First it was Lillyhammer, then the wildly popular (especially among the Congress crowd) House of Cards, later this summer it will be Arrested Development, but right now it’s Eli Roth’s Hemlock Grove‘s time.
Premiering on Friday, April 19th, Netflix again released the entire 13 episode season at once for all of us who enjoy bingeing on TV shows in one or two sittings. I’ll admit that I’d never heard of the book by Brian McGreevy (who is an executive producer for the series) and don’t normally keep up with all news vampire and werewolf related so I had heard nothing about this show until it started getting buzz right before it premiered. Of course I then went out and found the trailer and Netflix lets you know right away what you might find in their new series.
I think it’s safe to say that I have never in my life seen the phrase “lesbian necrophilia” in print. Although, unless I missed it, the lesbian part of the scene in question isn’t really the part that needs a warning. The necrophilia, meaning dead person, and maggots might warrant a big ol’ heads up though. Blech. Enough of my talking though, let’s check out that trailer.
You saw the maggots right? That’s gross. How about a trailer with a little less “feasting on human flesh” huh?
Unless you didn’t glean it from the two trailers, Hemlock Grove is weird. At times it is very weird. Unfortunately for the audience, the first few episodes are just a collection of unrelated weird that don’t make much sense. It’s not until episode 3 that things start to come together. Frankly, if this had been aired in a traditional manner, on a network with a quick trigger finger, I don’t know that it would have made it a full season. However, it does pick up and even though there are some plot holes and still confusing moments, it ends up being rather entertaining.
Unlike House of Cards, Hemlock Grove doesn’t have the instantly recognizable names like Kevin Spacey or Robin Wright, but they do have a few names that fans, especially those with a geek background, will surely recognize.
Famke Jennsen is no stranger to being the hottest woman in the room. This time she adds a bit of a Oedipal complex (and other things) to the mix but still is sexy as ever. How is it possible that this woman is nearing 50? Doesn’t seem possible.
Janssen plays Olivia Godfrey, the matriarch of a very odd family. Her first husband, well he’s no longer around, and it might have a lot to do with her. She has this doctor/scientist/madman? (Dr. Johann Pryce played by Joel de la Fuente) working for her at her husband’s institute and together they are in some weird shit. Even having seen the entire season, I’m not totally sure what all they are up to. The most impressive part of Olivia though? She is always wearing white and is always surrounded by blood, that’s daring.
If Bill Skarsgard was hoping to make a name for himself outside of his brother, Alexander (True Blood), the perhaps wasn’t the greatest role for him to take. However, he is quite good as the hooker hiring (literally within the first minute of the pilot), chain-smoking, obsessed with blood, rich kid, Roman Godfrey. A bit of a freak, he’s certainly got the “brooding” look down pat.
Perhaps my favorite character was that of Landon Liboiron’s Peter Rumancek. The new kid in town is a Romani who enjoys walking around shirtless while smoking and drinking. Seriously there is a lot of drinking for a bunch of high school kids.
He and Roman strike up a bro-mance for the ages. They decide to take it upon themselves to hunt down whatever is killing young women in their sleepy little hamlet. The show follows their quest and when I say there are plot holes, I mean there are some pretty significant plot holes but if you are able to look past them, you will certainly enjoy going along with these two on their “hunt”.
The cast is rounded out by Dougray Scott playing Norman Godfrey and Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Gallactica) as Dr. Clementine Chasseur.
The most amazing part of this show? Netflix announced that it’s had more viewers than House of Cards in their respective first weekends. When I first saw that, I balked because House of Cards is without a doubt, the better of the two shows. However, even though there’s a lot of mystery and intrigue in Hemlock Grove, it’s not quite as heady as the Kevin Spacey political drama so you can watch it without having to expend too much brain power. That and after the success of House of Cards, Netflix got a bit of publicity that no doubt lent itself favorably to Hemlock Grove.
Will there be a second season of the horror series? Unlike HoC which had a two season deal from the start, there hasn’t been any confirmation of a second season for Hemlock Grove. One has to imagine that if the numbers keep up, they’ll be calling Eli Roth and Brian McGreevy to make lightning strike a second time.