Every fledgling network is bound to not always hit it out of the park. Three years ago Netflix was coming into its own as a streaming site, previously having been a DVD renting-by-mail superpower. To prove its staying power the site decided to experiment with original content. Its first effort was a show called Lilyhammer. I wish I could tell you what it’s about, but I can’t and I have yet to meet anyone else who is able to. And then came the show that revolutionized streaming original television shows: House of Cards. With an incredible cast, a respected director and creator, and compelling storyline, the show could only have hit it out of the park. Later that summer came Orange is the New Black, which was also an immediate success. In between the two, though, was Hemlock Grove, which debuted to smaller fanfare and never received much attention or water-cooler discussion. Why? Well, simply put, the show was awful. There was something weirdly entertaining about the show, though. The series was visually captivating and a lot of effort was made to create spooky scenes. The cast had industry veterans Famke Janssen, Lili Taylor, and Dougray Scott as supporting characters to the two teenage protagonists. Vampires and werewolves were enjoying a moment of particular attention in popular culture. However, the storyline barely made any sense. The only thing that brought me back was the ridiculous and unintentionally hilarious dialogue that was ultimately so unbelievable and surreal that I had to wonder how much laughing gas everyone involved had aspirated while working on the project. Season 2 came a year later and in a different month, already proving that the network had little hope for this show and that there was not much of an audience clamoring for more. The second season was more grounded, but ultimately more boring. The storyline was still confusing and clunky. Netflix announced a third and final season which arrived a few weeks ago.
Season 3 picks up a few weeks following the events of the second season finale. Roman’s daughter is missing, along with Miranda, and are both being held prisoners by Dr. Spivak, who had turned into a bizarre bat creature. Peter is finally a member of a community, working with his future cousin-in-law Andreas who is dangerously getting involved in illegal activity. Shelley doesn’t fit in at home, so decides to be homeless and falls for a charismatic man with cult-like tendencies. Olivia comes down with a disease that was orchestrated by Dr. Spivak to kill all upirs (vampires). A mysterious young woman shows up in town and connects with Roman. Dr. Pryce is drug addicted and in full Dr. Frankenstein mode. As the episodes progress so does the crazy. Except that the crazy is repetitive and at this point expected, which ultimately turns into boring rather quickly. The stakes are extremely low, everyone is so unlikable that if someone were to die nobody would care, characters that mattered in previous seasons are completely forgotten. Janssen gets most of the attention this season and does some major scenery chewing, even getting to play with an imaginary friend. It was hard to stay awake and make it through the season. Mostly a need to see it through kept me going. If completion is the goal, then by all means watch it, but with so many better shows out there, this one can be ignored and will quickly be forgotten as a misstep by a network with so many hits that it can be forgotten the occasional flop, and what a flop this one is.