‘Hemlock Grove’ Showrunner Chic Eglee On Binge Watching, Horror Scenes
Chic Eglee, the showrunner for the Netflix original series Hemlock Grove and previously for Dexter, knows what it takes to make a great horror series. “Coming in to it, I really felt that the season needed a unifying element that would drive the story, that would motor the story,” Elgee told uInterview exclusively.
Hemlock Grove, along with Netflix other series Orange Is The New Black and House of Cards, is a major cause of “binge watching,” viewing an entire season of a show in a single sitting. “It just makes for an efficiency in storytelling because you’re telling a story to an audience that’s conversant to what’s going on,” Eglee said. “It’s a lot more fun to write for.”
Season 2 of Hemlock Grove is now available for streaming on Netflix for binge watching.
Leave a comment
Well, I wouldn’t want to speculate about last season because I wasn’t involved in the imagining of it. I just know that this season, coming in to it, I really felt that the season needed a unifying element that would drive the story, that would motor the story, and so really taking a page from the Dexter playbook: what’s the “Big Bad,” and how does that set all of our different characters in motion? It was kind of intriguing to me that the “Big Bad” actually comes from the outside and intrudes into this world. We look at the conflict through the proscenium of Hemlock Grove, but there is a sense of the world impinging on this place. And we did that because we really wanted to locate Hemlock Grove in the world; this is not on another planet and it’s not in its own magical realm, “Hemlock Grove” is a town in western Pennsylvania. So the idea that the world could show up there seemed like an interesting way to approach the storytelling in this season.
You know, I haven’t read Brian’s novel, quite intentionally, by design. When I was working on Dexter, I never read any of the Dexter novels. When I was working on The Shield, I never watched The Wire. I just wanted this show to exist in its pure essence, and let the show that was there, the characters kind of tell us what the show wanted to be. So it was really coming into it and listening to what those characters would do or want to do given the situations and circumstances they were confronting. Olivia being attacked so viciously by her son. Shelly having been on the run. How does each of those circumstances set characters in motion?
Well, I think binge watching is most definitely a positive thing. I think Netflix took their page from what we were all doing anyway, which is: you’re busy, you’re working hard, and you wait for the box set to come out so you can sit down and watch Breaking Bad Season 1 all in one gulp. You just have one incredibly intense, adrenalized weekend. So from that point of view, it’s great as an audience member, as a writer on the other side of the camera. It’s great because it just means that you’re dealing with a literate audience. You don’t have to get them up to speed on what they might have missed last week or whatever. So it just makes for an efficiency in storytelling because you’re telling a story to an audience that’s conversant to what’s going on; it’s a lot more fun to write for.
I leave that for the sociologists. I read an article somewhere talking about the surfeit of horror of movies that came out of the Reagan era and the social forces at work, and the zeitgeist that gave rise to all these horror movies. I wouldn't want to speculate as to why these shows are popular. Each one of them came out of a place in time. The Shield came out the Rampart Division scandal. Dexter is a referendum on the death penalty this country, albeit a black comedy. Hemlock Grove is a family show, people just struggling to try to be a family given their various pathologies that they’re afflicted with, whether it be vampirism or lycanthropy or birth defects, that kind of thing.
Get the most-revealing celebrity conversations with the uInterview podcast!