Sunday, October 30, 2011

GRIMM - Pilot Episode Review

Here is the Wikipedia blurb:

Set in present-day Portland, the series puts a new twist on the stories of the Brothers Grimm in which a homicide detective learns that he is a descendent of a group of hunters known as "Grimms", who fight to keep humanity safe from the supernatural creatures of the world. Upon learning of his destiny and that he is the last of his kind, he has to protect every living soul from the sinister storybook characters that have infiltrated the real world.

When I first heard about this show, I thought the premise had huge potential. The pilot story is basically Little Red Riding Hood framed in a fairly standard police procedural. The main character, Nick Burkhardt, is an exceedingly normal guy (even the screen saver on his phone is generic) who suddenly gains the ability to see monsters underneath their human disguises. I found the set-up to be kind of clunky, and I was left with a lot of questions about the wider supernatural world. However, judging by the series preview at the end, there is a lot more mythology to be discovered. Nothing came across as glaringly unbelievable, so there’s that.

The setting and atmosphere are spot on, and I love that it is actually filmed in beautiful, yet eerie Portland. The trees alone are spectacular. I especially enjoyed the German cottage feel of the evil wolf’s house, complete with embroidered pillows and shelves of figurines. And I couldn’t help but notice all the VW’s thrown into the mix - bonus points. The make-up and effects are well done and somewhat reminiscent of Buffy and Angel (probably due to the influence of David Greenwalt, a top producer from those shows). Some have said that the show is too dark, but I think the problem is more that it does take itself a little too seriously.

But so far, most of the cast seems pretty blah, with the exception of the very entertaining Silas Weir Mitchell as Monroe. He was the only thing that lightened the mood and the scenes between him and Nick were the most successful. I didn’t have high hopes for the lead actor, David Giuntoli, after I read that he started his career after doing some reality shows on MTV. The biggest problem is still the entirely vanilla nature of the character (did I mention the screen saver?). I truly hope the writers reveal some interesting stuff about Nick’s personality, and quickly. The inevitable conflict brewing with his girlfriend and his partner as he delves into his new role as a Grimm is just not going to be enough to attract viewers.

It’s interesting to note that the pilot is also airing on Syfy channel Tuesday night. I don’t know if that’s going to be a regular thing or not, but considering NBC doesn’t have a stellar history with speculative programming (I’m looking at you, The Event), it can’t hurt. It’s going to be difficult for Grimm to catch on in its current day and time slot – directly opposite both Fringe and Supernatural, which already have an established fan base. Expectations are generally low on Friday nights anyway, so it might buy the show some time to improve on a so-so beginning.

I’m willing to give it another shot for at least one more episode, even if I have to watch it On Demand. Grimm airs at 9pm EST Fridays on NBC.

Have a super Halloween everyone!

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