Shows Worth Watching: Grimm

Image from Wikipedia

This month’s Shows Worth Watching is all about NBC’s Grimm.  The very basic premise of Grimm is it’s a cop show with a slight twist to it.  The twist being that Nick Burkhardt, a Portland homicide detective, is what is known as a Grimm – a line of hunters who fight supernatural forces and beings.  Inspiration for the series is mainly taken from the Grimm Brothers Fairy Tales, a collection of stories from the early 1800’s that, during that time, were fairly scary children’s stories (Snow White, Hansel and Gretel, & Cinderella are some of the more popular Grimm stories).

Nick discovers he’s a Grimm after his aunt comes to visit him because she is dying.  She ends up dying while fighting a Wesen – the group of humans who have a second identity that only Grimm’s can see at all times, or Wesen can choose to let a human see it’s “creature” form – and that causes Nick’s Grimmness to rise to the surface (being a Grimm is a family trait and usually passes on when a family member dies).  The first episode featured a Wesen known as a Blutbot (played by Silas Weir Mitchell and known as Monroe) whom Nick befriends.  This is odd due to Grimm’s usually killing Wesen whenever they can.  The balance of Nick being a detective vs. being a Grimm plays a big part in this series and allows Nick to become friends with several Wesen.

What makes this show enjoyable is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously.  The writers are self-aware that the concept of this show can come off as ridiculous. Viewers see the writers self-awareness via the humor that appears in the show or some of the dialog of the cast.  Another good aspect of Grimm is keeping good characters around.  The character of Monroe is a key point to this.  Being featured in the first episode, making him and Nick become friends, having Monroe be in on investigations, and the overall character development of Monroe were all integral to making this show fun.  Monroe has been fleshed out a lot more over the past seasons and expanding on his story-line adds to the show. The writers do a good job of being able to balance between creature of the week and ongoing plot lines as well.  In a lot of shows, a “… of the week” aspect can get played out and take over a series.  With Grimm, the creature of the week tends to be a fun episode that reminds the viewer Nick is a detective.  The show has used small aspects of the “… of the week” feature in the ongoing plots here and there, tying things together in a not too complicated way.

One thing that has been a slight take away from Grimm is Nick’s girlfriend Juliette.  Juliette is a vet and it first seemed the writers would find a way to work this into Nick’s Wesen world.  Turned out that they didn’t quite know what to do with her.  Juliette more often ended up being a damsel in distress or a convenient plot device, which weakened her character.  However, the current fourth season really turned things around and has given Juliette a much more purposeful story.  I’m not the biggest fan of her current development, but at least she finally got something substantial.  Another thing that seems to get a little complicated is the back-story of the Royals – Wesens who are members of the seven royal families who keep the Wesen world in line.  The mythology of this gets a bit convoluted, making it hard to determine who is who and what side they really are on.  Sometimes it feels as if the mythology of Grimm isn’t known to even the writers.

Grimm will be on its fifth season next year and the most surprising thing about that is it has kept its original cast in tact.  Nick’s partner, Hank, has been a consistent presence since the first episode and has been given his own story-lines rather than be known as “the partner.”  Monroe has been a shining aspect of the show and if he ever left, the show would be seriously hindered.  The show has even managed to add to the cast and provide them with fairly integral roles, with the occasional misses here and there.

Overall Grimm is a fun show to watch and has improved with each season.  The current fourth season being the best so far. This show airs on Friday nights, which for some programs is the death-blow.  However, the Friday night slot works in Grimm’s favor.  It’s nice to be able to tune into a program on a Friday night that seems simplistic on the surface, but really gives the viewers what they want – good old enjoyment.  I highly recommend catching an episode of Grimm.  It’s fun and enjoyable and something to look forward to on Friday nights.

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Grimmtastic Friday

“Thank Grimm it’s Friday”  That’s NBC’s tag line for the awesome show Grimm.  Nick Burkhardt is a Portland detective who comes to find out his family has a history of protecting civilization from the various forms of Wesen (the various creatures that Grimm’s have been responsible for killing over the centuries).  Grimm takes its storylines from the Grimm Brothers’ Fairy Tales.

This week’s episode was another excellent one in a so far superb second season.  Nick is struggling to live with his girlfriend, Juliette, who has no memory of him after she awakes from a spell induced coma.  While at work Nick and Hank (Nick’s partner) have to find a missing girl who Nick is certain a Wesen is responsible for kidnapping.  Meanwhile, Juliette and Nick’s boss, Captain Renard, seem to be fighting an attraction to one another.  We find out what the deal is with that seemingly bumbling intern – he’s not the guy he wants to be – and if there really is another Grimm in Portland.  Monroe, Nick’s Wesen blutbot buddy, plays a supporting role again this episode, but any Monroe screen time is well worth it.  Hopefully Monroe will get some better storylines once his girlfriend returns from a visit to a sick aunt.

