Hemlock Grove: Review: Season 1

HemlockGroveS01Netflix, on demand, 13 episodes

The town of Hemlock Grove harbours a killer, one that appears to be a werewolf…

While it never quite reached the giddy heights of absurdity displayed in American Horror Story, the much more leisurely paced Hemlock Grove came pretty close in its final episodes.

One thing this show was not was formulaic. Where TV horror fare such as Supernatural follows the same structure every single episode, year in, year out, Hemlock Grove played fast and loose. It jumped in time, put a character in a coma for two weeks, killed off several seemingly key people and kept plenty of diverse mysteries under wraps until the right time came to reveal them.

The Godfrey family were central to the story and central to the life of the town, having abandoned their industrial plants in favour of the ‘white tower’ where strange biological experimentation appears to have been taking place. Although there were suspicions about the true character of mother and son, it wasn’t until the final episode that the nature of their supernatural affliction was revealed (and that it turned out to be exactly what you thought it might be was no bad thing). The best character in the entire series however may have been the Frankenstein-monster-like Shelly Godfrey.

The other most important family were the Romany Rumanceks, with Peter dealing with his monthly transformation during the full moon and falling under suspicion of having committed the murders around town. Again, the fact that the true culprit was increasingly easy to spot didn’t actually matter, as the fun of this show was simply going along with the digressions and peregrinations of the characters.

Some called it slow, but the pace was measured and there was plenty of incident. It was unpredictable, and the best horror soap on TV since Dark Shadows. The recently announced second season should add more depth to some of the outstanding mysteries and continue to develop the lives of these characters and of this town.

Verdict: Any show that dares to be different from the formulaic pap that colonises broadcast television should be welcomed. 7/10

Brian J. Robb

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