Television
Nov 2, 2011

THE MYTHOS LOOKS GRIMM

The Brothers Grimm compiled over two hundred Germanic fairy tales ranging from Snow White to Hansel and Gretel.  The stories cover a wide range of subjects, myths, and folklore creatures. That’s a lot of material to work with. The arduous task of attaching a plausible mythos to tie these stories together falls to creators Stephen Carpenter, David Greenwalt, Jim Kouf in NBC’s paranormal thriller Grimm.

Set in modern day Portland, Oregon the series stars David Giuntoli as Detective Nick Burkhardt, who aside from being the winner of the Brandon Routh look-a-like contest discovers from his Aunt Marie that he is a Grimm, and that the stories are real. As it turns out Grimms are humans who can see through the false guise of the sinister supernatural beings and are charged with keeping humanity safe, apparently using only medieval weaponry. Just when you thought it was safe to put your armory on eBay!

The pilot opens with a big bad wolf on the prowl hunting girls in red sweaters. Det. Burkhardt’s investigation into the disappearances is compromised as he is starting to see things in people resembling the same creatures that Rowdy Roddy Piper saw in They Live when he put his sunglasses on. Burkhardt is aided by a reformed big bad wolf (Silas Weir Mitchell) who ‘through a strict regiment’ is able to barely keep his wolf side at bay, pun intended.

The show is not as bad as I thought it would be, which still does not bode well based on my lowered Friday night network expectations. One thing I find both simplistic and disconcerting is how the battle lines are as simple as human vs. non-human.  The old if it’s different than us we should kill it before it kills us philosophy that has worked so splendidly through the ages. The reformed big bad wolf is an obligatory comic relief used as a guide like Virgil in Dante’s Inferno. I did like the use of both The Eurythmic’s and Marilyn Manson’s version of ‘Sweet Dreams’ to bookend the pilot, but I thought an opportunity was wasted by not using the hysterical viral hit “Big Bad Wolf’ by Duck Sauce (video for ages 18+).

If this show is going to survive then it will be on how well the plethora of stories ranging from Snow White to Hansel and Gretel are used in conjunction with the growing mythos surrounding this world, the Grimms, and the supernatural world along side it. The writers must reimagine this wealth of folklore that is so familiar to many of us and modernize it. How would Cinderella play out in this world? Is Rapunzel a reclusive teen socialite? This is where the show wins or loses. I’m not too confident. But again, this is Friday night network, I could be stuck with <gasp> CSI:NY. Now that would be Grimm.