TV Review: Grimm (TV Series) (Season 1) (2011)

SYNOPSIS:

In modern day Portland, Oregon, a police detective inherits the ability to see supernatural creatures.

Portland detective, Nick Burkhardt, has seen some gruesome crime scenes, but nothing prepares him for the strange visions he begins seeing: seemingly regular people momentarily transforming into hideous monsters. A visit from his only living relative reveals the truth. Nick has inherited the ability to see supernatural creatures, and as a “Grimm,” he is tasked with keeping the balance between mankind and the mythological. A reformed “Big Bad Wolf” becomes his greatest (and also reluctant) ally and confidant. It’s not long before his work as a policeman leads Nick to the criminals he once thought were only found in fairy tales.

REVIEW:

If the word Grimm sounds familiar, then you probably are recollecting the German term used to describe a collective mix of fairy tales from the 1800′s. The tales (that were announced as being intended for children) were criticized in early years as being unsuitable in respect to having appropriate subject matter. Then again, those were different times compared to our now more liberal approach to content. They were a bit more violent and harrowing than the Mother Goose fables we grew up on.

This basis sets the stage for the new American-written TV series from the folks at NBC. Airing on Fridays at an 8-9 time frame, “Grimm” repeats much of the same formulas we have come to love thru past (and some present) television scenarios. Rooted in a cop drama, the series combines the elements of horror, fantasy, crime, and mystery.

Our story begins in Portland Oregon with a team of detectives. David Giuntoli plays the lead Nick Burkhardt with his partner Russell Hornsby as Hank Griffin. Nick discovers from the first few episodes that he is in fact what the fantastical world calls a “Grimm”. The Grimm’s are a historical legacy of hunters fighting to keep evil supernatural creatures in place.

Note: These creatures often stay hidden under human disguise only revealing themselves upon attack.

Nick’s aunt (Kate Burton) passes on this legacy to him. She dies shortly after revealing who she is and what Nick must embrace. Nick is in fact a Grimm, a monster killer sworn thru the centuries to keep the human race out of harm’s race. As the honor is passed over, Nick discovers that he is also of age to see the beings for who they “truly” are. This ability is a mainstay for the series morphing gruesome faces in and out of reality (in Nick’s eyes only). As the word gets out, many of the creatures end up knowing before Nick announces it, that he can see them in true form. We find that while Nick is a detective, he is also a potential threat to their kind, many of whom fear his true nature.

As you may have guessed from the title, several of the episodes are written around the subject of the Grimm fairy tales. (Note: each episode features an opener title card) Though purists will recognize that a few of them aren’t taken “directly” from the Grimms. In any case, the series employs the use of German folklore often using the true names of creatures we have simplified on western land.

As of its first season, “Grimm” follows the trend of using the “creature of the week” formula suggesting a bigger plot developing underneath. Much of these creature appearances help to establish the range of beings that the series rolls out. Nick often refers to his aunt’s illustrated manuals detailing facts and images about each.

I was reminded of films like “Devil’s Advocate”, a film which uses similar CGI techniques. Mainly, viewers will quickly make the connection to a gaggle of TV shows over the years using the “enforcement partner” aspect such as “Fringe”, “The X-files”, “Supernatural” and “Once Upon A Time”. The idea may have changed a bit, but the scenery is quite similar. As in all of these cases, a bigger plot in motion approach gives the viewers a purpose to continue on and move forward with the stories. By occasional hints dropped during the episodes, it appears that a diabolical move is in play that involves a bit of the much more violent demonic race of creatures. I suspect that those around Nick will begin to reveal some of this very soon.

“Grimm TV Series” is noted as sometimes being “scary” suggesting a more adult driven audience dealing with death, mutilation and violence. The season also appears to introduce characters that are progressively getting more dangerous than the last.

A unique aspect that is injected into the series right away is that Nick actually calls upon the services of 2 partners. Hank Griffin may be his official detective partner, though many of the episodes incorporate the calling of a Wieder Blutbad (a werewolf) named Monore. Monroe played by actor Silas Weir Mitchell is assumed to be a suspect in an early case who kidnapped an innocent young girl. When he is discovered to be clean he also seemingly forms a bizarre friendship bond with Nick. Monroe is our resident good hearted supernatural who aids Nick on regular basis in locating beings in question. Monroe also brings a fresh, quirky, and somewhat comical flavor to the series lacking in Hank’s character.

In summary, the series is about revealing the hidden world and agenda “within” our world. We quickly get the sense that all evil or nefarious intentions “seem” to be always connected to a Grimm character. This puts a spin on the morals of good and evil suggesting that humans are inherently good with the unscrupulous belonging to age-old races of Grimm creatures. With the creatures ability to blend in, they have stayed a secret for centuries. Of course, word of a Grimm threatens this secrecy.

In episode 11 we are told that the Vessen have Nick high on radar with word getting out. Nicks partner Hank is convinced that the world is getting weirder even though David’s identity is still unknown to him.

We also learn in episode 10 that Nick’s Captain Reanard is keeping eye on him as a phone call announces that the threat of a Grimm has become too damaging to an underground league called the Reapers. Nick in the meantime struggles with telling his girlfriend Juliette about his secret life.

The idea of Grimm is one of mixed conflicts. Nick holds a responsibility to his job and his moral code, while his “Grimm side” is a important historical burden placed upon him to defend humanity from these monsters if evil. However, not all creatures are harmful or a threat to humanity. So as Nick becomes acquainted with different races, he finds that many are friends and concerned with the same problems he is. It comes down to the agendas of these creatures all of which are not made from he same mold.

Captain Reanard becomes highly suspicious in what we perceive to be a secret power game developing underfoot. Nick who can sense Grimms never senses any variation from his Captain which confuses Captain Reanard purpose and identity. Though we learn over episodes that Renard serves a higher purpose that wants the world to return to the old ways.

Nick finally has to battle a Hexenbiest of who turns out to be a power hungry evil entity focused on serving a higher order. Nick has a harder time maintaining his secrecy and is at conflict with revealing all to his girlfriend Julie. Nick asks Julie to marry him of who rejects his proposal until he can comes clean with his aura of secrecy.

If you are confused with all the German names being passeda round you can refer to the inclued reference guide containted within the bluray release. The release contains lots of goodies and a few extra treats, well worth owning and an exciting series at that.

Season 1, like other new shows has received mixed views. Overall it has been positive as the show continues to find it’s footing. On a whole it appeals to the current metrics of interest this last year that incorporate the use of supernatural creatures as a foundation.

GRIMM is now available on Bluray per Universal Studios

Grimm (TV Series) (Season 1) (2011)

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4 Responses to TV Review: Grimm (TV Series) (Season 1) (2011)

  1. Just FYI, Juliette and Nick aren’t married. :) He was going to propose to her in the pilot, but never got around to it, and now something he’s dealing with is whether to marry her or not in the face of his Grimm double-life.

  2. michael says:

    Keep up the good work! As a resident of the Pacific Northwest and one with a high regard for that other quirky series, “Twin Peaks” and then saw my regard and interest plummet when the story line and writing became too complicated and not believable, I hope that “Grimm” can maintain the other world, out of world qualities of each fantasy character and the human beings who meet them during each episode.
    Perhaps it is my knowledge of Portland, the location for this series and personal experiences or thoughts of late nights fueled by microbrews or bourbon, out and about in the wee hours of downtown Portland which keeps me an enthusiastic and loyal viewer. Keep up the good work.

  3. Charlene says:

    I did not understand Monroe when he identified the creature in last night’s (May 4th) episode. Can anyone tell me the German name he used? Thanks

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