So I've given both the Netflix Original Series "House of Cards" and "Hemlock Grove" a viewing. It's hard to describe how I think they come across, except I feel like they are trying too hard at me, which I do not enjoy. That said, I watched "Hemlock Grove" most recently, and I am all full of What The Fuck about it.
There is some cool animation on this show, but it is entirely of the gore/horror variety. There are some werewolves, and they literally shed their human bodies/skins when they change. There's a lot of flesh-cutting, an episode where it seemed like everyone threw up something disgusting every five minutes. But when it's not being all gross in your face, it's very pretty to look at. Prettier than and less gross than "The Walking Dead." But like "The Walking Dead," I cannot give enough of a fuck about the weak plot and writing to watch another season.
It's a show about Big-G Good and Big-B Bad. It tries to act like there's some conflict/complexity in the characters, but doesn't pull it off. There are enough Good Girls dead from the first season that if they do other seasons they will obviously bring one or more of them back as a Bad Girl. It will fail to pull that off too because this show is mad tropey without being aware of its tropey-ness.
*SPOILERS AHEAD, DUH!*
First of all, it's fucking vampires? All this potentially-cool monstery shit and it just turns out that even though this monster wears all white all the time, is definitely some kind of mad scientist in her spare time, and reproduces biologically, she is just some other kind of vampire? The adolescent boy who is such a weirdo, maybe some kind of monster, and smears his own blood on someone the first time he's onscreen is just another vampire? At least now I know I'm being set up for a Frankenstein's Monster if the show ever devotes any real time to Shelley (subtle!). I cannot believe what a sucker I am for thinking there was going to be some inspired-by-Pan's-Labyrinth invention of a monster.
The way this show deals with women is, in my opinion, especially tropey bullshit. The genuinely-bad Bad Boy Who Wants To Be Good, Roman, commits an overtly intentional and graphically portrayed rape, in a "proving to myself that I am evil," scene. He has these pre-vampire powers that allow him to control other people's minds/alter their memories, which he does to his victim. We never see an inkling of her perspective, except what little was shown to make clear that it was a rape. So, rape-as-male-character-development. And it seemed that the show was like "OMG we're EDGY for showing you this." Awesome. Well, consider me the PC Police because that was some bullshit, "Hemlock Grove."
Not only does *Roman never appear to have a problem with what he has done, it turns out he has done it before—to his cousin Letha (who might be his sister) who he impregnated when he raped her, and gave her the memory of having sex with an angel. Which seemed like a thing that might have actually happened because the character is so Big-G Good. Roman's rape victims were fodder on his Journey To Evil, and it annoys me to death that the show used that act as the line the "monster" crosses that other men don't. As always, "Buffy" did it better. There's an episode in the season following Spike's attempt to rape Buffy where they talk about it, and it is brilliant television. The most likely scenario on "Hemlock Grove" is that Letha is brought back to life, is evil, and gets all sexy on Roman and makes him uncomfortable. She'll probably remember the rape and say she wanted it.
Pregnant Good Girl Letha hooks up with perceived-as-bad Bad Boy Who Is Good, Peter, in the only positive sexual relationship in the entire show. It's super sexy. So of course she has to die in childbirth, possibly having birthed a vampire since it was Roman's baby.
Plain-Looking Goody-Goody With Hot Friends Christina steps out of line ONE TIME, and she turns into a mentally defective werewolf that targets hot women who have sex/enjoy their own hotness and shreds them to pieces, crotch first. What The Fuck.
God's Warrior Struggling With Her Path turns out to be a lesbian, so of course she has to die. I swear to God...
Usually, I'll give a show at least two seasons before I decide I really do or don't like it, but I don't want to get to know any new vampires, y'all. And can we stop with the "Girls who have sex die" thing? Hasn't that been done to death? Is t.v. writing really like the episode of "South Park" where a bunch of manatees who group balls with words on them together are script writers?
*"Roman"? Is this "Days of Our Lives"? What the Fuck name is that?