Thoughts on the Grimm Pilot

To continue our discussion of fairy tale TV for the week, last night was the premier of NBC’s Grimm.  I’ve been pretty excited about this because the premise has a Supernatural meets fairy tale vibe.  Here’s the preview.

As you can see, the whole thing opens with a red-hoodie clad sorority girl going for a run and getting torn apart by something.  Suspicious death hook.  Check.

Our intrepid hero is not like the Winchester boys.  He’s older, for one, and didn’t grow up with knowledge of things that go bump in the night.  Instead we meet him as he’s buying an engagement ring for an as yet unknown honey.  Well there’s something big and important for our story to muck up.  Seeds for conflict.  Check.

He and his partner get called in on the homicide, which they link to an apparent animal attack in another town.  It’s weird and the forensic results come back inconclusive.  Meanwhile, hero Nick begins to see strange stuff.  People’s faces apparently morphing into something horrible before settling back into human lines.  He’s understandably concerned by this.  Clues that something big is about to change.  Foreshadowing.  Check.

Meanwhile, a bald (and presumably cancer-ridden) woman pulls up to a house with an Airstream attached.  The catalyst?  This turns out to be Nick’s beloved Aunt Marie who raised him from the time he was 12.  She tells him they need to talk, so they go for a walk.  Her prognosis is dire.  The doctors don’t know if she has days or weeks or months.  But that’s not exactly what she wants to tell him.  She asks if he’s been seeing weird stuff and starts talking about the family misfortune and how even though he loves Juliette (the live in girlfriend), he must let her go for her own safety.  While Nick’s going all WTF? they get attacked by some kind of creature and frail-looking Aunt Marie gets her Buffy on against a dude with a sickle.  But, you know, she DOES have cancer, so she’s not doing so hot with this fight.  Nick winds up unloading an entire clip into the dude.  FPP after which nothing can be the same.  Check.

At the hospital, Aunt Marie tells him that his parents weren’t really killed in a car accident and that he is the last of the Grimms.  That their family can see things that no one else can see and the fairy tales are real, that the events they wrote about really happened.  Everything he needs to know is in her trailer.  The ward nurse puts a kibosh on more reveals as visiting hours are over.  You’re not the person you thought you were.  Check.

So off Nick goes to home and when he can’t sleep, he goes down to check out the Airstream (which miraculously is three times larger on the inside than it is on the outside) where he finds a large assortment of books and research and a cache of medieval weapons that Dean would approve of.

The next day we see a little girl in a red hoodie get stalked by a postman with boots that match the prints found at the scene of the prior murder.  Because postmen don’t get a bad enough rap as it is, right?  Flash to her distraught family when she didn’t ever make it to her grandfather’s house.  Nick makes the observation that both victims were wearing red hoodies.  Little red riding hood anyone?  He and his partner go searching through the park that the little girl was explicitly told NOT to cut through on her way to Grandpa’s and find her backpack.  Nick follows the bootprint trail to the edge of the park and sees a man do that weird face thing.  He immediately sprints after the guy and tackles him in his own front hallway demanding “Where is she?”

Of course this is not the guy they’re after, which is confirmed after the cops tear his house apart.  Nick goes back later to skulk around and stake the place out and gets caught by Monroe who is a Blutbad (werewolf).  Monroe is a great side character.  As Nick tries to adjust to all these radical shifts in his world view, he makes all these very stereotypical observations that Monroe responds to with pitying looks that clearly say “you are a moron.”  This tells me that the writers are going to avoid a lot of the stereotypes that go along with these assorted fairy tale creatures, which makes me really happy.  I like seeing new twists on stuff.

Nick manages to talk him into helping find other Blutbads in the area.  Naturally the setting for the kidnapper’s lair looks like something out of the Black Forest.  Monroe starts reacting once they get close to the perimeter and has to leave.  Nick calls his partner who dutifully shows up and goes to the house with Nick.  The actual bad guy is this strangely effeminate guy who does needlepoint and baking and doesn’t appear to be capable of hurting a fly.  He happily lets them look all over the place (because the kid’s tied up in the hidden basement of course and can’t make any noise).  It’s only as they’re leaving, disappointed, that Nick’s partner realizes that the guy is humming the same song that was on the first victim’s ipod.  They burst back in.  The Bultbad attacks and gets shot and killed.  More ransacking of the house finally turns up the trap door leading to the basement.  The little girl is found and congratulations go all around.

