While GRIMM is not the first to extrapolate what would happen if those famously authored fairy tales were based on fact (nor is it the only one to hit the airwaves in 2011), it is the first TV series to turn that concept into a police procedural. But does it work?
Before we go on, you should know that I’ll be discussing general plot points but nothing particularly spoiler-y.
Ready? Ok, here we go.
The basic concept is that one morning while working on a particularly gruesome case, Detective Nick Burckhardt [David Giuntoli – TURN THE BEAT AROUND, PRIVILEGED] begins seeing weird things – namely people who’s faces momentarily turn monstrous when he looks at them. This coincides with a visit from his ill Aunt Marie [Kate Burton – LAW & ORDER, GREY’S ANATOMY] who’s time is swiftly running out and the revelation that he is part of a special bloodline. As an introduction to the mythology of GRIMM, the pilot does a good job of setting up what’s to come. You get an idea of what Burckhardt will be up against, some of the creatures that lurk about, and a good sense of who most, but not all, of the characters are.
Giuntoli does a good job as Burckhardt – he had some great reactions and there’s something about him that makes me immediately root for him (the fact that he looks like he could play Clark Kent/Superman certainly helps). Russell Hornsby [LINCOLN HEIGHTS, IN TREATMENT] plays Hank Griffin, Nick’s partner, and plays him very well. I suspect he’ll be responsible for a lot of great moments as the series goes along. He and Giuntoli have great chemistry and you believe they’ve known each other for a long time in their first scene together. There’s also Silas Weir Mitchell [2009’s HALLOWEEN II, MY NAME IS EARL, PRISON BREAK] as Eddie Monroe, a creature who’s walking the “straight and narrow.” Mitchell has a long history playing interesting, quirky characters and brings those skills here. The always enjoyable Sasha Roiz [CAPRICA, WAREHOUSE 13] plays Burckhardt and Mitchell’s boss, Captain Renard. We don’t get to see much of him but Roiz makes an impact when he is onscreen. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him and how he interacts with our hero. The one character I love more than any other is Aunt Marie. Burton absolutely knocks it out of the park and, like Roiz’s Renard, makes a huge impression with little screen-time.
Unfortunately Burckhardt’s girlfriend, Juliette Silverton, doesn’t have as great a showing (at least in the screener I saw – I’m not sure how much they’ve tweaked the final product). Bitsie Tulloch [LAKEVIEW TERRACE, QUARTERLIFE] does what she can but Juliette is given very little to do and there are no details given about her life other than her relationship with Burckhardt. From a storytelling point, I understand why – since the premiere is all about setting up the main character and the trajectory of the series, there wasn’t really any room for delving into Juliette’s life – but the lack of detail made me think she was going to be Winchestered at any moment(SUPERNATURAL viewers know what I’m talking about). At this point, it’s a 50/50 chance she survives through the fifth episode. If they do kill her, they’ll wait until we’ve been able to get emotionally attached.
So, does it work? Yes, there are some weak spots but the concept is strong enough that you don’t dwell on them. There are some dialogue exchanges that could’ve been stronger but, plot-wise, the pilot is pretty well paced and they revealed enough information for viewers to feel both well-informed and intrigued. Tonally, it’s quite serious most of the time – rightfully so considering what’s going on – but the writers need to be careful that GRIMM…well, isn’t all the time. Granted the original fairy tales weren’t even close to the Disney-fied versions we’re used to but there’s plenty of opportunity for some comedy, especially of the dark kind, and it would be a pity if they didn’t take advantage of it(once again, see SUPERNATURAL for a great example of this).
“Grimm” premieres on NBC on Friday, October 28th at 9 PM Eastern/Pacific.