Grimm comes to NBC tonight, and while viewers probably feel they have all the information they need from the previews, there may be more here than most think… though I’m not sure what.
Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) is a Portland detective, and as far as he’s concerned, life is going along rather smoothly. There have been a few minor hiccups recently, like seeing people’s faces turn into strange, monster visages, but other than that, he’s doing fine. The job is going well, and things are working out with his girlfriend.
We witness some even stranger events, as people are seemingly attacked by werewolves and other foul creatures, but it’s business as usual for Nick.
Then his aunt shows up with her strange camper in tow, and tells them they need to talk. She has some explaining to do about the family, and she asks Nick if he’s “been seeing strange things lately.”
Well, long story short, it turns out that Nick is the last surviving member of the Grimm family, and all those stories the Grimm Brothers wrote were more of a cross between a family album and a monster-hunter guide, and the whole fairy tale bastardization was more to hide the truth than anything. In fairness, if you read the original stories, and not many have, there is more chance of losing your lunch than tucking in children.
Now Nick, investigating a death that is described by way of the always popular “some sort of animal attack,” has to come to grips with the fact that not only are monsters really out there, but they’re everywhere.
The show is actually a very odd mixture, and not just for the obvious reasons. The pilot gives the impression that the writers aren’t absolutely sure where they want to go with things, and as a result the audience finds themselves moved in a lot of directions. It’s fairly serious through a lot of moments, focusing on the murder from the “cop” perspective, and it is largely outlandish, to the point of being campy, during many others.
Nick hooks up with a “good guy” werewolf (Silas Weir Mitchell) eventually, and he seems to serve mostly as a kind of comic relief. The mood and set design switch from your normal world (with perhaps spookier lighting), to an almost surreal fantasy infusion in a way that is almost rather brilliant, but the switches come at you in such a way that is hard to appreciate. As we get to the stage where we are closing in on the bad guy, it’s hard to know what to make of anything. Is the show somewhat serious? Is it looking to beef up the “guilty pleasure” efforts (like Buffy or such) just enough that it somehow passes a legitimacy test?
The trouble with the show (and don’t get me wrong, because it’s kind of fun), is that I’m not sure how it wants me to take it, and a quirky show that isn’t solidified in its effort is going to have trouble reeling people in. If it just went straight with the campy goof route, I think the show would have more going for it. Sure, throw more money at it, get some actors who can lend some real weight, especially as the guests, because a lot of people are obviously going to get whacked in the show, and let things fly. But, so far anyway, I’m not sure that’s what we have.
My initial reaction is that it is trying so hard to meet the requirements of being serious and straight-faced enough to be on primetime, and camptastic enough to bring in the genre fans, that it isn’t quite managing to be either.
Worse, I have a feeling that at best there’s only room for either Grimm or Once Upon A Time (though neither is the most probable outcome), and if that’s the case, the outlook is grim indeed.
On the other hand, the actors are playing things out pretty well, and there is a chance that the pilot doesn’t do the series justice. If we leave room for the fact that pilots of such shows are extremely tricky (what with spitting out the foundation for the nonsense), and give this one a chance for a few episodes, it could well be that things turn around completely. In fact, given a race after six or so episodes air, I might be inclined to lean toward Grimm over Once, just because the further adventures seem more clear.
In that future estimation, Grimm seems like it could win out toward being a decent show. Focusing on the episodic elements of whatever murder is next in the line, whatever new beastie is causing trouble, and Nick’s efforts to keep his worlds from crashing is the sort of effort that could pan out if done right. At that point, it could get some “cult” love behind it, if things deliver in a way that can hook.
Now the question is, are those people on the fence going to invest in the possibility, when it’s equally likely to get axed after three episodes? Or, should they?
Right now, the whole thing is a bit stagy, and it comes over almost as a bet that ran out of control. I have certain hopes, but the key to such shows is fun, and there isn’t that much fun to be had, yet.
Twitter: www.Twitter.com/NBCGrimm, #Grimm
Behind-the-Scenes Special Effects
“Grimm” is a new drama series inspired by the classic Grimm’s Fairy Tales.Portland homicide Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli, “Turn The Beat Around”) discovers he is descended from an elite line of criminal profilers known as “Grimms,” charged with keeping balance between humanity and the mythological creatures of the world.
As he tries to hide the dangers of his new found calling from his fiancé, Juliette Silverton, (Bitsie Tulloch, “quarterlife”), and his partner, Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby, “Lincoln Heights”), he becomes ever more entrenched in the ancient rivalries and alliances of the Grimm world.
With help from his confidant, Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell, “Prison Break”), a reformed Grimm creature himself, Nick must navigate through the forces of a larger-than-life mythology, facing off with Hexenbiests, Blutbads and all manner of ancient evils, including royal lines dating back to the original profilers themselves, The Grimm Brothers. Reggie Lee (“Persons Unknown”) and Sasha Roiz (“Caprica”) also star.