Continuing a bid to compete with major television networks, Netflix has recruited some big names to create “Hemlock Grove,” a series set to debut exclusively through the company’s instant streaming service next year. The show, adapted from a novel of the same name by Brian McGreevy, will be directed by horror movie mastermind Eli Roth and star Famke Janssen and Bill Skarsgard.
Netflix says the 13-episode premiere season will introduce viewers to strange inhabitants and stranger goings-on in the titular Pennsylvania town, where werewolves and the dark side of high society (is there any other kind?) blur together:
“Hemlock Grove” starts with the body of a young girl, mangled and murdered in the shadow of the former Godfrey steel mill. Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a biotech facility owned by the former steel magnates. Others believe the killer could be Peter, a 17-year-old Gypsy kid from the wrong side of the tracks, who tells his classmates he’s a werewolf. Or it could be Roman (Skarsgard), the arrogant Godfrey scion, whose sister Shelley is disturbingly deformed and whose mother, Olivia (Janssen), the otherworldly beautiful and controlling grand dame of Hemlock Grove.
Roth, also serving as executive producer for the series, is more than happy to find a new home at Netflix. “Hemlock Grove” marks the auteur’s freshman attempt at creating content for the small screen.
“What’s most exciting to me is creating the series for Netflix, which as a feature filmmaker is like telling a story in a new medium,” said Roth. “Netflix as a platform is the perfect hybrid of cinema, television, and social networking, with the creative freedom to go as dark as the story needs.”
It’s unlikely Roth, who made audiences squeal in disgust with his 2005 breakout film “Hostel,” will go too dark, however. Netflix wants to draw in viewers after all, not scare them off.
“Lilyhammer,” Netflix’s first original series, debuted on February 6. Future exclusives also in the works for the next two years include a new season of canned Fox comedy “Arrested Development,” an Americanized version of British mini-series “House of Cards” and the adaptation of prison memoir “Orange is the New Black.”