Some shows have a really interesting concept, yet fail to execute said concept in an effective manner. Such is the case with NBC’s new show Grimm, a show that at held lots of promise but ultimately, turned out to be a dull, lazy and far from engaging series. Revolving around homicide detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli), a seemingly ordinary man who discovers that he’s a descendant of the Grimms, better known as the Brothers Grimm, the show spits out a dull and tired storyline week after week, leading to a first season that gives us a hard time investing in it.
As the pilot episode starts up, we learn very quickly that the classic fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm are actually non-fiction, they are true stories. Nick learns that being a descendant of the Brothers Grimm allows him to spot witches, wolves, trolls, a Rapunzel, a Bluebeard and other fairy tale baddies in the real world, where they hide in plain sight disguised as humans. From here, each episode gives us a new crime for Nick and his partner to solve, with each storyline having a little Brothers Grimm twist to it.
The major issue with the show is that it all feels too conventional. It takes on the form of a police procedural and even despite the fantastical twist that is thrown in, this is all stuff that we’ve seen before. There’s no imagination or originality, even with the whole Brothers Grimm element at play. The show screams generic and gets boring pretty quickly.
Episode after episode we see Nick and his parter Hank trying to solve a new crime with the use of Nick’s Grimm abilities. Each episode results in a self-contained story, with little to no connections tying the whole season together. Yes, there’s some minor continuity in some of the character’s storylines, but there’s just not enough to keep you invested. The ending of the season does show promise for more of an overall story arc for season two, which has already begun, but as a standalone story, the first season of Grimm just isn’t all that gripping.
The crimes that Nick has to solve are never puzzling or interesting either and David Giuntoli is bland in the lead role. He doesn’t command your attention and he’s just not a very interesting guy. His character Nick is severely underwritten, despite being the main character, and we get little backstory/depth to him.
Russell Hornsby, who plays Nick’s partner, is a bit more likeable and fun to watch but still, neither of them stand out as television leads. The only one who actually stands out here is Silas Weir Mitchell of Prison Break fame, who plays Monroe, a monster fighting on Nick’s side.
Despite the formulaic nature of it all, there is still some fun to be had here. There’s some good action and frights as well as solid costume design and interesting sets. I just wish that they had built up the whole mythology a bit better, instead of leaving everything for season two. Everything is just so disparate, which makes it really hard to care for the show.
We see intriguing ideas pop up here and there and I’d be foolish to say that the show is without potential. The potential is there, between the cracks we sense a deeper mythology and backstory for Nick and the world of the Grimms, it’s just not explored or fleshed out enough and due to that, it’s hard to get involved in the first season.
Thankfully, the disc itself is pretty strong. Those strong production values I mentioned above, the disc’s strong visual transfer brings them to life in a very solid 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation. Crisp definition and consistent color and contrast highlight the picture and all of the CG and other visual FX look pretty convincing. As far as I could tell, closeups were revealing and sharp and detail is clean throughout. A couple nighttime scenes take a hit here and there but overall, there isn’t much to fault when it comes to the video.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track is equally as impressive. Atmospherics play a big part in setting the mood and they do a good job. Dialogue is clean and clear and surrounds kick in when needed. The score is appropriate as well, working with the sound effects to create a haunting and chilling feel during various scenes.
In terms of special features, the disc is surprisingly underwhelming.
- Grimm Guide (HD): A text-heavy book that details the world of Grimm. While it is technically “interactive,” don’t expect much.
- Deleted and Extended Scenes
- The World of Grimm: A 10 minute overview of the show that covers the basics.
- Audition Tapes: David Giuntoli, Silas Weir Mitchell, Russell Hornsby, Bitsie Tulloch and Reggie Lee audition tapes.
- Making Monsters: An interesting, yet far too short look at the process of making the various monsters in the show.
- VFX Progressions: A two minute FX breakdown, skip it.
- Highlight Reels: Three short, and useless, montages.
- Gag Reel
- My Scenes Bookmarking
Overall, it’s hard to recommend Grimm based on this season alone. As mentioned above, I like the premise and I do see potential, but season one didn’t take enough risks and as a result, came out feeling bland and nowhere near involving enough. I am interested to see what Grimm can do in season two but unless you really enjoyed the first season, you may find yourself regretting your purchase if you decide to buy Grimm on Blu-Ray.
Overall, while the show is watchable and mildly entertaining, it's really nothing special. There is potential here, and it may mature and bloom in its second season, but as it stands, season one is a pretty mediocre affair.