TV on Disc: Urban Fairy Tales in 'Grimm: Season One'
There are monsters among us! The big bad have made Portland, Oregon their home
"Grimm: Season One" (Universal) is one of the new breed of urban fantasy shows, a mix of dark fairy tale, modern crime, and supernatural conspiracy set in the emerald forest of Portland, Oregon.
See a clip from the series below
David Giuntoli stars as Nick Burkhardt, just your average telegenic, young homicide detective in the laid back emerald city of Portland, Oregon, until he starts seeing monsters in the population. You see, fairy tales are real and Nick discovers that he comes from a long line of Grimms, monster hunters with the ability to see past the human masks to the creatures beneath and access to the lore (passed down from the original Grimm Brothers) to take them on.
Sure, it's the usual high concept take on a fantasy concept, but this one is a lot of fun despite the familiar conventions. Nick can't tell his veterinarian girlfriend Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) or his partner Hank (Russell Hornsby) who he is or what he does, so he turns to reformed blutbad (Grimm-speak for big bad wolf) Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), a peace-loving wolfman just trying to co-exist peacefully with the help of meditation, a healthy diet, and a positive attitude.
There's a hit of "Buffy" here, thanks to co-creator David Greenwalt (a producer on "Buffy" and co-creator of the "Angel" spin-off, as well as a veteran of "X-Files" and other genre shows). "Grimm" follows the monster-of-the-week format while building on the concept through the season and as the series develops so does the whole culture of wesen (supernatural beings) and hints at big doings in the underworld. Little does Nick know that his own boss, Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz), is wesen royalty and the leader of… what exactly, we're not sure, except that he's behind the murder of Nick's aunt, who passed the mantle of Grimm down to Nick with her death.
It all works on a TV budget, with digital effects that you either go with or tune out. More effective is the way the show uses of location and mood, especially those deep, dark forests and wooded parks that the production transforms into primordial hunting grounds.
But as any fan will tell you, it's Monroe who makes the show. Silas Weir Mitchell has spent years bouncing from series to series in guest spots as offbeat villains and oddball characters. Here he lets us see a warmer, more personable side of him and his unlikely friendship with Nick, by tradition his sworn enemy, sets the stage for the show's sensibility (there's a new sheriff in town, and this Grimm is looking out for wesen and humans alike) while building a bond of loyalty that pays off in the second half of the season. Turning guide, adviser, and sidekick, Mitchell gives us a heroes journey of a former big bad wolf turned gentle lupine who finds a new sense of purpose in being a good guy.
22 episodes on five discs on Blu-ray and DVD, plus supplements. The ten-minute "The World of Grimm" is the usual introductory featurette, with a breezy introduction to the concept, the characters, and the actors. "Grimm: Making Monsters" is shorter and exactly what the title says, but without much detail. Also includes audition tapes for the five leads (Reggie Lee's audition is for Hank, the part played by Russell Hornsby), "VFX Progressions" (simple illustration of the digital effects process in a few short shots) and three two-minute "Highlight Reels" of "Scares," "Morphs," and "The Language of Grimm" (the latter is a great immersion into the culture of the show). Helpfully, the fold-out digipak case features a wesen dictionary of creatures and terms.
Exclusive to the Blu-ray is the interactive "Grimm Guide" to the creatures of the show and an Ultraviolet digital copy, for download and instant streaming.
See a clip after the jump. Just click on "More" below.