With summer coming to an end, and the new fall television schedule right around the corner, Amber West and I decided that we should take a break-of-sorts here on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday. I say “of sorts” because instead of reviewing a fresh series, we want to feature a few shows that we are looking forward to returning in the 2012/2013 TV season.
This week, we revisit the world of fairy tales, where we re-post our Grimm and Once Upon a Time reviews from January.
I’m at a bit of an advantage today, because for the first time in a long time (or for at least as long as I can remember), NBC broke from the norm this year and is already airing new episodes of Grimm. Why not air new episodes in August? I love it! I am so happy to have one of my favorites back weeks ahead of the regular fall schedule. We’re already a few tales in, and I must say that I love the direction of season two.
But before I get too deep, take a look back at why I fell in love in the first place…
The basics: The series follows Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) as he balances his life solving murders and learning that he comes from a long line of criminal profilers (Grimms) responsible for protecting the people of the world against the supernatural.
To Recap: The Hook and Fairy Tale Number One – Little Red Riding Hood.
The pilot episode might still be my favorite. The attention to detail and fantastic one-liners hooked me immediately, but not enough to earn anything above the SSTV rating. I mean, seriously—the program had just barely aired one episode, but the interest was there…
The series began as a sorority girl departs from her house wearing a bright red hoodie and listening to the Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams” as she sets out for her morning jog through the woods. While on her run, the girl spots an odd figurine positioned on a rock. She stops to investigate when she is suddenly tackled by something with lightning fast speed, and the viewers can only assume she’s going to die.
Nick and his partner, Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby), drive out to the scene of the crime where they discover a jogger has been ripped apart in the woods. The detectives assume an animal is responsible for the attack, although they can’t seem to locate any animal tracks—only boot tracks.
Later that night, Nick returns home to discover his Aunt Marie (Kate Burton) has stopped by on a surprise visit. After a cryptic, “we need to talk,” Nick and his aunt go for a walk and she begins to tell him that his family has a secret. His parents didn’t die in an accident; they were murdered. Why is she telling him this now? She is dying, and the Grimm powers will pass to him in just a matter of days if they haven’t already.
Before she can tell him the complete story, Nick and his aunt are attacked by a Reaper of the Grimms. Nick can’t believe his eyes and he opens fire on the monster and shoots him dead, but not before the attack renders his aunt unconscious.
Reeling from the day’s events, Nick walks into his aunt’s travel-trailer where he finds an arsenal of bizarre weapons and an ancient family book revealing his destiny. All of this helps explain the event earlier in the day when he noticed a beautiful blonde walking down the street suddenly transform into nasty looking creature.
As most of us would with life-altering information such as this, Nick decides to keep his secret from his girlfriend (Juliette, played by Bitsie Tulloch) and his partner. For now, anyway.
The fairy tale continues the next day when Nick and his partner are called to another crime scene. This time, a younger girl has been kidnapped with the initials R.H. Coincidence?
This is where Nick tracks down Eddie Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), a reformed Big Bad Wolf. Monroe can see Nick as a Grimm immediately, but he reluctantly agrees to help Nick understand the mythology. Monroe also agrees to help track down the other Big Bad responsible for the little girl’s disappearance. He drives Nick out to the woods, sticking his head out the window along the way, sniffing out the other Big Bad’s scent. Afraid of what might happen if he gets too close, Monroe retreats as soon as they locate the cabin where his sense of smell has indicated the other Big Bad and little R.H. are located. Nick then calls Hank out to the woods, but explains he didn’t call for any additional backup because he “already cried wolf once.”
Of course, Hank doesn’t understand how Nick tracked this man down, but he believes his partner when he overhears the suspect humming the exact same song that had been playing in the jogger’s ear buds from the first crime scene, “Sweet Dreams.” The take down ensues, little R.H. is rescued, and Grimm ends with the Marilyn Manson version of “Sweet Dreams” — I’ve got to know what’s inside you.
Let’s be honest—the song is what actually hooked me. Not only is it a favorite (either rendition), but the chosen lyrics forshadowed what the episode had in store for us. Like we mentioned earlier, great attention to detail.
Now further into the season, Grimm has aired more episodes and tackled fairy tales such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Pied Piper, Rapunzel, The Queen Bee, and the Three Little Pigs. The special effects and storylines are enticing; the use of Monroe in each episode to help Nick solve the case at hand is fun, and it is a bit heartwarming to see the two work together and develop a friendship between creature and Grimm; and the actual police procedural aspect of the story ranks up there with the other crime dramas on television today.
The first creature that Nick saw transform on the street has a bit of a recurring role, and has since been identified as a hexinbeast (the blonde monster from the pilot episode, played by Claire Coffee). Nick and Hank were assigned to protect her in “The Queen Bee” episode, despite the fact that she attempted to kill his aunt while in the hospital.
As viewers, we know this hexinbeast is working for Nick’s police captain (Captain Renard played by Sasha Roiz), but Nick has no idea his boss is a bad guy.
Which poses the question, why not? Nick can see the creatures transform in front of him, so why can’t he see that his boss is one of them? Also, we know that the creatures know immediately just by looking at him that Nick is a Grimm, so what is it that they see exactly? Does his face transform as well?
Obviously, I’d like for the series to answer some of these questions; but in the meantime, since sitting on the hot plate after the pilot, the simmering water is now boiling and Grimm earns a MacTV rating. The water is clearly hot enough for us to drop in the pasta in order to enjoy some MacNCheese, and we’re anxiously awaiting its return.
Like I said earlier, I love the direction of season two. I don’t want to give too much away, but the Hank storyline is fantastic—for those of you who haven’t watched, he accidentally sees Monroe in is Blutbad form (wolf) at the end of season one. Things only get worse for Hank when he continues to see things (other creatures/transformations) he can’t explain. Season two explores Hank’s frustrations and you can’t help but feel sorry for the guy, knowing as a viewer that he isn’t going crazy like he thinks he is.
I’m still not sold on the Juliette/Nick storyline evolving here in season two, but I’ll be patient and see where the writers and creators take us with this one. Until then, I can’t wait for more of Grimm‘s take on the classic fairy tale… bring on the creatures!
What do you think? Do you watch Grimm? Which of the tales has been your favorite and why? I’d love to hear from you!
Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her recap of ABC’s fairy tale hit, Once Upon a Time.
Come back next week when Amber and I re-post two more of our favorite returning shows. Can you guess which ones? Mine moves to Sunday nights and hers has a British accent…
Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.
A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:
GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech