Hey TV.com, Should I Watch Netflix's Hemlock Grove?

According to Netflix, House of Cards was a rousing success, though we have zero data to support that assertion (we just have to trust them). But can the streaming-video service continue its self-proclaimed roll? Next up on the company's original programming slate is the oh-so-scary Hemlock Grove, which debuts this Friday. But is it the genre-busting noirish masterpiece it purports to be, or is it just a monster mash? I've seen the first two episodes and I'll try to answer that question as soon as I figure out what I just saw in another edition of "Tell Me What to Watch, TV.com!"


What is Hemlock Grove?

Hemlock Grove is essentially a 13-hour ghost story set in a town full of weirdos and monsters, I think. I'm not spoiling anything when I re-hash the pilot, because it's all in the logline. A young woman is viciously murdered in Hemlock Grove, a smallish steel town in Pennsylvania, and authorities are bewildered as to who or what could have committed such a terrible thing. Landon Liboiron (Terra Nova) plays Peter, a gypsy boy who might be a werewolf, and Bill Skarsgard (Alexander's little brother) plays Roman Godfrey, the young spoiled heir to Hemlock Grove's big steel company. Both end up becoming suspects in the murder and decide to find the killer themselves. 


Who's behind the show?

Slasher film buff Eli Roth (Hostel, Cabin Fever) is the big name attached to the series, and he directed the pilot and has an executive producer credit. Author Brian McGreevy wrote the book it's based on, and he's adapting it for Netflix with his pal Lee Shipman. 


When does Hemlock Grove debut?

The craziness comes to Netflix this Friday, April 19 at 12am Pacific time. In keeping with the company's distribution model, all 13 episodes of the first season will be released at once.


What audience is Hemlock Grove targeting?

Fans of horror obviously, but more specifically, fans of the horror subgenre that likes to mix film noir with blood spatters and weirdness. It's not just monster-slashings; there's small-town drama and high-school angst thrown in as well.


What's good about Hemlock Grove?

Visually, Hemlock Grove is a treat, as there are some truly stunning shots of mossy, foggy forests, industrial-city backdrops, and the unnecessarily spooky Godfrey estate. There are also some nods to Twin Peaks, with unexplained kookiness rampant in the town; those sorts of puzzle that're open to interpretation are almost always welcome on television. And though the pilot doesn't have too much action, trailers have shown that some of the visual effects—particularly a gory werewolf transformation—are top-notch and designed to make your dinner want to escape your body via your throat. 


  

Okay, but what isn't so good about Hemlock Grove
?

Sometimes calling a show weird is a euphemism for it not being all that right. But there's no euphemism for this next statement: Some of the writing is atrocious. Duds are more common than not, and that spreads to every other aspect of the show. Several scenes are aimless, and there are times when the actors look as though they'd rather be at the dentist. Given their thin, underdeveloped characters, I'm not sure I blame them.


Well, should I watch it or not?

Hemlock Grove wants to be American Horror Story, but dare I say it doesn't have as much focus as the FX horror series? Yes, I do: It's even more scattered than AHS can seem at times. It also lacks the magic of AHS. There's still something oddly compelling about it, and it might be perfect for the Netflix model of binge-watching a bunch of episodes in one sitting. But based on an early sampling, I don't think it's worth finding out. This is an amateurish effort that's all over the place.


Can I see a trailer?

Okay. But be warned, the trailer makes the show seem better than it is.




What's a good drink to have while watching Hemlock Grove
?

Lots and lots of absinthe. Maybe the green fairy will be able to explain this one to you.


Hemlock Grove premieres on Friday, April 19 at 12am Pacific on Netflix's streaming service.

Comments (38)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
I have 9 episodes of the show.. I have watched first 5.. but I am getting a feeling like too many random things are happening and the plot isn't enough to keep me interested.. I don't even have the curiosity to watch the rest episodes.. Anyone had this feeling during watching this? Does it get interesting towards the end?
2
Reply
Flag
Deleted and done !
Reply
Flag
Great, great show. Just finished watching the finale, can't wait for the second season.
2
Reply
Flag
I'm just "wild" about this Hemlock Grove!! I love Peter & Roman AND I LOVE THE WOLF!!
1
Reply
Flag
That the wolf literally ripped itself out of that guy's body, fine - I saw that in plenty of werewolf flicks; that it starts eating the leftovers of his human body, though... WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?

