I’ve been on a bit of a bender. For a week, I sucked down episodes of Netflix’s Hemlock Grove like the strung-out sci-fi fantasy junkie that I am. The night before I finished the last two episodes–a mere six days after my first taste–a friend asked me if Hemlock Grove was any good. And I had to admit that I still wasn’t sure.
It’s been a strange sort of addiction all along. People talk about chasing the high of the first hit, but that’s not our story. At the end of episode one, I had little more than a grudging hope for a novel(ish) approach to building supernatural universe–these things have rules, after all, and for me the rules are where it’s at–and something like a pang of brand loyalty for bad guys played by the brooding, blond Skarsgard brothers.
On these promises, the series delivered with some regularity if with not much panache. Skarsgard the youngest (Bill, 23, with something like the commanding shoulders but not quite the easy charm of brother Alexander and a dash of brother Gustaf‘s ability to turn his countenance from impish to menacing and back again before you’re sure his face has moved at all) varies from fine to excellent. He manages to put across a fairly unlikeable and deeply implausible character such that you start to blame the material for his weaker moments. (Does anyone think that even a rich kid in a red Porsche can get away with wearing a sport coat to high school everyday without seeming more douchey than anything else? Even James Spader could barely pull that off 25 years ago.)
Turns out that the werewolves were excellent throughout. Continue reading More Afraid of Women than the Big Bad Wolf?