Hemlock Grove (TV series)
Season 1 title card
|Created by||Brian McGreevy
(based on his novel)
|Written by||Brian McGreevy
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||23 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Eli Roth
Charles H. Eglee
Michael A. Connolly
|Location(s)||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Running time||45–58 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Gaumont International Television
|Picture format||1080i (16:9 HDTV)|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original run||April 19, 2013– present|
Hemlock Grove is an American Netflix Original horror thriller television series. The show is executive produced by Eli Roth, developed by Brian McGreevy and Lee Shipman, and is a production of Gaumont International Television. It is based on McGreevy's novel of the same name. The show premiered April 19, 2013, with all 13 episodes made immediately available for online viewing.
The show examines the strange happenings in Hemlock Grove, a fictional town in Pennsylvania. Roman Godfrey, heir to the town's wealthy Godfrey family, befriends the town's newcomer, Peter Rumancek. Recent brutal murders in the town have stirred up rumors, and the two work together to shed light on the case while also hiding their own dark secrets.
On June 19, 2013, Netflix renewed Hemlock Grove for a second season of 10 episodes, to air in 2014. On July 18, 2013, Netflix earned the first Primetime Emmy Award nominations for original online only web television for the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in 2013. Three of its online original series - Arrested Development, Hemlock Grove, and House of Cards - earned nominations.
The series is set in the town of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania. The town is a mixture of extreme wealth and poverty, as the closing of the town's steel mill many years earlier caused many to lose their jobs. The town's main sources of employment are now the Godfrey Institute for Biomedical Technologies and Hemlock Acres Hospital. Heading the Institute - which is rumored to conduct sinister experiments on a daily basis - is the imposing Olivia Godfrey (Famke Janssen), while Hemlock Acres' lead psychiatrist is Olivia's dead husband's brother, Dr. Norman Godfrey (Dougray Scott).
As season one opens, the town's rumor mill turns even more twisted, as two teenage girls are brutally killed and their bodies left for unsuspecting people to find the next day. Peter Rumancek (Landon Liboiron) a 17-year-old roma boy, is suspected of the crimes by some of the townsfolk; he is also rumored to be a werewolf. While secretly he is a werewolf, he is not the killer, and, along with the heir to the Godfrey estate, the troubled Roman Godfrey (Bill Skarsgård), he sets out to solve the mystery.
Rounding out the main cast of characters of the first season are Norman's daughter and Roman's cousin, the beautiful, pregnant, Letha Godfrey (Penelope Mitchell) who claims the father of her unborn child is an angel from Heaven, and Christina Wendall (Freya Tingley), a lonely girl who becomes interested in Peter.
For season two, two former supporting characters were promoted to the main cast of characters: Peter's con-artist older cousin Destiny (Tiio Horn), who makes her living as a psychic medium, and Dr. Johann Pryce (Joel de la Fuente), the lead scientist of the Godfrey Institute, a brilliant but ruthless man of science, gifted with super-strength. A cult has arisen that is bent on destroying the supernatural creatures in Hemlock Grove by any means necessary. To make matters worse, both Peter and Roman struggle with their nature, as Peter risks becoming the same killer from the first season and Roman, after his full immersion with his true nature in the first season, has developed an insatiable hunger to kill. As they fight their enemies and deal with their situations, they must also deal with the monsters they are becoming, or have already become.
- Famke Janssen as Olivia Godfrey
- Bill Skarsgård as Roman Godfrey
- Landon Liboiron as Peter Rumancek
- Madeleine Martin as Shelley Godfrey
- Penelope Mitchell as Letha Godfrey (Season 1)
- Freya Tingley as Christina Wendall (Season 1)
- Tiio Horn as Destiny Rumancek (Season 2; recurring season 1)
- Joel de la Fuente as Dr. Johann Pryce (Season 2; recurring season 1)
- Dougray Scott as Dr. Norman Godfrey
- Lili Taylor as Lynda Rumancek, Peter's mother and confidant.
- Kandyse McClure (season 1) as Dr. Clementine Chasseur, a mysterious woman arriving in Hemlock Grove to investigate the killings.
- Laurie Fortier as Marie Godfrey, Norman's wife, and the mother of Letha.
- Aaron Douglas (season 1) as Tom Sworn, the sheriff of Hemlock Grove.
- Ted Dykstra (season 1) as Francis Pullman, the "village idiot", claiming to have witnessed unspeakable things.
- Nicole Boivin (season 1) and Madeleine Martin (season 2), as Shelley Godfrey, Roman's heavily deformed, but good-hearted, sister. While Boivin and Martin are the main actresses portraying the character, Shelley's remarkably large figure is provided, while seen from a distance, by Amazon Eve for the first five episodes, and by Michael Andreae thereafter.
- Demore Barnes as Michael Chasseur, Clementine's brother.
- Luke Camilleri as Andreas Vasilescu (season 2)
- JC MacKenzie as Dr. Arnold Spivak (season 2)
- Madeline Brewer as Miranda Cates (season 2)
- Shauna MacDonald as Dr. Galina Zhelezhnova-Burdukovskaya (formerly Alyona Potyomkina-Zosimova) (season 2), a brilliant Russian scientist working under Dr. Pryce.
