Wednesday, May 1, 2013

TV Review: Hemlock Grove

I finally got around to watching Netflix's new series, and I have to say that, for the most part, it's very good. I can't believe some of the hate it's gotten online, but I guess that's what happens when you make something a bit more interesting and not as direct. You'll read a lot of comparisons between it and Twin Peaks, but that's a bit misguided. It's really nothing like it, but I won't deny that it has a Lynchian vibe to it — which is why it's very polarizing and explains the overwhelming negative reviews.

I've heard the show described as confusing. And while I did not share that perspective, I can understand why: a lot of its exposition is not in the typical direct, bad writing type of way. The kind where the character talks about things and says things that nobody would ever say. When you watch this show, you have to pay attention to what's going on. You can't be on Facebook and hope that the characters sum up the plot three or four times per episode.

The writing is a bit hit and miss: e.g., I cringed when Peter said: "I could care less." And there are moments when the dialogue is lacking, and there are some pacing issues, but it's nothing that warrants some of the horrible reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Or maybe that's just tantamount to the laziness of the E-critic? But I'm guessing you're reading my review either because you loved it, hated it, or want to know if it's worth your time.

If you like Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, or anything that falls into that vein, then no — it's not worth your time. This isn't anywhere near vapid or shallow enough for you. In fact, this is probably the opposite of what you're looking for — despite it having teenage main characters. This is closer to True Blood in its gritty, sexual nature. And don't get your hopes up that it's like Twin Peaks. This isn't about an idiocentric town filled with strange characters, but there is a surrealism to the show that is a nice change of pace from what's normally out there.

With Hemlock Grove you will get a little bit of everything.The characters are somewhat surprising, but I found a nice homage to other horror writers, in them. For instance, the character Shelley reminded me of Frankenstein's Monster, which of course was from the novel written by Mary Shelley. And I don't mean just by her grunting and lumbering about in a behemoth exterior. But much like Frankenstein, Shelley has the soul of a poet and a superior intellect.

To address the critics of the characters: they do have depth. But you're not going to be told about it. It's not going to be spoon fed to you through unnatural dialogue. You're going to have to watch the episodes and discover it for yourself, but it is there, and I can't wait for the next season.

1 comment:

  1. Hi~! I just came by your blog when I was googling and I wanted to ask you if I can send you my short story collection, Dragons and Cicadas, for a review. I'm trying to get it into the hands of every dragon fan out there and I also want to know your thoughts on it. I've been writing the thing for seven years and I update it monthly with new stories. Its kinda like a collection of my writings. If you want me to send it to you, I can send it through email in any e-reading format you want :)