Back at the hospital, Aunt Marie has fallen into a coma.  One of the face shifty critters shows up and tries to kill her, but injects Nick with something instead.  He passes out and she goes down to meet her accomplice, who turns out to be Nick’s boss at the Police Department.

All in all, I was really happy with this opener.  I thought that pacing was a bit fast in places, but in general they’ve done a good job establishing what his life is like before the change and introducing all sorts of elements to complicate things after.  There are a number of baddies who will be in play that the watcher knows about that Nick doesn’t and this will lend itself to a great deal of “when’s he gonna figure it out!?” sort of suspense.  I think there’s lots of room for potential, particularly if they don’t stick specifically to the actual Grimm’s fairy tales for story fodder.  I’m definitely looking forward to seeing where they go with the storyline.  So far two thumbs up for an original melding of crime drama and fairy tales–two of my favorite things.

You can watch the full episode of the Pilot here at NBC.com.

9 thoughts on “Thoughts on the Grimm Pilot

  1. And all done in my “back garden” as such. YAY PORTLAND OREGON! I was thrilled to see the story location actually reflect the real place! I mean, I LOVE “Leverage” too – but that’s supposed to be Boston (but mostly filmed right here – my hubby does extra work from them sometimes!). LOL I was much happier and invested in this show than I was with “Once Upon A Time”. I thought the pacing was better – give you more gaps to fill rather than cram the entire backstory in one go and then have to rehash every time. I’m excited to see how this show moves forward.

  2. OH my goodness, I literally watched this pilot and then got the email about your post seconds later. I actually loved it – I was far more interested than I was in the Once Upon a Time pilot. I thought the pacing of this one was way better. I also like the darkness of the show comparatively. Definitely tuned in because I have a love for Supernatural and Buffy type shows.

  3. Grimm and Once upon a Time both sound great from your reviews! Can’t wait till they come to the UK!

  4. I agree with most of your points here. I REALLY liked the pilot too, which actually cameas a surprise to me. Based on the previews, I had this pegged as a total “Supernatural” rip-off. Guess I was wrong; I’m thrilled to see where this goes.

    Fun fact: “Blutbad” is German and literally translates to “Bloodbath”. I LOLed. 😀

  5. I’m also in the Portland area, so I was anxious to see this premiere. You did a nice summary. I thought it was a pretty good show, though I did have a moment of disbelief when Nick went home to bed after talking to Aunt Marie instead of heading directly for that trailer like any normal person would have. I also thought the dialog was a little weak in places, but I’m a real snob about that, so I tend to judge harshly. The previews for the second episode actually look more intriguing to me. This isn’t the first time I felt a story was going to get more interesting after the pilot. It’s probably difficult to fit all the intriguing elements into 47 minutes, or whatever is left of an hour after corporate America gets their cut of the time to bombard us with things we don’t need, like the twenty-seven-millionth version of what can be done with the seven basic Taco Bell ingredients.

  6. Thanks for the summary, Kait! I’ve been curious about this since I saw the promo a couple months ago. Sounds like it’s definitely worth a watch!

  7. I really enjoyed the pilot and I’m not surprised. David Greenwalt is one of the co-creators and besides being an executive producer on Buffy and Angel, he’s worked on other paranormal shows like The X-Files and Moonlight.

    Ratings for the coveted 18-49 demo were good too. Hopefully now that people know what the show is like, enough will come back so can it develop into something awesome.

  8. Sounds promising. I like the premise. I’m almost afraid to admit that I’ve not seen Supernatural. Perhaps I should give that a try while I wait for this show to make it to the UK or Netflix/iTunes.

  9. I didn’t watch the pilot right away. Had a couple of episodes pile up on the DVR before I could watch ’em. I am enjoying the series. I think you’re right about the pacing but I’ve been noticing that a lot lately. Seems like a scramble to dump so much into a pilot these day. I also love Monroe. he’s a lot of fun.

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