One of the more difficult aspects of the Netflix model is how to judge the network’s pick-ups and cancellations. Considering the company does not disclose any statistics regarding how many people actually watch its shows, commenting on whether or not the streaming giant’s decisions to renew or dismiss its programs is done with loosely-based theories rather than insightful commentary (though they usually don’t “cancel” shows — they just don’t renew them). It seems safe to assume that when a show is ordered or thrown off a cliff, it means it either worked or it didn’t. Netflix is, after all, a for-profit business.
So what do we make of the news released today? Netflix has renewed “Hemlock Grove” for a third season, but also stated that Season 3 will be its last. It’s both renewed its original horror show and canceled it, with one coming sooner than the other (which is always the case in the long run, but they’re not always announced together).
Fans can rest assured the tale of a small, haunted town they’ve been tracking for two years will be given a resolution, but how many fans are there? In its release, Netflix stated the second season was released to a “tremendous outpouring of fans,” and each and every quote provided mentioned or thanked “fans” in some way.
“We are so grateful to the fans of ‘Hemlock Grove’ who have championed the series so intensely over two seasons,” Executive Producer Eli Roth said. “We are looking forward to taking the last and final season into some dark and unexpected places, and to giving viewers the killer finale you’d come to expect from ‘Hemlock Grove.'”
Chris Eglee, another executive producer said he was “delighted” the fans “invited us back” for another season. (Is he equally delighted they didn’t invite him to stay longer?) Katie O’Connell, the CEO of the show’s production company Gaumont International Television, described the fan support as “amazing.”
Every one of Netflix’s 50 million+ subscribers may actually be watching “Hemlock Grove,” but we’ll never know. Instead, we’re left to gauge its appeal in other terms. The show has been met with mostly mixed reviews, skewing negative in its first season while evening out in the second, according to review aggregator RottenTomatoes.com. “Hemlock Grove” has just over 40,000 Twitter followers compared to 301,000 for “House of Cards” and 581,000 for “Orange is the New Black.” (333,000 like it on Facebook versus 1.2 million for “HoC” and nearly 2.8 million for “OITNB.”) It’s netted two Emmy nominations, but both were in the first season and both were for technical awards.
“Hemlock Grove” looks and feels like a dud for Netflix, but we couldn’t possibly report that. We couldn’t base our reporting on a feeling and we can’t say the reviews, social media numbers or its awards record are indicative of its success. Instead, we’ll leave the simple question to you, our dear readers: Do you watch “Hemlock Grove”?