- Eliana Jones and Emilia McCarthy as Alexa and Alyssa Sworn, Sheriff Sworn's twin daughters, and Christina's best friends.
- Holly Deveaux as Jenny Fredericks, a local convenience store clerk.
- Don Francks as Nicolae Rumancek, Peter's deceased grandfather. Seen in flashbacks.
- Philip Craig as the Bishop, a contact of Clementine's.
- Alanis Peart as Mrs. Pisarro, Peter's and Roman's English teacher.
- Emily Piggford as Ashley Valentine, a schoolmate of Roman's, developing a crush on him.
- Jacqueline Graham as Lisa Willoughby, a local girl who becomes the second murder victim.
- Paul Popowich as JR Godfrey, Roman's deceased father, husband of Olivia, and brother of Norman. Seen in flashbacks.
- Landon Norris as Tyler, a fellow schoolmate, with a romantic interest in Christina.
- Joe Bostick as Vice Principal Spears, the Vice Principal of the local highschool.
- Lorenza Izzo as Brooke Bluebell, a local girl, whose brutal murder opens the series.
- Marty Adams, William deVry, Jasmin Geljo, Ashleigh Harrington and Dylan Trowbridge portray the town's Deputy Sheriffs, nicknamed respectively Neck, Chin, Moustache, Lips, and Nose.
|Season||Episodes||Originally streamed||DVD and Blu-ray release date|
|Season premiere||Season finale||Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|1||13||April 19, 2013||October 7, 2014||April 21, 2014||N/A|
|2||10||July 11, 2014||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Development and production
In December 2011, Deadline.com reported that Netflix and Gaumont International Television were finalizing a deal for a 13-episode series order for Hemlock Grove. The project was officially announced in March 2012. Eli Roth serves as an executive producer and will direct the pilot, Jellyfish In the Sky. Deran Sarafian, who signed on in mid-March as an executive producer/series director, directed six episodes.
After McGreevy pushed for the series to be filmed in the Pittsburgh area, production was expected to start in early June 2012 and last until November. In mid May, Gaumont International Television pulled out of Pennsylvania in favor of production at the Cinespace Film Studios in Toronto. The move came about after Gaumont management had a misunderstanding on how the Pennsylvania Film Tax Credit program works. Filming began on July 13, 2012 in Port Perry, Ontario; a small town about 40 miles (63 km) northeast of Toronto that has been transformed to look like Hemlock Grove, the fictional Western Pennsylvania town the series is set in.
The budget for the first season of Hemlock Grove is reportedly about $45 million.
Filming took place in Toronto at St Clair and Yonge at the Deer Park United Church and in Hamilton, Ontario at Hamilton Cemetery. Hemlock Grove High School was filmed at Ursula Franklin Academy/ Western Technical Commercial School in Toronto. It was also filmed in Oshawa at the Parkwood Estate; the opening scene of Season 1, Episode 1 is on Queen Street in Port Perry, Ontario.
In March, Netflix announced that Famke Janssen and Bill Skarsgård would star in the series, Janssen as Olivia Godfrey and Skarsgård as her son, Roman Godfrey. In early April 2012, it was revealed that Peter Rumancek would be portrayed by Landon Liboiron. On April 4, Penelope Mitchell was cast as Roman's cousin, Letha Godfrey. Freya Tingley was cast as Christina Wendall on April 10. On April 12, Dougray Scott was announced as Dr. Norman Godfrey, Olivia's brother-in-law and Letha's father. On July 2, Lili Taylor was cast as Peter Rumancek's mother, and Kandyse McClure was cast as Dr. Chasseur. Aaron Douglas was cast as Sheriff Sworn on July 8. In late July 2012, Kaniehtiio Horn joined the cast as Destiny Rumancek.
Hemlock Grove has received generally mixed to negative reviews from critics, with a Metacritic score of 46/100.
Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times called Hemlock Grove "terrible", and Alison Willmore of IndieWire, "a mess". Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the series an F, calling it "a shockingly inane misstep, a ponderous mess." Dante D'Orazio of The Verge said the show was "universally panned" on account of its "poor acting, slow plot development, and ... style that's off-key." Patrick Smith of The Daily Telegraph said that Hemlock Grove was "corny and emphatically less profound than it thinks it is", giving it two out of five stars overall. James Poniewozik of Time listed the series as one of the worst ten things on television in 2013.
On the other hand, David Hiltbrand of the Philadelphia Inquirer said that the show "manages to be lush, gross, frightening, and ridiculous--all at the same time." Tom Gliatto of People Weekly reviewed the series positively, with a score of 75 out of 100: "The acting is good, especially Bill Skarsgard and Landon Liboiron.... I like the show's languid, dreamlike beauty, but horror fans may be less patient." Jessica Shaw of Entertainment Weekly gave the series a B+. CNet reports that Netflix users have rated the series a 4/5.
Hemlock Grove received two nominations for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music and Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects at the 65th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
- Event Coverage: Eli Roth & Brian McGreevy Talk Hemlock Grove
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- Madeline Brewer's instagram
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- A teen scarefest that looks like a big-screen movie
- 'Hemlock Grove' review: Gory Netflix series has beating heart
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- Hemlock Grove