Netflix does it again with one of their Netflix Original Series. From the first episode of Hemlock Grove Season One I was hooked on this horror thriller. I started the show Netflix binge watching while I was sick and within no time finished the first season. The show is filled with strange and mythological creatures as well as an entertaining drama filled storyline and great characters. It had it’s waning moments, but I was still really looking forward to sticking with this story.
The series is set in the town of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania. The towns main industry, the steel mill owned by the Godfrey family has shut down, but the Godfrey family is not wanting as their name also sits upon the tallest building in town known as the white tower. The white tower is completely out of place in the small town and home to an immense amount of research relatively unknown to the towns people. The building is shrouded in mystery and becomes one of the main focuses of the entire series.
Peter Rumancek (Landon Liboiron) and his mother Lynda (Lili Taylor) are gypsies and have come to Hemlock Grove at the worst possible time. After two teenage girls are found dead, the dark and mysterious Peter becomes the towns number one suspect. Though it is not fair to automatically blame the outsider, Peter has his own dark secret, Peter is a werewolf. The white tower seems to be a beacon for all things strange, as Peter is not the only creature in a small town full of dark secrets.
The first season focuses on Peter, his discovery of what he is and how to cope with the transformations. We are also introduced to the Godfrey family headed by Olivia Godfrey (Famke Janssen), her son and heir to the Godfrey fortune Roman Godfrey (Bill Skarsgard) and their mysterious and deformed daughter Shelley Godfrey (Nicole Boivin, Madeleine Martin). The Godfrey’s are a prominent family in town, known for their wealth so it is hard to believe they are able to have so many secrets. Thankfully the white tower and its lead doctor, Dr. Johann Pryce (Joel de la Fuente) are able to hide many of their secrets while adding his own. Roman begins to show strange symptoms and learns of a unique bloodline in his family known as Upir, a vampire-like species.
The second season focuses on Roman and Peter trying to pick up the pieces after the end of the first season. It also relies heavily on a series of visions and an obscure dark cult that are leaving bodies in their wake while searching for something that Roman and Peter have.
The third and final season focuses on the characters of Shelley and Olivia. While Roman and Peter still remain a large part of the show as all things start to wind up. My interest in the show started to decline with the introduction of the weird cult in season two. The characters are what really keep you coming back to the series. As some leave, there are those that join the cast, but perhaps some that should have stayed away completely. The third season was more a robotic viewing thanks to help of Netflix and Go. Without the convenience I’m not sure if I would have come back to the series, or at least not for a very long time. As with most series, they tend to continue on forever adding more and more characters or strange storylines just to keep the series alive while sacrificing the best parts of the show. I expected the episodes to keep coming and coming until I neared the end of season three only to discover that that was it, no more, the fat lady has sung and left very few to hear the applause.
Peter’s character tends to maintain the same disheveled snarling look on his face no matter the situation or season and looking back it’s easy to be disappointed in his character and how things played out.
Olivia Godfrey stays fabulous until the very end owning her style, her grace, and her complete bitchy side together until the big finale.
Roman is our brooding vampire who also maintains the same face throughout the season but shows more talent with his acting abilities and also plays on our soft spot for bad rich boys.
Shelley is probably my favourite, if not all our favourites, in the whole show. You can’t help but like her but also feel sorry for the way she is treated in the beginning. She is rarely seen in the first season and only begins to make more appearances in the second season. The third season is where she really shines having almost full episodes dedicated to her. She is the smart gentle giant if you are able to look past her deformities and one of the best characters on the show.
The series started out really strong and I have to say I am a fan of Season One, but things go down hill from there until ultimately crumbling to pieces in the end. I almost feel like there are still so many questions that could be asked or answered but perhaps the producers felt like the audience and were just ready to let it die. Feel free to continue to the series it isn’t all bad. I know how hard it can be to stop in the middle of things, but I’d say stopping mid season two may be the best place to stop to get the best parts of the series and end on a high note.