[06/30/11 - 06:57 AM]
The Futon's First Look: "Grimm" (NBC)
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

Please note: As a courtesy, please do not reproduce these comments to newsgroups, forums or other online places. Links only please.

Welcome once again to our annual "first look" at the broadcast networks' offerings for the 2011-2012 season, now in its sixth year! Each day we'll walk you through one of the new series set to premiere next season (or one that didn't make the cut) and go over our initial impressions after viewing the pilot. Keep in mind that a lot can change from what's being screened right now - recasting, reshooting, etc. - but we still want to give you a heads up on what you should (and shouldn't) keep on your radar in the coming months. So enough of our rambling, on with the show!

[IMPORTANT NOTE: The following is based on the original sales presentation which was screened to us privately or supplied by a third party NOT an informational, not-for-review screener provided by the network in question.]

(written by David Greenwalt & Jim Kouf; directed by Marc Buckland; TRT: 43:22)

The network's description: ""Grimm" is a new drama series inspired by the classic Grimm's Fairy Tales. Remember the fairy tales your parents used to tell you before bedtime? Those weren't stories -- they were warnings. Nick Burkhardt (David Guintoli "Turn The Beat Around") thought he prepared himself for the realities of working as a homicide detective until he started seeing things he couldn't quite explain. When his ailing Aunt Marie (guest star Kate Burton, "Grey's Anatomy") arrives, Nick's life turns upside down when she reveals they are descendants of an elite group of hunters, also known as "Grimms," who fight to keep the balance of humanity safe from the supernatural creatures of the world.

As Nick digs deeper into her past, he realizes that he will have to shoulder the responsibility of his ancestors -- and contend with a larger-than-life mythology of the Brothers Grimm that is now all too real. Russell Hornsby ("Lincoln Heights"), Bitsie Tulloch ("Quarterlife"), Silas Weir Mitchell ("Prison Break"), Reggie Lee ("Persons Unknown") and Sasha Roiz ("Caprica") also star. "Grimm" is a production of Universal Media Studios and Hazy Mills Productions. Sean Hayes and Todd Milliner ("Hot in Cleveland") serve as executive producers, Jim Kouf ("National Treasure," "Angel") and David Greenwalt ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel") are the creators/executive producers and Marc Buckland ("My Name Is Earl") is the director."

What did they leave out? That about covers it.

The plot in a nutshell: "This no fairy tale, the stories are real," librarian Marie Kessler (Kate Burton) explains to her nephew Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) from her hospital bed. "What they wrote about really happened. You are one of the last Grimms." Said proclamation comes after a series of strange occurrences for our hero, a police detective. Already blessed with an inherent gift of reading people, Nick finds he sees more than just the usual quirks and personality giveaways as of late: he sees literal monsters. And that's exactly what appears to be responsible for a grisly murder of a college girl who went jogging in the woods with a red hoodie.

Nick and his partner Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby) are tasked with the case, the first in what could be a series of gruesome murders. Coupled with the arrival of Marie, and her subsequent injury from another such creature, Nick can't help but embrace the truth: the supernatural exist and it's up to him to stop them. His "sight" initially tags a scruffy clockmaker named Eddy Munroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) as the culprit however he professes to be a reformed Blutbad, what we know as the big bad wolf, thanks to a strict regiment of diet, drugs and Pilates. He agrees to help Nick track down the Blutbad that's ultimately responsible. And so an unlikely friendship is born as Nick will need all the help he can get in order to stop said perpetrator before he can kill again.

What works: It's all pretty boilerplate genre stuff: the secret family legacy, the catalogues of things that go bump in the night, the sixth sense that enables our hero to seek them out, and so forth. Those game for these kind of shows will undoubtedly find something to glom onto here and there's just enough mythology to tempt those who do to stick around. I just wish...

What doesn't: ...it felt more ambitious and unique. I guess the most striking thing about "Grimm" is how bland everyone feels and acts. Giuntoli's Nick Burkhardt is about as humdrum a hero one could ask for, a notion that's exasperated by the fact he doesn't really do much detective work as Eddy and Nick turn out to do most of heavy lifting, pointing him in the right direction or picking up on clues he overlooked. Nick is also apparently hopelessly in love with his girlfriend Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) and yet we only get a few brief moments with them together, as he instead opts to ignore her completely and become obsessed with the case. Overall you never really get inside Nick's head beyond the task at hand, a disheartening prospect when he's supposed to be the impetus of the show.

The rest of the cast - including Reggie Lee and Sasha Roiz as the stock officer on the scene and captain, respectively - likewise don't get much dimension, leaving the few actual sparks to come from Mitchell's Eddy. His matter-of-fact attitude and self-deprecating nature is a welcome antidote to the usual mysterious gobbledygook that permeates shows like this as his lack of pretense is refreshing. For the most part though it's all just trite dialogue ("I already cried wolf one, you think they're going to believe me?" Nick observes at one point) and forgettable situations, another depressing facet considering the wide tapestry that is Grimms' Fairy Tales. A closing twist threatens to shake things up a little, but it hardly addresses the more glaring aspects of the show. All in all, I'm open to getting hooked...

The bottom line: ...it's just not doing it for me.

  [june 2011]  


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