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Netflix kicks off latest original series 'Hemlock Grove'

All 13 episodes of Netflix's newest original series are available for streaming starting Friday.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Netflix has launched its third original series with Friday's debut of "Hemlock Grove."

Following its usual strategy, the video rental service has made all 13 episodes of "Hemlock Grove" available in one shot, so people can watch them at their own pace.

Based on a 2012 novel written by Brian McGreevy, "Hemlock Grove" is a supernatural thriller that takes place in a small Pennsylvania town where a teenage girl is murdered, and the town casts an eye at many of its more eccentric residents as potential suspects.

The series itself was developed by McGreevy and Lee Shipman. Actor Eli Roth is the executive producer and directed the pilot episode. The show stars actors Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgard, Landon Liboiron, and Penelope Mitchell.

The horror series follows last year's debut of "Lilyhammer," the first original Netflix series, and this year's "House of Cards." Up next is the revival of cult favorite "Arrested Development," which is slated to arrive on May 26.

Will "Hemlock Grove" be able to capture the success of "House of Cards?"

The horror genre is a tricky one. Certainly the appeal of the Twilight books and movies shows that there's an audience for supernatural fare. Horror and fantasy shows have also found a niche on TV.

But Netflix is devoting a lot of money to "Hemlock Grove" with a reported first-season budget of around $45 million. More than 1,400 Netflix viewers of the show have so far given it a rating of 3.9 stars out of 5. Early reviews, however, are giving it more of a thumb's down.

Hitflix called it "a lot of crazy, crazy ideas hurled out there with no real thought given to pace or tone or how to mesh them all together." The Daily Beast dubbed the show "dreadful." And the New York Times said the series is "so concerned with atmosphere and mood that it barely gets around to telling its story."