Original Run: October 28, 2011 – May 18, 2012
Genre(s): Fantasy, Drama, Police Procedural
Cast: David Giuntoli, Russell Hornsby, Bitsie Tulloch, Silas Weir Mitchell, Sasha Roiz
Created by: Stephen Carpenter, David Greenwalt, Jim Kouf
Distributed by: NBC
Number of Episodes: 22
Around summertime last year I heard about two fairy tale-based shows that were going to be premiering in Fall 2011. Those shows were ABC’s Once Upon a Time and NBC’s Grimm. Naturally, being an adult male, I was more interested in Grimm, especially with it’s marketing—a police procedural about a guy who solves crimes based on some of the most fucked up fairy tales—it sounded pretty awesome. Once aired first, I watched it, and it was pretty damn good. Then Grimm aired and the pilot was enjoyable but not great, but I figured that pilots usually aren’t as good as what follows in a series. So I decided to give the entire season a try, and I regret it.
Grimm‘s narrative follows Portland, Oregon detective Nick Burkhardt, who finds out he is a “Grimm”—a descendant of the Brothers Grimm, who were actually monster slayers and their tales are actually recorded events. Nick must cope with this new responsibility/curse while hiding the truth from his girlfriends and his partner. That’s a pretty badass plot, how could it go wrong? First, the cast isn’t great. David Giuntoli plays Nick, and I found him incredibly stiff and unlikeable; he emotes about as well as Keanu Reeves. The rest of the cast are a bit better, but still not spectacular: Russell Hornsby plays Nick’s partner, Hank, Bitsie Tulloch is Juliette, Nick’s girlfriend, and Sasha Roiz appears as Nick’s superior, Captain Renard. The only cast members that I felt really stood out and did a good job were Silas Weir Mitchell as the former big bad wolf, Monroe, and Reggie Lee as
Vince Masuka Sergeant Lee. These two were not only very funny, but the best regular cast members as well.
The visual effects were another low point of the season. I understand that the budget wasn’t extremely high for this show, but come on—most of the transformations look like shit. Look at the picture above; it just looks so… generated. I do have to give the effects team credit for using practical make-up effects a few times, but I think employing those tactics more heavily would’ve looked much better and been a bit cheaper. I absolutely hated the transformation scenes. For some reason each Wesen(pronounced “Vessin”, these are what the creature folk are called in the show) has a fucking head seizure when they change; not only does it look ridiculous, it’s an obvious cue for the digital artists. The writers never even explain why the Wesen bug out when they change until the final episodes, and it’s a half-assed explanation.
In the end, the poor writing is was kills the momentum of the show. Each episode is incredibly predictable—and when the best name the writers can come up with for a satyr is “Billy Capra”, it’s easy to see why(if you’re unfamiliar with mythology, a satyr is a goat-person and “Billy” and Capricorn are both synonymous with goats). Most of the dialogue is either boring or cliche, and the “mysteries” give themselves away extremely early. However, even with all these faults, Grimm does have a few redeeming factors—the slayer weapons are cool, a handful of the actors are good, and some of the ideas are neat, just poorly executed—but they aren’t enough to carry the show. And the season finale was really stupid; it absolutely avoided completely any of the multiple plots. To be honest, I was pretty shocked when I heard the series was picked up for a second season. I guess until something less insulting to human intelligence comes along, people will settle for this. That’s unfortunate.