With less than a week to go before the season premiere of “Grimm,” Universal releases the first season on DVD and Blu-ray today. And as one of the bright spots of the season last year, it’s definitely worth a look-see.
(For your chance to win a copy, see last Friday’s giveaway.)
Of the two main network fairytale series (the other being ABC’s “Once Upon a Time”), “Grimm” is more grounded in our modern reality. It’s the story of a homicide detective, Nick (David Giuntoli), who suddenly can see the hidden wesen, or mythological creatures that live among humans and rarely (for the most part) show their animal sides. They’re the basis of our fairy tales.
Nick is a Grimm, a line of warrior hunters who protect humans by hunting these wesen. It’s not really clear if the Grimms just hunt them all down or just the ones who cause trouble, but the vast majority of wesen fear Nick’s going to kill them on sight, even if they’re living peacefully as the refrigerator repairman.
Of course, the wesen are connected and have their own hierarchy. There are some royal families trying to reassert their power around the world (and, for Nick, Portland, Ore.), but here’s where it gets fuzzy, so to speak. The royal families are powerful, but they don’t seem to be wesen. But I’m not sure they’re human.
That’s just one of many questions and internal inconsistencies for season 2 to answer.
Nick has help, of course. In the pilot, he befriends a reformed blutbad (big, bad wolf) named Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell). He also has detective partner, Hank (Russell Hornsby), and girlfriend, Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch), both of whom aren’t privy to his Grimm side, but Juliette, especially, starts to wonder just what’s going on with the changes in Nick.
In several fun ways, “Grimm” combines a police procedural with a freak-of-the-week story and a grand, fantastical story arc that provides some great tweaks to the formula. Nick has a lot of balancing to do in his two worlds, as he solves wesen-related crimes but must frame them in ways the others in his life can understand.
There’s also plenty of humor mixed in — not sitcom laughs, but pokes at the absurdity of various situations, mostly with the brilliantly cast Mitchell as Monroe.
It takes a few episodes to get its footing, but it eventually reaches a great rhythm that carries it through the season. Aside from interesting stories and nods to classic fairy tales, it’s carried along by a great chemistry among the cast.
But it’s not perfect.
Those inconsistencies I mentioned keep me from giving “Grimm” a complete rave. There are a lot of questions of who knows what. Like (and I’m trying not to spoil things here) if so and so is the local prince, why do only some wesen seem to know he exists? And if he is a wesen, why can’t Nick tell? And if he isn’t, why do the ones that know about him even listen to him? And who do the Reapers work for? And just what is the underground wesen resistance resisting? I expect to have questions after one season, but some things just don’t seem to follow the show’s own internal logic. (I have similar issues with “Once Upon a Time,” as much as I enjoyed it, too.)
And why is the Japanese guy a Western-style wesen and not a mythological creature from his own country? Are the Germans the only ones with wesen? I think that bugged me more than anything, that they’re all German, or at least Western European. What about creatures from other cultures?
So with the season premiere coming up Monday, grab this soon (or catch up online) and get ready for some fairy tale fun.