This week I’m all about the NBC show Grimm. TV is in the midst of a creative renaissance, but that hasn’t necessarily extended evenly to all genres in the medium. Supernatural dramas have been especially uneven over the last few years. The ‘90s was the original heyday of the supernatural drama with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and the X-Files able to go on long runs with rabid fan bases pushing them forward into a pop culture relevance that maybe their ratings didn’t always warrant. I can only hope that a similar groundswell of support is on its way for one of my current favorites, Grimm.
Unlike its more successful cousins True Blood and the Vampire Diaries, it isn’t able to capitalize on the very of-the-moment romantic and hyper-sexualized vampire craze. This show aspires to be something more than just a breathless pastiche of gushing blood, professions of eternal love and close-ups of 28 year olds playing 16 year olds who constantly gazing longingly at one another. Grimm is the best parts of Buffy and the X-Files combined into one ambitious and well-acted show. It adds procedural elements to a mysterious subculture of supernatural creatures that can hide in plain sight.
Grimm centers on Portland police detective Nick Burkhardt who learns that he has a special ability to see the true nature of creatures with supernatural abilities called Wesen, who can pass themselves off as human in their daily lives. Along with this ability, Nick learns that he has also inherited the title of Grimm, a type of enforcer who keeps the Wesen from using their supernatural alter egos to cause mayhem. David Giuntoli plays Burkhardt with just enough edge to let the audience know how dangerous this guy truly is and how these changes in his life have him slowly fraying at the seams. His partner Hank is played by Russell Hornsby who many people may remember from his phenomenal work on ESPN’s series Playmakers.
The show does a great job of integrating an outstanding cast into what is becoming a more and more intricate story arc. My two favorites on the show are Silas Weir Mitchell as reformed Big Bad Wolf Monroe and Sasha Roiz as the police captain who is more than he seems. Mitchell has a great dry delivery and is often tasked with breaking up the heaviness of the show with some well-timed sarcasm and exasperated humor. Roiz imbues Captain Renard with a dark magnetism that fills all of his actions with subtext and allows him to convey so much intention with a single look that his scenes are often the most interesting parts of each episode.
There is also a strong female presence on Grimm, with the ladies being as dangerous, strong and capable as the men. Bitsie Tulloch, Bree Turner and Claire Coffee have all had their characters take dramatic shifts in tone and have had to pick up a heavier workload this season. Coffee’s Adalind Schade is a smiling viper, who is constantly plotting to bring down Nick. Juliet, who is played by Tulloch, is slowly having her eyes opened to the evils around her while she attempts to recover her memories of, and love for Nick. Bree Turner has taken Rosalee from the fringes to become Monroe’s love interest and an indispensable resource for the wounded and sick in the battle between good and evil.
Grimm is good at loading a single hour with a subplot that is resolved at the end of each episode as well as guiding the over-arching story forward week to week. With the budget they are working with, they make the special effects count, and give the creatures that inhabit this world a unique and interesting look. I like this show more with every week that goes by, and I hope that anyone who hasn’t seen it will give it a shot. Watching Grimm keeps me thoroughly entertained. B+