Halloween is fast approaching and to celebrate I’m planning some special items for the blog, including a rundown of my favorite “scary” movies. Before revealing how big of a little bitch I am by telling you what scares me, I’ve got an advance review of the pilot episode of the new NBC series “Grimm” which debuts Friday, October 28 at 8 pm central. For the first time I can remember, social media provided me with a benefit, the folks at NBC allowed the show’s Twitter followers to watch the pilot a few weeks early. So was the early viewing a cruel trick and waste of time or was it an amazing treat that could be the start of something special?
For those unfamiliar with the concept of the show, “Grimm” is basically a police drama with a twist. In the “Grimm” universe creatures from the fairy tales of The Brothers Grimm actually exist, but their existence is only known to those who can see them, descendants of the Brothers Grimm. I first became interested in the series after hearing about it, as the premise reminded me of the graphic novel series, Fables. So with my interest piqued I waited patiently until a few days ago when I was finally able to see the finished product from the comfort of my own home.
Per my policy, I’ll try to keep things as spoiler free as possible. Perhaps the most important thing viewers should understand about the show is it isn’t necessarily a horror show. I know that the previews make it look like the show is really scary, but the pilot was not very scary. Of course there are some thrills, but the show does a wonderful job of breaking up any tension with humor. As mentioned above, I think it’s important for viewers to know the show has more in common with police/crime dramas than “Tales from the Crypt” or “American Horror Story” (at least from what I’ve seen). That’s not to say the show is without scares or later episodes will not be much more terrifying, I just think folks should have an idea of what they’re going to watch so they’ll better enjoy it.
So what stood out? For one, the show moved at a good pace. As is the case with most detective shows we see an entire case solved in one episode. If the pilot is any indication the show will feature “cases” which are related to a particular fairy tale each week. Considering the pilot had to setup the show’s concept, introduce & develop key characters and solve a mystery all in around 40 minutes, I think the episode is a huge success. I feel like we were given enough background on the main characters to become emotionally involved in their exploits, but there are still plenty of things to be learned about them which will keep us engaged past the solving of individual cases each week.
Another thing that stood out is how accessible the show is. Sure it’s inspired by fairy tales, but the show doesn’t get too geeky or obscure with references and influences. In general I feel most should be vaguely familiar with the character archetypes, so they’ll have fun watching the show from the start, but hardcore viewers have been left little breadcrumbs of obscurity to discuss in minute detail. Basically I think the show has something for everyone. It’s a fresh take on the police drama, but it incorporates elements of fantasy and horror in a way that should appease fans of each genre.
I think everyone should give Grimm a shot. The trailers make the show seem a bit scarier than it is, but perhaps the pilot is just a teaser of the true horrors waiting later in the season. For fans of shows like “Law & Order” you have your detectives working to find bad guys and put them away. Fans of fantasy will appreciate the creatures and supernatural elements of the show. The only people who might not appreciate the show as much are those who really love horror, but let’s be honest, it’s a show that comes on broadcast TV on a Friday night, so it can’t be too scary. Horror fans owe it to themselves to check out the show as it’s from some of the folks who made “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. I’d say the horror is similar between the two shows. Nothing too hardcore, but enough supernatural elements to give you the creeps and keep fans coming back.
Bottomline, I’m really looking forward to seeing how the show develops. The pilot is a great introduction to the universe and characters inhabiting it. The small details I picked up on during my 2nd viewing have me excited about a show that seems to be going for a more sophisticated, intelligent audience. I’m not even going to get started on the cliffhanger at the end of the pilot that has me counting down the days until November 4th when the 2nd episode premieres!!