Grimm recently debuted as one of the later pilots this season, and is the second show based on fairytale mythology after the Disneyish Once Upon a Time.
This one finds its place in its name, however, as it is a gorier, grittier interpretation of the old tales. In the world of Grimm, fairytale monsters are real and live among us. They are people with a monstrous nature, and only the Grimms can see them for who they are, and then only at the right moments.
The protagonist is a Portland detective who discovers that he is a Grimm, when his aunt becomes ill and the power begins to pass to him.
It seems as if each episode will involve a crime which our detective must resolve through his growing understanding of the secret world of these monsters which only he can see.
Not all the monsters are bad though, and this makes the show quite interesting. The detective has already befriended one of the wolf-man monsters, vilified by Grimms in the past with the story of Red Riding Hood. One of these monsters has kidnapped a girl in a red coat – apparently a dire weakness, and the friendly wolf-man, who is able to resist his terrible instincts, becomes a valuable ally – and will likely remain a reluctant assistant throughout the series.
I like the premise of this show, especially compared to the arguably lame Once Upon a Time, but the whole thing feels a lot less put-together than some of the other fantasy shows we’ve seen piloted this season so far.
The relationships surrounding the protagonist are the tough part here. It’s hard to tell if it’s David Giuntoli’s performance or just that so much exposition had to be crammed into the pilot (leaving little room for character development), but I had a hard time connecting the detective to his partner, his girlfriend, his aunt, or anyone else. All of the connections which should be important to him just seemed to fall flat in the face of the dire circumstances.
It’s likely this will improve, at least a little, as the series progresses pas the first few episodes and makes time for some character development. Still the development was so poor in this one episode that viewers may not give it much more of a chance.
It doesn’t help, I think, that this first case let the stakes run a little too high, and perhaps should have been left for a later episode. It was too disturbing, and felt more like an episode of Law & Order: SVU in its urgency and horror, which I don’t think is the vibe that the show wants to give off in whole. This alone may cast off a number of viewers who simply found the episode to creepy, and it might retain viewers who will be disappointed by the more neutrally toned nature of the upcoming episodes.
It’s going to be very difficult for audiences not to compare Grimm with Once Upon a Time in their heads, and find that it’s a show with lower tier actors, a smaller budget, and a less friendly narrative. They’ll feel like they have to choose between the two, and they will choose Once Upon a Time. Personally I’ll be giving Grimm a couple more episodes to find its place, but I have a feeling that we’re not going to see this one stick around past the 10 episodes which are already produced, if it even makes it that far.