Netflix may have had an uneven year, but they definitely aren’t half-assing their commitment to developing original programming. It started last March with the announcement that the rental giant had beaten out networks such as HBO and AMC for the rights to House of Cards, a new drama series from David Fincher and Kevin Spacey. Then they picked up the rights to Weeds creator Jenji Kohan’s new comedy Orange Is the New Black. Hell, they even did the seemingly impossible by announcing that Arrested Development would be returning from the dead in new episodes Netflix would host. Now a new original series joins Netflix’s rapidly growing original programming line-up, and it’s got yet another familiar name attached: Hostel director Eli Roth.

Deadline reports that Netflix is in the final stages of making a deal with Roth and Gaumont International Television to produce 13 episodes of the horror/thriller series Hemlock Grove. Roth will produce and direct the series, which will be based on Brian McGreevy’s upcoming novel, which is due out on March 27th. McGreevy is co-writing the adaptation himself, along with writing partner Lee Shipman. McGreevy and Shipman are breaking into screenwriting in a big way lately, with multiple projects in the works, including the King Arthur origin story Pendragon and a new take on the story of Dracula called Harker.

Netflix’s experiment with original programming is an exciting portent of things to come, so it will be fascinating to see how well it works. The potential audience is obviously there, but I still don’t know how hard it will be to introduce viewers to the concept of turning to Netflix for original shows, and spreading the word of what and when those shows will be. At the very least, they’re being very smart about making deals with proven talent (even if I’m not crazy about Roth) and diversifying the types of shows they’re picking up. If all goes well, Netflix might just be giving the traditional networks some serious competition in the next few years.

Here’s the book description of Hemlock Grove via Amazon:

The body of a young girl is found mangled and murdered in the woods of Hemlock Grove, Pennsylvania, in the shadow of the abandoned Godfrey Steel mill. A manhunt ensues -- though the authorities aren’t sure if it’s a man they should be looking for.

Some suspect an escapee from the White Tower, a foreboding biotech facility owned by the Godfrey family -- their personal fortune and the local economy having moved on from Pittsburgh steel—where some suspect that biological experiments of the most unethical kind take place. Others turn to Peter Rumancek, a Gypsy trailer-trash kid who has told impressionable high school classmates that he’s a werewolf. Or perhaps it’s Roman, the son of the late J. R. Godfrey, who rules the adolescent social scene with the casual arrogance of a cold-blooded aristocrat, his superior status unquestioned despite his decidedly freakish sister, Shelley, whose monstrous medical conditions belie a sweet intelligence, and his otherworldly, sexy control freak of a mother, Olivia. As the crime goes unsolved and the police seem more and more willing to believe any outlandish rumor, Peter and Roman decide the only way to save their own skins is to find the killer themselves. Along the way they uncover local secrets and designs that are much bigger than some small-town murder.

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