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To me, Hemlock Grove is like a gorgeous dress that doesn't quite fit. You'll wear it anyway because you love the idea of it so much, but you'll always be aware that it just doesn't look as great as it could.
The premise and the script scream for camp and witty - a la Buffy or True Blood - but the direction tries to make it gritty and serious like it's The Sopranos. The problem is that the story lines are just too ridiculous for such a somber tone.
Joss Whedon found the perfect solution to this in the Buffyverse - he made it tongue-in-cheek so that the silly stuff could just be silly and still work, and when things got serious, we really cared. I feel like the director(s) of Hemlock Grove could learn a lesson from that way of making a supernatural/fantasy drama. Or, if they wanted to go the dark gritty road, I wish they'd done it like the much missed Carnivale and focused much more on character development, keeping the supernatural elements teasingly in the background.
That's not to say this isn't enjoyable because it is. It just keeps frustratingly missing the mark in its attempts to be far more earnest than the premise warrants.
Some of the acting comes across as pretty bad, but I'm not sure if that's the actor's faults so much as it's very difficult for them to deliver their lines in the tone the director wants.
I'd hoped the criticism the first season got would be taken on board for the second season, but aside from Famke Jannsen getting rid of the ridiculous accent, that doesn't seem to have been the case.
This could have been the next big thing in supernatural shows. It's got the cool creepy town like Vampire Diaries but without all the Dawson's Creek stuff that goes on in Mystic Falls. It's got some familiar and well loved supernatural entities, and some we've never seen before. Landon Liboiron is great in his role as the gypsy Peter and Joel de la Fuente gives a good performance in an original take on the mad scientist trope.
I just wish they'd either stick with the scripts they're writing but camp it up in tone, or stick with the dark and gritty tone but change the scripts to suit that.
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