I expected that I would like Grimm, NBC’s new fairy tale/mystery show paired up with Chuck on Friday nights. It is totally my kind of show, so I was pleasantly surprised with the number of things that they did right. If they can keep it up, NBC may have a new hit on their hands. Of course, there are also a few causes for concern, so I’m very interested to see where it they take it.
1. The premise is solid.
Everyone (and I do mean everyone) is familiar with fairy tales. This does mean that the idea itself isn’t terribly original—they’re not even the only new fairy tale set in the modern world on TV this fall. While Once Upon A Time is taking a more family-friendly approach, Grimm is seeking to take those comforting happy-ever-after stories and give them a more adult twist. It works because the original fairy tales were as creepy as heck, so the unsettling elements translate well into the world of police work. This isn’t like watching a Disney feature-length film, dearies. Since we all grew up with fairy tales, it’s fun to take these characters and look at them in a new way. Another asset is that they have opened themselves up to an expandable canon. Once Upon A Time has internal deadlines built in, with the rescue of the rescue of the king and queen hinging on the fact that Emma just turned 28, Grimm is taking the monster-of-the-week twist. (One thing I would like to see from Grimm, though, is a more involved season-long arc, something akin to the Gormogon in Bones.) Even when the more obvious fairy tales are used, there will still be plenty of obscure fairy tales to draw upon.
2. Affable leads.
Nick Burkhardt, as played by David Giuntoli, is an affable leading man. His reluctance and newness to the idea of being a Grimm—a hunter that works to fight the evil supernatural creatures—is a good way to introduce both the character and the watcher to what his new title entails. The question is, can bring a sense of valor and honor to the role? Based on his touching reaction upon finding the littlest red riding hood, I have high hopes that he can.
3. Fantastic setting.
I love the setting. The show takes place in Oregon and the dark skies and plentiful forests give it a sense of otherworldliness. (This is something that Once Upon A Time is also utilizing well—their story happens in Maine.) I was also impressed enough by the soundtrack to take note that the music director’s name is Richard Marvin. Well done, Richard Marvin!
4. Fight! Fight! Fight!
I’m a sucker for a good fight scene and it looks like there should be plenty of that. That was always one of my favorite parts of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so I’m personally thrilled to have a good TV smackdown against the bad guys back in my life. David Greenwalt, one of the co-creators, was involved with both Buffy and Angel. This bodes well for the show. Beyond the usual fistfight, it looks like there should also be some crazy weapons involved.
5. Everyone else.
I can’t say enough about the supporting cast. My favorite character is Eddie Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), as the reformed big, bad wolf. In addition to providing some much needed comic relief, he’s also a valuable resource. When he turned up in the pilot, I was relieved because at the halfway mark of the episode, I was starting to get a little bored. Then Eddie came along and things instantly got more intriguing and hilarious. Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby) is a supportive detective partner. I’m hoping to see more of why Hank and Nick have such trust and friendship for one another. We don’t know a ton about Nick’s girlfriend, Juliette. They dropped the tantalizing detail that Nick was going to propose to her, but since we have virtually no details on who she is as a person, I can’t tell you if that’s a good thing or not. On the other hand, Nick’s aunt Marie is this freaking awesome librarian that keeps a weapon closet in her trailer. Of course, she’s the one in the coma so I’m sure that’s going to work out just swell. Adalind Schade is the name of the beautiful demon and she’s got villainess potential.
For all of these reasons, I’m still a little worried. Here’s why.
1. The show is slated for Friday nights. Um, thanks for the vote of confidence, NBC. As if that weren’t enough, the show is slated against Fringe and Supernatural. The people that would be inclined to watch Grimm are probably already watching either Fringe or Supernatural. What little ratings they could garner are going to be even more divided. ABC, on the other hand, put Once Upon A Time on Sunday nights. The pilot picked up the highest ratings for any drama debut.
2. Fellow Film.com writer Ashley Warren covered how women are faring in the new fall shows and noted that Grimm doesn’t score so high. The boy’s club cast is going to be a turn-off for viewers that would like to see some totally capable damsels kick some butt, not damsels in distress every week. I’ve only seen one episode, so here’s to hoping that they fix that shortly. (Maybe Juliette didn’t get much story because she’s got some secrets of her own? Yeah, that’s probably not going to happen.)
3. The tendency in this show is to focus on the darker elements of the fairy tale. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but my concern is that in doing so, the heart of the fairy tale will be neglected. For all of the twisted and violent components of the original stories, there were also lessons to be learned and obstacles to be conquered. I’m not asking for an after school special, but I would like them to occasionally acknowledge the possibilities of happily ever after.
What did you think of the pilot? Will you be coming back for more?