Once Upon a Crime
“Grimm” on NBC
By Devin O’Leary
The second of this TV season’s new, fairy-tale centric dramas is NBC’s “Grimm.” Unlike ABC’s occasionally preposterous and decidedly ungrounded “Once Upon a Time,” NBC’s fantasy series at least has a clear-cut identity. It is, simply put, a standard-issue police procedural ... with monsters. While that might not be as creative a premise as “Once Upon a Time,” it does give the show an easy access point for viewers who might otherwise be put off by a show that requires a major suspension of disbelief and a lot of explanation.
“Grimm” comes to us from some of the people behind “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel”—which is about as good a pedigree as you’re going to get in fantasy/horror television. The series centers around Nick Burckhardt (former MTV “Road Rules” contestant David Giuntoli), a homicide detective in Portland, Ore. During a particularly baffling string of serial killings, Nick learns from his eccentric aunt that he’s the last in a long line of monster hunters known as “Grimms.” (Yes, you could pretty much substitute the word “Slayers” and you’d have the premise of “Buffy.”) In this world, legendary monsters are real, hiding from the sight of mere mortals and wreaking occasional bloody havoc. Only Grimms have the ability to spot these creatures. With his aunt out of the picture (cancer, don’t ya know), it’s up to Nick to find and destroy these monsters-in-disguise (the Portland-based ones, anyway).
The biggest complaint about the show, oddly enough, is that it isn’t quite fairy tale enough. Although the plots superficially resemble classic fables (“Little Red Riding Hood,” “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”), the monsters all seem to have the same generic demon look about them. (Stand them next to the scowling vampire creatures of “Buffy” and you’ll have another match.) A little more imagination in the enemies and a bit more variety in the crime stories and “Grimm” might have something solid. Right now, it lacks a certain ... magic. As it stands, though, it’s an atmospheric crime drama with some creepy horror elements and the occasional funny one-liner—a welcome-enough edition to a slow Friday-night lineup.
“Grimm” airs Friday nights at 8 p.m. on KOB-4.
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