Who doesn’t love a bit of fantasy television?
This year there are two US shows that cover similar territory in bringing classic fairytales into a modern world.
One is Once Upon a Time from ABC, which sees Snow White, Prince Charming and the Evil Queen living in Maine. And the other is NBC’s Grimm, in which a Portland detective learns his family’s past has monstrous feuds -literally- that he must conquer.
David Giuntoli plays Nick Burkhardt, the dashing detective who begins to see flashes of the supernatural in strangers at the same time as his Aunt Marie (Kate Burton) arrives with grim, sorry, news. He is a descendant from the Brothers Grimm, the German storytellers who penned Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Hansel & Gretel, Rapunzel and more. At their darkest, there were ghouls and monsters of all shapes and sizes, and for Marie they were very real, including those who are out to devour the Grimm family.
But before Nick can grasp the significance of her warning, Marie is mauled by a local monster. If he didn’t believe in the legends, he sure does now.
Grimm is a procedural cop show with fantasy, so each week Nick and his partner Hank (Russell Hornsby) have local cases to solve, most of which surprise, surprise, have links to the underworld. Nick keeps seeing flashes of ghouls in those he is interrogating, via his new-found sixth sense. It’s just that nobody else does. Procedural crime cases are resolved against a backdrop of the bigger arc of Nick’s family quest.
In a nice touch, one local monster, Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), shares his lack of enthusiasm for his own family’s legacy and forms an unusual bond as a reluctant advisor of all things supernatural. It’s one of the few original touches of the piece.
There’s a bit of a conspiracy theory going on, a cute girlfriend for Nick, flashes of gore and a forest setting that adds to the storybook mood.
The series is also co-executive produced by Sean Hayes, who as an actor is best known for Will and Grace. David Giuntoli, who resembles a more handsome Zachary Quinto, plays the role straight but sincerely ensuring this plays straight down the middle.
Grimm is broad without ever coming near the gothic intensity of The Company of Wolves, nor the humour of An American Werewolf in London. It would probably pair well with Supernatural or Teen Wolf.
Nevertheless, Grimm ticks most of the boxes and is entertaining fun without ever being too demanding.
Grimm premieres 8:30pm Wednesday January 4 on FOX8.