The CW’s Supernatural has more often than not mastered the mix of being a serialized drama driven by a running mythology and a crime procedural with the twist on crimes being committed by supernatural creatures.
NBC’s Grimm hopes to be able to do the same thing and judging from the pilot, it seems they are off to a good start.
Grimm focuses on homicide detective Nick Burkhardt (Dave Giuntoli) as he finds out he is one of the last “Grimms,” hunters that protect the world from storybook creatures straight out of the pages of the Brothers Grimm. The hook is that the creatures from those Grimm fairy tales are real and walk among us and our hero Nick must protect us from those creatures.
The first episode begins with Nick and partner Hank (Russell Hornsby) on a routine case. He begins seeing strange things including monstrous faces appearing on people he passes by on the street and at the station. He then gets the shock of his life when his Aunt Marie tells him of his lineage after an attack.
The premiere does try its best to complete the basic setup for the series and while a little rough, once we get the initial foundation in place, the series should be able to move forward quickly. With the hundreds of fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm, the series should have no trouble finding stories to tell.
The series itself has a great visual presentation, helped in large part by being set in Portland. The fog, the trees, the dampness all make for an intriguingly atmospheric setting. During the day, it feels ominous and eerie. At night, dark and frightening. Contemporary, modern life contrasted with misty fantastical forests. Actually filming on location in Oregon contributes a great deal to the show.
Giuntoli does a good job with Nick as the likeable hero who gets thrown for a loop, the kind of hero that gets thrust into responsibility but you know they’ll rise up to the challenge. Plus he and Hornsby so far have a nice chemistry. The darkness lightens up though with the help of Silas Weir Mitchell as Eddy, a reformed “big bad wolf” who helps Nick solve his first supernatural case and is a welcome part of the show.
If you’re looking for royalty and the traditional fairy tale, you might want to check out that other new fairy tale show. Grimm on the other hand evokes a sense of fantasy that could just as well exist in our own everyday world. The crimes ground the series while the creation of this world in which Grimms have been fighting off creatures for a few hundred years gives it that hook that makes it different and fresher than the sea of crime procedurals on television today. And having the series be that grounded actually helps it be that much more magical.
In contrast with Supernatural the series, Grimm seems to be a little more straight forward when it comes to its crime procedural side than Supernatural, whose strength really is more on the sibling relationship and the greater mythology (as its focus has shifted over the last 7 years).
Grimm is as much a mystery/crime drama as it is fantasy and supernatural and more of an adventure as well. Delving into the history and backstory of Nick and his family should be as engaging as the case of the week. And as long as the series can maintain that balance, viewers should be in for a satisfying and enjoyable ride.