Strange attractions of “Hemlock Grove”

24 Jul


I`m a sucker for a good TV drama – I enjoy comedies too, especially British, but an engaging, thrilling drama is something I need to have in my life. Once I`m done with one (or at least done till next season), I look for another. One of my more significant discoveries of late was “House of Cards” from Netflix – it was quite a delight, even though I agree that it did have its weaker moments and Spacey`s young reporter/lover was damn annoying (more a whore than a reporter), yet Spacey himself was still pure awesome. Since its first release was such a pleasant surprise, I couldn’t wait to check out Netflix`s next baby – “Hemlock Grove.”

Before I got to see it, however, reviews were pouring in, suggesting it`s much closer to the “True Blood” (which I did enjoy for a few seasons, until the writing turned total garbage) and “Twilight” territory than mature thrillers like “House of Cards.” And indeed it was.


There sure was a twilighty feel to it – two young guys, one suggested to be werewolf, another – subtly hinted on to suffer from some form of vampirism, caught up in a freindship/love triangle with a girl – an angelic looking blonde, pregnant with a mysterious baby. Sounds like a classic recipe for a modern young adult fiction, doesn`t it? And speaking of “True Blood” the vampiric blond guy in “Hemlock Grove” is played by Bill Skarsgard – brother of Alexander Skarsgard a.k.a. True Blood`s most charismatic vampire, Eric Northman. Seems like to make a successful a successful supernatural show, you need at least one  Skarsgard – and they`ve got one here.

Overall, “Hemlock Grove” has many weak points.  First of all it`s strangely unbalanced, constantly swaying between a pretty good mysterious drama and a teenage horror flick. The blonde girl (Penelope Mitchell) is way too sweet and doesn’t do much proper acting apart from looking and talking real sexy. The transformation scene from a human into a wolf is truly revolting; the “good” doctor Godfrey (Dougray Scott) is too much of a weak loser; and for the most part the show runs quite slow, interrupted here and there by a sudden, totally unexpected bloodbath scenes.


And yet, despite all the obvious cliches, and partly poor writing, “Hemlock Grove” is strangely alluring. Perhaps it has to do with Roman Godfrey (the aforementioned Bill Skarsgard), whose character`s vampiric nature is not truly revealed until later and who feels hardcore and intense despite the model good looks. Perhaps it`s his mom, the Queen Bitch Olivia (Famke Janssen), with her unrelenting arrogance, apparently inhuman strength and impeccably white outfits, that appear to emphasize her blood lust. Perhaps its her mysterious daughter – a deformed Frankenstein monster-like creature with a heart of gold or a a mad doctor, growing something unspeakable in his laboratory. In fact, it`s possible that I especially enjoy the show for not giving away answers too soon – things are revealed suddenly, yet the build up to it is gradual – while some turns are predictable, others remain to be seen.

One thing is clear – I will stay tuned for season number 2, and pray that it won`t be hit by shitty writing curse as much as “True Blood was.”

And one more thing I love about it is the soundtrack. A really good song playing as the episode ends and credits start rolling somehow makes up for all the shortcomings and leaves you wanting more.


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