NBC’s Grimm: pilot preview review

18 Oct

I just saw pilots for Once Upon a Time and Locke and Key this weekend.  Now I’ve had a chance to watch the third pilot involving fantasy and fairy talesGrimm.

While both Once Upon a Time and Grimm feature fairy tale characters as real people, the similarities stop there.  In Once Upon a Time the characters don’t realize they are actually fairy tale characters due to a curse and they live normal lives, just not very happily ever after ones.  Furthermore, the entire narrative structure of Once Upon a Time mimics the Lost structure of present time and flashbacks to explain what went wrong in the characters lives.

Grimm is about as far from that as a competing fairy tale television show can get.  The show is a police procedural that features a lead character, Nick Burckhardt (David Giuntoli), a descendant of the Grimms who wrote the fairy tales.  He inherits the ability to spot fairy tale characters, hunt them down and fight them.  The fairy tale characters know exactly who they are and what they are capable of; so, if they are bad, they will most likely fulfill their destiny to be bad with the exception of one big bad wolf, Eddie Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), who is reformed and attempts to eschew violence as much as possible.  So far, it is the Eddie Monroe character who makes the show.  He’s just the right combination of menacing wolf and a reformed normal guy.

There is some violence so this probably isn’t a show you want any young kids watching.  It’s not too bad but still the opening of the pilot begins with a sorority girl who gets ripped up by a big bad wolf because she’s jogging in the woods wearing a red hoodie.  The investigation reveals (SPOILER ALERT) there is more than one big bad wolf in the area.  And after Nick finds out from his terminally ill Aunt Marie (Kate Burton) his is a Grimm descendant, he spends a great deal of time in her trailer trying to make sense of all the stuff she’s brought to him:  storybooks, weapons, just about anything one needs in the vanquishment of bad fairy tale characters.

In the pilot, the investigation into first, the murder of the jogger and second, the disappearance of a young girl, again wearing a red hoodie, splits into two investigations with two distinct partners for Nick.  For the regular police work, he works with his partner, Hank (Russell Hornsby), who doesn’t actually notice anything too strange with his partner, only that Nick seems to be going on wild hunches.  For the supernatural fairy tale investigation, Nick solicits Eddie’s help.  It looks like this might be the way the narrative structure will work for the foreseeable future, or, at least for the initial eight episodes.  While on one level this does work, if Hank doesn’t notice strange things are up with his partner in the near future, he is going to look like the densest detective in Portland.

Overall, the story works, and while they investigate the crimes themselves, the show could be any police procedural.  It’s only when the fantasy area bleeds into ‘reality’ that the show becomes more alive.  And the investigation and ‘happy ending’ for the younger red riding hood victim left the show with a feeling of closure with trepidation, just as any fairy tale does.

Grimm premieres on NBC Friday October 28th at 9/8c.

If you want to watch the pilot early like I did, go to this article and follow the directions.  Happy watching!

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