So gonna watch this! Wish the wolf was more were than canine, but whatever - it certainly looks like something right out of my wheelhouse!
Reply
Flag
I don't watch horror, monster films. I do like suspense and other crime shows but they have to have some realism involved. Lately there have been too many shows with characters bouncing back and forth from one time or world to another. Why not stick to a realistic plotline?
Reply
Flag
saw some previews, verdict no!!
Reply
Flag
That was an interesting take on the werewolf transformation. He had an extra set of werewolf eyes behind his regular ones? Uh, OK.
5
Reply
Flag
On one hand, Battlestar vets Aaron Douglas and Kandyse McClure, on the other Eli Roth who is a horror genre hack. Complete toss-up.
Reply
Flag
Eli Roth is terrible and his characters are sophomoric. Skipping this for good horror.
Reply
Flag
I'm not as keen on the Netflix bingeathon now that the weather is growing nice every day. I enjoyed House of Cards but I may skip this one.
Reply
Flag
A show doesn't have to be good in order for me to like it. Every show I've ever been disappointed by was because I expected more from it than they delivered.
My bar is set really low for this one, so what could go wrong?
7
Reply
Flag
exactly! with a low set bar you can't be disappointed. I also try to set the bar low. The problem comes when a show has an awesome season 1.....
3
Reply
Flag
I might watch it. If only to see what is more scattered than AHS. Because I am not sure that is possible.
4
Reply
Flag
I'll watch it. High hopes, but we'll see how it goes...
1
Reply
Flag
The last netflix show I watched was good so I'll give Hemlock Grove a watch but to be honest I'm just wasting time on netflix until Arrested Development comes back
6
Reply
Flag
Seems good enough to check out. I don't think Eli Roth has any talent but who knows?
3
Reply
Flag
With the exception of Turbo: FAST, I plan to give every Netflix show that has been announced a chance eventually, even if I'm a bit iffy about it. In this case, I can see it going either way, but it does seem pretty interesting. Hopefully it will turn out for the best. At the very least, I'm glad to see Netflix has some diversity in their programming, with this horror show, the sci-fi show Sense8 by the Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski, and even though I have no interest in watching it, the family friendly cartoon Turbo: FAST to go along with the intelligent dramas and comedies they're making. The more variety the better IMO, as long as those shows turn out well, obviously.
3
Reply
Flag
I'l give it a try.
1
Reply
Flag
i'll watch it. i pay for netflix & a lot of the normal cable shows i watch are done for the season or were reruns this week, so there wont be much on the DVR tomorrow.

i killed House of Cards in a weekend, but not sure i'll have time to watch all of HG this weekend, since it's spring and i have a honey-do list from the wife.
Reply
Flag
I'll give it a try. My hopes aren't high or anything.
Reply
Flag
I'm willing to give this a shot. The trailers I seen looked good (although trailers are totally misleading), but after the awesomeness that was House of Cards, there's no reason not to give this show a chance. Also I totally support the idea of NF producing it's own shows; just gives me more incentive to get rid of cable in the future.
4
Reply
Flag
Transformation was cool, werewolf looked terrible
Reply
Flag
There is proof that House of Cards did well... They began casting for Season 2 in DC
3
Reply
Flag
Staff
First season was fantastic.
1
Reply
Flag
I thought the trailer made it look bad so if it's worse than the trailer it must be terrible. House of Cards really looked boring too. I wonder who bright Idea it was to go for series with such potentially limited appeal. Arrested Development - being a comedy -being the only exception.
Reply
Flag
House of Cards was great...
1
Reply
Flag
House of Cards was really good. i didnt watch any trailers and thought...ew gross political drama, but it was really good IMO
2
Reply
Flag
That's the most disgusting werewolf transformation I have ever seen (the eyes falling and the skin eating...yuck!!) !!! But great ideas though! At first I thought it was gonna be like in TVD but they managed to find their own thing. I'll try out the show!
3
Reply
Flag
Yeah, the trailer did make this look kind of stupid (yet maybe interesting?). I wonder if any of these Netflix shows will ever come out on DVD.
Reply
Flag
I like the genre so I'll definately will give it a try. The show 'Red Widow' got a bad review on tv.com and I love it so I'll decide for myself. On a side note, I didn't want to watch 'The Americans' but gave it try anyway because of a good review on tv.com and I've been watching it ever since (absolutely love that one too) so I'm not ignoring all the reviews :-).
Reply
Flag
The wolf eating his own human remains? I didn't expect that and made me want to check out HG.
3
Reply
Flag
I like the way Netflix releases their original programming. All 13 episodes at once. It's going to become something that sets them apart from the Networks. The more they succeed with this, the better their original programming will get. Just a theory there. We'll see how it goes.
As for this show? I will likely not be watching it. I'm not a fan of the horror genre.
4
Reply
Flag
o boy looks gd,totally agree with u.releasing all 13 episodes on netflix is wonderful..just like house of cards which is a top top show
2
Reply
Flag
Agree completely with your last statement. Horror is an even more esoteric and polarizing genre than sci-fi. Those who don't love it absolutely hate it. A poor choice to follow House of Cards. They should have gone with more mainstream action/drama or maybe a period piece.
1
Reply
Flag
Right now, I don't believe Netflix has a lot of "pull" in the industry. I think they are perhaps doing more of a "what comes available" sort of thing. Hemlock Grove just happened to be ready before anything else they had in the works.

Or. They are going off which genre is watched most on their service. Since we're not privy to those internal decision meetings, or usage data, we can only speculate what may have led them to releasing this particular show.

I am and have been a Netflix subscriber for a few years now. I find that I am enjoying it more now that they are including more televisions series. Movies are fine. But I like being able to follow the characters, watch them evolve over time. Something that can't be achieved in a two hour movie.
3
Reply
Flag
I gave up on Netflix a couple years ago (replaced with Hulu), no way is this enough to reopen my subscription. Try again, Netflix, try harder.
1
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook

  • 8:00 pm
    The Carmichael Show President Trump
    NEW
    NBC
  • 9:00 pm
    American Ninja Warrior
    NEW
    NBC