So while I would love to make this a coherent post about the positives and negatives of this TV series, my thoughts on Hemlock Grove aren’t nearly that cohesive. Instead I shall try to give an impression of what watching this series is like.
Hemlock Grove is a Netflix original series, basically meaning that Netflix made it and you won’t see it on your TV. One of the pros of it being made by Netflix is that seasons are posted in their entirety. Huzzah for binge watching!
I watched the first five episodes with a friend, and our first reaction was: what the hell is this even about? Though the premise is quite clear – girls get murdered in the town of Hemlock Grove, by some beast that might or might not be supernatural – the execution is incredibly strange. The entire mood of the series is dark, but not a lot happens. The characters are nowhere near the glossy pretty-perfect standard Hollywood stars. The teens smoke and drink. One of the main characters also is very much into drugs (much snorting of white powder is done) while he also has a weird craving to play with blood (usually his own). There is a lot of sex, though not that much nudity. When the series progresses there is also a big dollop of gore. All in all, Hemlock Grove isn’t pretty.
When the plot starts to unfold, things get really crazy. The series finale was one of the most nail-biting ones I have ever seen, especially because the series really doesn’t mind killing off some favourites in the progress. The last ten minutes of the season left me sitting open-mouthed, muttering “what? what? what the fuck?”
My only real gripe with this season is that it ends on such a frigging cabinet of cliff-hangers. Although the main mystery does get solved (the girl-killer), the things the main characters undergo in the last episode have such a sense of foreboding that almost cannot be ignored. Lucky for us, the second season is available and watchable immediately.
Although Hemlock Grove won’t have a universal appeal, I loved it in all its quirkiness. I love how there was a great balance between teen and middle-aged characters, the acting was amazing, the story original. The tension arcs were incredibly well done, especially in the last half of the season. I often have problems concentrating longer than 20 minutes on a series, breaking episodes up so I don’t get bored and let my mind wander. I didn’t have any of those issues with Hemlock Grove, easily watching an hour-long episode. And that’s probably the highest honour I can give a television series.