Netflix launched its most recent original series today, following Lillyhammer from last year and the David Fincher-created House of Cards. As with previous releases, all 13 of the episodes of Hemlock Grove arrive at the same time, so you can gorge yourself on a non-stop feast of guilty pleasure pretty much all weekend.
Guilty pleasure is more or less what this show is all about. There are boobs within 45 seconds of the beginning of the very first episode. Less than five minutes in, shit starts to get weird, and it’s grossly violent within seven. And there’s a character called Banksy, which seems a completely unnecessary and nonsensical pop culture reference. But for all that, it’s still eminently watchable, based on the first episode.
Here’s how I imagine the development of this show went behind the scenes at Netflix: People search for True Blood on Netflix in droves and are disappointed to find it’s not there; people rent a lot of Twilight; people rent a lot of procedural dramas; vaguely sexy stuff does well, and viewers love Famke Janssen.
It’s very hard to credit Hemlock Grove as original, but it doesn’t seem to concerned about earning that descriptor, either. Still, the movie has quite the act to follow with House of Cards, which quickly rose to become Netflix’s most-watched program. Netflix is already doing its part to promote the series, with large banner ads displayed across its web interfaces (which, to Netflix’s credit, only appear to be displayed once), and on some third-party devices like the Boxee TV. Also, this potentially has a much more broad appeal than a dense political drama, which helps its chances of showing up its predecessor.
I highly doubt Hemlock Grove is going to take home any little golden statuettes, but I will say it’s hard to stop watching once you start.