Grimm is a throughly entertaining show – no it’s not perfect and yes sometimes it would be nice to see more of a connection with Nick and the weekly cases – but it’s a show well worth watching.  Thank Grimm it’s Friday couldn’t be more true.

T.V. Premiere Season Bliss (spoilers)

Thursday started a full season of tv bliss for a self-proclaimed tv junkie.  The Big Bang Theory, Vampire Diaries, Project RunwayGrimm, Bedlam, The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, plus Bravo’s reality shows (yes I’m addicted to those shows as well) and some others I’m sure I’m missing.

My Thursday started out with the Big Bang Theory (last week was the premiere) with Amy being worried about Sheldon’s new assistant (really Amy?).  For fans of BBT, we know that Amy has nothing to worry.  Penny however, may have a different story.  The Big Bang is a great show to watch for laughs and entertainment.  Sheldon is my favorite but every character on the show is great.  Then it was on to Vampire Diaries and Elena’s “change.”  For those who read the books last season’s cliff hanger wasn’t too much of a surprise (we knew it would happen eventually).  I did think her change was a little bit dragged out and too dramatic, but what else should I have expected from Elena?  Caroline was initially happy when she thought Tyler had returned, but Klaus managed to have a little surprise for her.  Bonnie struggled with wanting to help her friends but using magic that she shouldn’t be.   And Damon and Stephan fall into their usual roles of trying to save/help Elena.  Don’t get me wrong – I still enjoy Vamp Diaries, I was just a bit impatient with the premiere.  Over on Project Runway it was time to decide who wouldn’t be going to fashion week.  I still watch PR but since the switch to Lifetime, the designers don’t seem to be pushed enough.

Friday – thank Grimm it’s Friday!  I couldn’t agree more with NBC’s tag line for this show.  After a stress filled week of work, having Grimm to look forward to is exactly what is needed.  The episode started out with what seemed like Juliette finally remembering Nick, but it ended up just being a dream.  Grimm is one of my favorite shows.  An original, scripted show that has quality story lines and keeps the action going is rewarding to watch (from a tv junkie point of view).  The character development is well paced and makes sense.  This one show that I hope is on for quite some time.

Then tonight – Saturday – it’s Bedlam on BBC America.  This is another spooky show that is well done (its a British show, how can it not be?).  This is the second season of the show on BBC-A and it was a good premiere last week.  Hoping they can explain a little more about Jed’s connection with Ellie

Sunday night is the long anticipated third season of The Walking Dead.  I haven’t read the comic books but I understand the prison is something fans have been waiting for.  After the long, drawn out time on Herschel’s farm last season, I’m hoping the prison is full of action and great zombie kills that were missing from last season.

Then this Wednesday is the 2nd season premiere of American Horror Story.  Last season FX did a superb job with AHS.  The fact that AHS is a stand alone story makes it easy for new viewers to hop on board – no catching up on what happened before.  The previews for AHS have looked wonderfully disturbing and I think I’ll have to DVR it and watch during the day.

So many shows to watch and so little time.  I hope fellow tv junkies have enjoyed the premieres of their shows.  Happy t.v. viewing to all!

Paranormal in primetime

Tonight, ABC premieres their attempt at the paranormal in primetime with 666 Park Avenue. I’m debating if I should give this show a shot or pass it up. I have some reservations about mainstream tv’s treatment of the scary. When certain genre’s get the mainstream treatment, something always seems to be missing.

The first mainstream paranormal show I really loved and watched The X-Files, which was on FOX (somewhat of a rebel in terms mainstream, free tv). The X-Files was an excellent show that made me “Want to Believe.” Fox Mulder and Dana Scully were a perfect match for each other – the hardcore believer vs. the staunch doubter. Each week Mulder and Scully would investigate cases that lived on the edge of reason and put a little bit of question in the viewers head to make them wonder if aliens or some other force could actually be true. Yes, the last two seasons of the X-Files were disappointing, with Mulder no longer a regular character, but The X-Files will always be a superb paranormal show to judge others off of.

I think NBC does a good job with Grimm – not quite complete paranormal, but a good effort at something outside the normal realm of scripted shows. Of course there is FX’s American Horror Story, which premiered last season and kept viewers wanting more each week. AHS did an excellent job of really scaring the view. There were times when I knew I couldn’t go to bed after watching an episode because I knew I would have nightmares. AMC’s The Walking Dead (based off of the comic book) does a great job at making zombies scary and the anticipated third season premieres in mid-October. The CW has The Vampire Diaries, which is surprisingly good, considering how bad the books are. And there is BBC America’s Bedlam, which I find particularly spooky and throughly enjoyable.

All of these shows are stiff competition for 666 Park Ave. Given it’s on ABC, which seems to have a strong family focus to its programming, I’m hedging my bet that the show will be Okay at best. I don’t have much hope that it will contain the disturbing scary quality of AHS or Bedlam, and doubt the risque factor will be high. I think I’ll record it and see if it’s worth the time, but don’t have much faith (I don’t Want to Believe). Anyone else out there have hope for mainstream paranormal?