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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Oh, Netflix, what will you do next?

I love that Netflix is getting into original programming now. The Kevin Spacey political drama House of Cards is apparently doing well with both the public and critics. I dig Spacey, so I watched the first couple of episodes. It was neat but not really my thing. Glad it's doing well, though. It's successes like this which will continue to pave the way for other original projects like the new season of Arrested Development that is slated to release exclusively on Netflix on Memorial Day 2013.

It's also opened the door for programming that would never see the light of day on regular cable TV. The original werewolf horror program Hemlock Grove, which sees release in just a few days, is going to make all the adult content on BBC America, AMC and FX look like Romper Room outtakes.

Here's the extremely NSFW Red Band trailer, which warns in advance that the trailer itself contains "mild fornication, fellatio, heavy cocaine use, lesbian necrophilia and violent hemorrhaging." ...Not sure what makes lesbian necrophilia worth pointing out specifically. Is it really any more deplorable than straight necrophilia?

Now that you've seen that, how about a closer look at that werewolf transformation. Note that the mythos of this show has already set itself apart from every other werewolf picture I've seen in that the beast really is quite literally within. Take a look at the show's logo. It gives a further clue as to what sets this show apart from other werewolf lore. Here's that transformation scene:

Yep. It started with his eyeballs being poked out by the new ones developing behind them. Then his wolf teeth pushed all the human ones out. That canine hair didn't grow out of his existing follicles. The hairy body ripped through the human flesh. Ew. Seriously.

As I was watching I asked myself, Really? How does this town explain all the bloody, fleshy, gooey human remains puddles scattered throughout the forest every full moon? Then the clip answered me. Ew. Again. Hey, transforming into a beautiful and deadly wolf makes a guy hungry.

I am not sure I am going to watch this show. I'll probably check out the first episode, but I'm in no rush to do so. I'm curious about the effects more than anything. And to find out how they work with those new twists to the old mythology. Oh, and to find out why the guy's friends aren't fearing for their lives as they witness that transformation.

Netflix deserves kudos anyway for striking out in this new direction. Scoring Spacey for their initial outing into original programming was a major plus for them. Grabbing the Arrested Development helm and running with that is probably a great move too. What's the angle on this one? Appeasing the Twilight crowd and the traditional horror fans all in one? Killer special effects? Pushing the envelope of taste further than even American Horror Story?

Time will tell if Hemlock Grove proves to be a success or a stumbling block. Either way, Netflix has taken the gloves off and is not messing around. It's poised to become a powerhouse in narrative visual media distribution (and creation).