daniel Handler.
If you know nothing about this decades-long farce, then that may sound like a terribly ridiculous statement for me to make and claim as reasoning enough. But for years, Handler maintained the facade that Snicket -- the pen name Handler used to write the ASOUE series -- is a separate persona. Each denial of their connection was proof enough that Handler was the writer behind the writer.
Now, Netflix's denial should be proof enough that this is not only an official teaser but that it was released with its full knowledge.
Not enough for you? Fine, but instead of dissecting the teaser itself, let's first look at the YouTube uploader: Eleanora Poe. In the book series, Poe was the editor in chief of the newspaper, The Daily Punctilio. She had, in fact, fired Lemony Snicket for a review he wrote of her brother's play -- giving her ample cause to release a sneak peek at Snicket's life work. Plus, what better way to disavow any knowledge of the teaser trailer than by having Poe release it?
Next, look at (and listen to) the music. Take The Gothic Archies record you see playing on the Gramfonola, as the player says on the front. When the original ASOUE books were released on audiobook, this band provided the theme music for the series. Check out their album The Tragic Treasury (iTunes | Spotify) and then tell me this isn't a gargantuan Easter egg, a new, grown-up phrase which here means "an obvious sign of realness."
The Gothic Archies also lent their sound to Neil Gaiman's "Coraline" audiobook -- today's teaser trailer soundtrack featured "Missed Me" by The Dresden Dolls, whose lead singer is Amanda Palmer...who is married to Gaiman. OK, sure, it seems like a tenuous connection, but when you think of how long they've all known each other, you have to admit it seems less and less like a coincidence and more like elaborate planning. (And anyway, there's no such thing as a coincidence.)
Elaborate planning has always been a hallmark of ASOUE. For 13 books the series taught readers to always question authority, to never take an answer at face value just because it came from an adult, and to always seek to ask the right questions.
So I have some big questions to ask: If this was simply a fan-made trailer, why aren't there more VFD markings? In the books, those who are a part of the group VFD come together under markings which look like the title of the first book under the pair of glasses here:
This is the evil "eye" a fan of the books would recognize immediately. Made up of the three letters of the group, this is the sign a fan would plaster over numerous things in a teaser such as this.
Next question: Where are the shots of said fan's dream cast? Every picture we presumably see of the Baudelaire children is sans faces -- why? Could it be that the fan didn't want to sully our dreams with visions of their casting decisions? No, fans always want you to know who would play their perfect Count Olaf and we can't resist telling you (ahem, Adrien Brody or Matthew Gray Gubler). Instead, I think this is a deliberate move by Netflix to keep its casting decisions under wraps for the time being.
All in all, I do think this is a fan-made trailer -- in so much as Daniel Handler is a huge fan of Lemony Snicket. It bleeds authenticity and feels exactly like a teaser should, full of promise, with enough Easter eggs to keep fans intrigued and the ability to get even non-readers excited for the series.
Heck, maybe Netflix is being straightforward. But something about that Netflix rep's comment to Variety just reads as vague and open-ended: "This was not released from Netflix." Well of course not, it was released by Ms Poe. And at the end of the day, the trailer is missing the classic Netflix tags, like "An Original Series" or even a release year, making it plausible this is truly just a very, very well made fan edit.
But wouldn't it be great if it wasn't? Wouldn't it be terribly delightful to think that Netflix is simply playing with us in the same vein as Snicket and Co.? So, what'd you think: real or fake -- or does it even matter?