Grimm Can Be Great

It’s usually not a good idea to judge a show based solely on the first episode. Few shows premiere with zero kinks and many shows can take an entire season to find their footing. Taking that into consideration, I think Grimm has the potential to be pretty damn good.

The set-up is a simple one: Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) is a homicide detective in Portland, Oregon. While investigating the disappearance–and subsequent dismemberment–of a co-ed, Nick learns from his Aunt Marie that he comes from a long line of “Grimms.” Grimms are profilers, of sorts, keeping tabs on the supernatural whatchamacallits that plague humanity. Of course, Nick has to keep his secret from his fiance (played by Bitsie Tulloch) and his partner (Russell Hornsby), luckily he’ll be able to call on his supernatural informant, a reformed Big Bad Wolf (Silas Weir Mitchell).

If this sounds a bit familiar, there’s a good reason for that. Two of the men responsible for Grimm, David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf, come to us from Buffy and Angel. In fact, Grimm feels a little bit like a blending of the two shows: you have the Chosen One of Buffy and the sleuthing of (early) Angel. I’d also argue that the “family of hunters” angle ties Grimm to Supernatural, which makes the fact that the two shows are airing against each other kind of annoying. Given Grimm‘s Whedon-y pedigree, I wasn’t the least bit surprised by Mitchell’s reformed Big Bad Wolf (0r Blutbad, if you will). The feeb-demon–a noticeably un-demonic and comically humanized demon–was a hallmark of Angel and, later, Buffy. Grimm‘s Eddie Monroe is a Blutbad who has given up on his bestial tendencies, which allows him to tag along on Nick’s cases and offer exposition with a healthy dose of wry asides. Clem would be proud.

I think the biggest hurdle Grimm has to overcome is how people will ultimately compare it to Once Upon A Time, despite the fact that the two shows could not be more different. In Once…, the characters are actual fairy tale characters who now live in the real world. In other words, Snow White is real. Grimm goes down a different road. Here, the Brothers Grimm were criminal profilers of the supernatural. So, while there is no actual Big Bad Wolf, there are Blutbaden, wolf-like creatures who appear to be attracted to the color red. Folklorists tell us that fairy tales, like those collected by the Brothers Grimm, were used as teaching tools, showing people how to behave and that acting incorrectly had consequences. Grimm takes this and runs with it, claiming that the dangers depicted in fairy tales aren’t metaphors: if you leave the path in the woods, something will eat you. I love this hidden world aspect of Grimm and, if you enjoy the occasional urban fantasy novel, you might love it, too.

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