This friday marks the debut of Grimm, NBC’s new entry into the ever popular genre of fairy tale detectives trapped in contemporary Portland.
The show’s premise involves the historic bloodline of the brothers Grimm, which allows normal humans to see beyond the fog of reality and reveal the true nature of the fantastical creatures that walk among us. “The stories are real,” if you will. These creatures have their own histories, politics, and often unpleasant criminal ambitions.
Grimm has been marketed heavily as a byproduct of the producers of Buffy and Angel. This is primarily a result of the involvement of David Greenwalt, who worked with Whedon starting in the third season of Buffy. He later co-created Angel, acting as showrunner for its first three seasons (i.e. the period largely before it became convoluted with long, melodramatic story arcs). This is good news for Grimm, which is likely to adhere to a monster of the week formula for the majority of its initial episodes. Other executive producers include Jim Kouf (co-creator), Sean Hayes, and Todd Milliner.
The cast is fronted by David Giuntoli as Detective Nick Burkhardt, who discovers he’s “one of the last Grimms”. The rest of the ensamble is made up largely of fresh faces. This is another potential win for Grimm, allowing the opportunity to establish characters without worrying about typecasting or per-conceived notions. That said, the characters thus far appear archetypal. Our hero is a doe eyed, upstanding individual just waiting for destiny to be thrust upon him. His partners include a tough yet skeptical fellow detective and a wise-cracking wolf guy. The love of his life (at least initially) must at all costs be protected from the truth of what he is; creating the inevitable tension between occupation and love. His aunt, who manages to tell his juuuuuust enough before conveniently slipping in to a coma, is mysterious and knowledgeable. I can’t help but think I’ve seen all of these before in one form or another.
Initial reviews have been mixed, and I can see why. The production is tailored almost exclusively to genre fans, and the initial footage from the pilot relies a bit more on general exposition than it should. That isn’t to say that Grimm doesn’t have potential, though. The characters have room to grow, and if their development gets the attention it deserves the show could transcend its niche. For now, I’d take a look at the extended preview, it will definitely give you a good indication if this is your type of show.
I myself am going to give it a chance. If nothing else, it may help sate my inherent desire for at least an hour a week of monster hunting. Expect a more in depth review after a few episodes have aired.
You can catch Grimm starting Friday, October 28th at 9pm EST on NBC. Check your local listings.