“Grimm” is grim as a fairy tale cop drama can be

The concept behind the new NBC series “Grimm” is a pretty good one. The last surviving member of the Grimm family discovers who he is and what he’s capable of and in turn, we see that the fairy tales that the Brothers Grimm wrote about were, in fact, true. There are real monsters in the world.

What makes this premise interesting is that this is a modern-day cop drama, as well.

“Grimm” begins with a bang. A young woman, dressed in a red hoodie, has gone on a jog. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a montrosity attacks her, almost moving faster than the eye can see. This sets up the beginning of the pilot episode of “Grimm” and shows us that this is not the sort of bedtime story that we’re used to.

Enter Nick Burckhardt, a profiler for the local police department. While investigating the mutilation of this young woman, he starts seeing strange things, including monsters. Soon, we discover that Nick is the last of the Grimm family line and that he is being thrown into a world he had previously not known existed.

As I stated above, this storyline has a lot of potential for a long-running television series. Unfortunately, I found there to be some key elements lacking in this particular pilot episode.

Inadvertently, I ended up comparing this show a lot to ABC’s “Once Upon A Time,” which I have already reviewed. “Once Upon A Time” had characters that emotionally connected to each other and had that one thing that any movie or television show should have when dealing with fairy tales: magic. I understand that “Grimm” is not that kind of  story, but when you’re dealing with monsters, there should be some sort of magic involved. Television viewers need a reason to suspend disbelief, after all.

It also seems that the writers aren’t sure if this is a cop drama or something akin to “Supernatural” or a fairy tale drama. The show seems to go back and forth between these three concepts, without clearly finding a good middle ground.

I found the portrayal of the characters unbelievable, as well. David Giuntoli is quite dashing as Nick. But for some reason, he does not seem to have any sense of wonder or horror to being told he is part of a mythical family that once hunted monsters. You’d think that news would make some sort of impact, wouldn’t you? Those of us watching need to see that process: how a character goes from belief to disbelief. Here, we are not given that and therefore, it’s very difficult to relate to the characters we’re watching.

I even found the cop drama parts of the show stale and un-exciting. The pilot episode is based around a werewolf sort of creature that kidnaps and kills girls who wear red hoodies – again, a very interesting concept. However, the build-up to discovering the particular werewolf responsible for the murders is un-inspired and even a little boring.

However, I was excited that Sasha Roiz (“Caprica,” “Warehouse 13”) is in this series as the detective’s captain. As far as I’m concerned, Roiz is the one bright ray of sunshine in this grim (no pun intended) drama.

Going back to the “Once Upon The Time” comparison, though, I realize that it’s not just magic that’s missing from “Grimm.” It also has very little humor, although attempts are made. A show that is basically about the Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding should have some humor to it, shouldn’t it? But perhaps the pilot episode is just taking itself entirely too seriously.

The biggest hole in this show is the fact that it does not seem to have any heart. There is no emotional connection whatsoever with any of the characters, including the little girl who was kidnapped. The pilot episode needed to hook us on these characters immediately so that we’ll keep watching, but it did not.

All in all, I want to see further episodes to see if any of these problems are  solved once we’re given more story. But if the pilot is a good example of what’s to come, I don’t expect that this show will last an entire season.

My personal thought is that this show is trying to be more similar to The CW’s “Supernatural,” and if that’s the case, the pilot episode completely missed the mark.

3 thoughts on ““Grimm” is grim as a fairy tale cop drama can be

  • November 1, 2011 at 12:05 pm
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    I enjoyed the pilot, but you’re right about the holes. I was immediately concerned about the longevity of the show. I can see it not making it to the end of the first season. Mainly because I love the concept. And all my shows die quickly.

    • November 1, 2011 at 2:02 pm
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      I’m hoping that we get more character development in future episodes. I think that’s really what it lacked, for me, and could fix a lot of these issues.

  • August 23, 2012 at 6:48 pm
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    I would love for the directors to show what a Grim looks like to a supernatural.  Perhaps, they could show a black mist coalescing inside his face for a split second. This would give the watcher an idea of why supes are so afraid of Nick!

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