What Make The Critics Of
Netflix’s HEMLOCK GROVE??
Based on the 2012 novel by Brian McGreevy, who also co-writes this Netflix series, “Hemlock Grove” apparently follows the residents of a Pennsylvania town inhabited by monsters.
Its cast includes Famke Janssen (“Nip/Tuck,” “The Wolverine”), Lili Taylor (“Six Feet Under”), Dougray Scott (“Desperate Housewives”), Bill Skargard (“Anna Karenina”), Landon Liboiron (“Terra Nova”) and “Battlestar Galactica” vets Kandyse McClure and Aaron Douglas.
All 13 first-season episode of “Hemlock Grove” hit Netflix in a few hours.
A sampling of early reviews (more may be added as they pop up online):
... a mess … There are just a lot of crazy, crazy ideas hurled out there with no real thought given to pace or tone or how to mesh them all together. …
... the sort of supernatural horror thriller that’s so concerned with atmosphere and mood that it barely gets around to telling its story. Through the 3 (of 13) episodes provided for review, there’s still a lot more suggestion than information, and plotting that’s probably meant to be cleverly elliptical — important characters who appear out of nowhere, story points that are made clear a few beats too late — is just confusing. …
... often very good and just as often very dull …
... The writing is ham-fisted and occasionally just howlingly bad … As ridiculous as it can be, there's a point where you stop both laughing at the silly lines and trying to follow the crazy plot and kind of go along with it all. That's largely because of an attractive cast, some of whose performances are sufficiently competent to make "Hemlock Grove" almost believable.
... I found the show close to indecipherable, and would have been pretty much lost without the press notes. … jumps all over the place without establishing characters or their relationships.
... If "House of Cards" was Netflix's big, rollicking, history-in-the-making party, then "Hemlock Grove" must be the hangover: … Based on the celebrated debut novel of 28-year-old screenwriter Brian McGreevy, "Hemlock Grove" is neither that failure nor that masterpiece but an intriguing oddball that's made some rookie mistakes in the first three episodes. Those include nonlinear storytelling that may work in novel form but not (always) on TV. McGreevy -- who is showrunner along with grindhouse specialist Eli Roth -- has also frontloaded his yarn with all sorts of genre tropes, from teen soaps to splatter flicks. That's all part of the fun, but also part of the confusion.
... If the underlying formula is as old as “Dark Shadows,” there’s still a need for more narrative momentum than the 13-episode series initially delivers. So while one can understand why Netflix would augment its original slate with this mix of talent, “Hemlock Grove” remains a mere niche confection, one likely to play best among those genre fans who can’t see the forest for the trees.
... Hemlock is the second in a string of highly anticipated series from Netflix, which has been getting a lot of justified compliments for changing the way we consume television. But -- welcome to the content business -- here comes the company’s first truly bad series. …
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