Hemlock Grove

Pilot, "Jellyfish in the Sky": Netflix's latest binge series is a horror drama that seemed to have more in common with The CW's "The Vampire Diaries" and MTV's "Teen Wolf"  rather than FX's "American Horror Story". That could possibly be because of the exposition heavy pilot trying to establish the seemingly multiple story lines and with the focus on the teenage characters. The pilot started out strong with a mystery quickly setup and the brooding, sulking Bill Skarsgård doing his best impression of his elder brother's (Alex of "True Blood") handsome skulk. Then came the introduction of the the other leading teen Landon Liboiron's hirsute Peter. The girls, so far, are unmemorable. The adults are kind of disappointing. Famke Janssen gets top billing but her wavering accent is annoying and her character's styling does her absolutely no justice. She is an enigma. Literally and figuratively. Rather a waste for such a big star. I really hope the subsequent episodes does her some justice. Lily Taylor is interesting, and she is definitely the one with the answers. But only billed as a guest star, I worry for her longevity. The males were cardboard. Somehow, following behind the immensely stylish and sleek "House of Cards", this series seemed rather more juvenile. Although, it should have been expected since we are basically comparing Eli Roth to David Fincher. In addition, the (main writers) Brian McGreevy and Lee Shipman seemed to be juggling many plot lines and lacked the lingual sophistication to make the dialogue interesting. Furthermore, typical of Roth's style many scenes and images were just there, and weird, for the sake of being weird. Unfortunately, not one scene/image really stood out. It was not scary enough, sexy enough, bloody enough, or weird enough. Like I said this seemed like a CW show trying to be cable. I still have goodwill left from their freaking cool trailer and Famke Janssen fanboy love, so will keep on binging and hope the rest of the episodes start getting better!

Episode 2 - 3, "The Angel" & "Order of The Dragon": Slightly more improved outing with these two episodes, and that werewolf transformation scene is really the sickest and slickest transformation ever to be put on film! And the best scene of the whole show thus far. The budding friendship between Peter and Roman is slowly getting interesting with both boys getting more complex. Roman, the bad boy that so want to be good, and Peter the good boy that everybody thinks is bad. Although Peter is the more charismatic one of the two. Two other interesting mysteries that can keep me hooked in: Who/What is Olivia (Famke Janssen's accent is still annoying)? Who is Shelly (Nicole Boivin is doing a good job with so little)? The whole angel-conception storyline had better have a good payoff. Dougray Scott is the weakest link of the cast and newbie Kandyse McClure is a walking cliché so far.

Episode 4, "In Poor Taste": At least the mystery is really getting interesting and the threads seem to be be coming together. Dr Pryce is just an enigma and the actor is not really convincing. New sub-mysteries are still being littered around, but at least it captures the audience's attention. Shelly still remains the most interesting character around, and Janssen is finally getting some layers of complexity to play with. And by golly, both Roman and Peter have rather fucked up childhood! Well, that would make for interesting teenage angst although the actors may not be up to it. This show really lacked the cajones to go all out cable which is really a waster.


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