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First Impressions: NBC’s Grimm – The Pilot

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With a few notable exceptions such as Insidious and Paranormal Activity 3, it’s been a dismal year at the multiplex for horror. So what are fans supposed to do, especially on this holiest of all holiday weekends, Halloween? Turn to television of course, where the likes of “The Walking Dead”, “Dexter”, “American Horror Story”, “Supernatural”, “The Vampire Diaries”, and even “The Secret Circle” and BBC America’s “Bedlam” are kicking all sorts of genre ass. And a new entry arrives this Friday, October 28th, vying for your attention: NBC’s “Grimm”. Is it worth your time considering everything else there is to choose from?

We say resoundingly, “Yes!” From the minds of Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt, “Grimm” is everything a fan of both police procedurals and monster movies could want — with a healthy dose of fairy tale magic sprinkled in. Greenwalt worked on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Angel”, “The X-Files”, and “Moonlight”; and Kouf has written and produced for “The Ghost Whisperer” as well as written classic 1980s films The Hidden, The Boogens and Stakeout. For more from them, be sure to check out Heather’s interview with Kouf and Greenwalt from earlier in the week.

With that history in mind, tonally the pilot of “Grimm” feels most like “Angel”, but at the same time Portland homicide Detective Nick Burkhardt, portrayed by David Giuntoli, reminds me of an older, male version of Buffy, only with a few more tricks up his sleeve. You see, he is a member of a family of Grimms (those who can see monsters for what they really are); however, he’s only just begun coming into his powers as the result of his aunt’s impending demise. A lot of time is spent establishing Nick in his various relationships – with his police partner, Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby), as well as his almost fiancée, Juliette Silverton (Bitsie Tulloch), although the latter is sure to become a sticking point in the series since the first thing his aunt tells him is to ditch the girl since it’s much safer that way. Unfortunately, she doesn’t tell him much else before entering the hospital so Nick is left to his own devices as he tracks down a little girl in a red hoodie who’s been abducted by the big bad wolf.

NBC's Grimm

Nick studies his family history in books he finds in auntie’s trailer and learns about the various entities who live in our society in disguise: Hexenbiests, Blutbads, and all manner of ancient evils, including royal lines dating back to the original profilers themselves, The Grimm brothers. Luckily, in the course of his investigation, he encounters a Blutbad who’s abandoned his wild ways, Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), who is obviously going to become Nick’s ally as he progresses in his new lifestyle. And that’s a relationship we’re looking forward to as even though they were only in a few scenes together, the chemistry between Giuntoli and Mitchell was obvious. If you can get that across in a pilot, then it bodes really well for future episodes. Actually the entire cast has good mojo, and Giuntoli is one of the more likable actors to hit the small screen in some time.

I don’t want to give too much more away about the storyline of “Grimm” because what makes it enjoyable is learning along with Nick exactly what’s going on. The pilot reveals just enough to make sure the audience is able to keep up but leaves the perfect amount under wraps so that viewers will want to return for week 2, week 3, and so on. This viewer definitely will.

One very simple question should determine your interest level in “Grimm”: Did you like Frailty? It’s the thing “Grimm” most reminds me of, but without the religious overtones. The idea of someone being able to see demons (or in this case, creatures from the minds of the real Grimm brothers) and then doling out justice is quite appealing. On the other hand, Nick is a cop so it’ll be tricky for him to walk that line that cops should never cross. And hopefully interesting enough to keep “Grimm” around for a while. They have quite a wealth of dark, scary source material to draw from for at least a few solid seasons.

Check out the first 20 minutes of “Grimm” below, and then watch the pilot episode in its entirety this Friday night, October 28th, at 9/8 c. If you like what you see, come back and share some comments.

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Debi Moore

I'll see you on the other side...