Entertainment Magazine

Review #3095: Grimm 1.1: “Pilot”

Posted on the 31 October 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

I was on the fence as to whether or not to cover “Grimm” at all, because compared to “Once Upon a Time”, all the advance promotional materials felt rather bland. As I mentioned on the Critical Myth Podcast, the entire premise felt like the uninspired love child between a middling CBS procedural and “Supernatural”. I’m not sure that description wasn’t entirely accurate, but I may have been wrong about the quality of the result.

Review #3095: Grimm 1.1: “Pilot”

A recent murder comes to the attention of Nick Burckhardt, who has been having issues lately, seeing monstrous faces and such on people around him. It turns out that this is no mistake; with a relative of his dying of cancer, he is coming into a family legacy. He is a Grimm, and thus tasked with hunting down and dealing with the real monsters upon which the well-known fairy tales are based. While keeping his partner in the dark, unaware that his superior is among his ancestral enemies, Nick must learn what this means for his future.

Already, a few things should be rather familiar. The procedural investigate aspects are very well-worn, right down to Hank’s quirky sense of humor and the way that the victims (at least in the pilot) are found and examined. The whole situation was treated like a odd serial killer case, not unlike some of the more fanciful premises in the “CSI” franchise.

On the fantastical side, there are overtones of “Buffy” (the Chosen One-esque legacy) and, of course, the Hunter subculture of “Supernatural”. It’s so similar to those concepts that Nick’s ignorance of his legacy is just a tad annoying. I found myself wondering how much better the show could be if Sam and Dean Winchester came charging in with the Impala, ready to show the new Hunter how it’s done. The writers are going to have to work very hard to overcome this inherent familiarity.

On the other hand, sticking to a more realistic depiction of a fantasy world, ala “Supernatural”, gives the show an immediate identity when compared to “Once Upon a Time”. That show has succeeded in taking the fairy-tale world and trappings and treating them in a serious fashion, but it wouldn’t work for two shows to take that approach. Instead, “Grimm” almost employs the kind of visual pop that has become infamous in films like “Twilight” or “Red Riding Hood”, only toned down to match the darker feel of the series. It works really well for them, since the excesses are kept to a relative minimum.

The trick for “Grimm” will be to build on its mythology without becoming hemmed in by the concept. “Once Upon a Time” has crafted a wide canvas in which to tell its stories, so it’s better equipped to work as a series. I see “Grimm” quickly finding itself in the same early-series trap as “Supernatural”, which itself began as a more episodic show focusing on the Winchesters hunting down the real creatures behind infamous urban legends. “Supernatural” succeeded by focusing on character depth and logical world expansion. It remains to be seen if “Grimm” can make a similar adjustment to take initial concept and make it viable for a long-term series.

Writing: 2/2
Acting: 2/2
Direction: 2/2
Style: 1/4

Final Rating: 7/10

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