Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Hemlock Grove

Well according to some critics Hemlock Grove represents the death of television.  I don't believe that, but this series from Netflix does represent a very different way of producing and showing a series.  Basically, they shot the entire season in one go and released it all in one big lump for Netflix users.  Personally I rather like the idea.   For years now I've been getting DVDs of popular shows and watching them as marathons.  It has the added advantage of me not having to wait for several years for them to put the DVD out.  The question though, as always, is Hemlock Grove worth watching.  The answer is basically a "meh."

The basics of Hemlock Grove is a pretty simple bit of math "Twin Peaks" + "The Twilight Series" + "Whatever weirdness will stick on the wall."  So we are in the town of Hemlock Grove and there's been a series of murders of girls that look like an animal attack.  There's the handsome gypsy lad whom everyone says is a werewolf.  There is the rich neer do well heir to the town's main company who has spooky eyes and we are told by the gypsies that he's an upir (umpire?).  There is his sister who is just GIGANTIC who clumps around the school halls slumped over with hair over her face like a goth bigfoot.  There's.... oh I think you get it.  Everyone is strange and weird.  There's so much strange and weird that the "mystery" that is the supposed plot engine gets put on the back burner.  That's one of the problems the creators are juggling so much "Look it's WEEEEEEEIRD" that they forget to keep up the narrative paste.  There are whole episodes that just wallow around.  It's not helped by a very purple prose that you have to give the actors some credit for having to work with.  I understand this series is based on a book and that the writer wrote most of t he scripts. 

I think I'll avoid reading the book.

The thing I liked was there was sort of interesting relationship growing between the gypsy and the heir.  They come from different worlds but both are fatherless boys and they find an uneasy bond.  They even get all Hardy boys and decide to try to solve the murders and save the town.  It's almost sweet really.  I also like the sister.  Just as set decoration she's incredible.  Her story is one of those that is awkwardly shoehorned into the show but she's interesting just the same.

Overall, I had a little fun and the price was right but it didn't wow me.  I don't if I'd bother with a second season.  On the one hand I can't see the flaws clearing away, but on the other one advantage of releasing it all at once is that the creators are going to get some serious feedback and maybe, maybe they can learn something. 

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