Grimm is a new show this season, appearing on NBC. It stars David Giuntoli as Detective Nick Burkhardt, a Portland detective, who just happens to be a Grimm. What is a Grimm, you might ask? It’s sort of a mythological policeman, someone charged with keeping the supernatural, mythological and just plain weird creatures that lurk among humanity in check.
In general, I like police procedurals that have oddball elements. Shows like Castle and Mentalist are some of my favorites because they bring something different to the table. Grimm ought to fit right into that mold. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.
What’s my biggest problem with Grimm? It’s that these creatures are so damn common! Actually, that’s not really the extent of it, these creatures seem to far outnumber actual humans. Sometimes, I wonder if there are any actual humans in the show! Ultimately, Grimm is a pretty typical monster-of-the-week show, wrapped in a police procedural. One of the hallmarks of monster-of-the-week shows is that the monsters need to be rare. In Grimm, though, just about everyone Nick runs into is a monster. His Grimm powers allow him to see the critters for what they really are when they “slip”, getting scared or nervous, etc. We can never be sure if the people he doesn’t see as creatures are really human, or just really in control. I’m honestly waiting for us to find out that Nick’s partner, Hank, or his girlfriend, Juliette, are critters too. Why not? Everyone else is! It really makes no sense for these fairy-tale creatures to hide among humans when they seem to outnumber humans by a large percentage. Maybe we’re going to find out in the end that there are no humans whatsoever in the show, this is just some weird alternate universe.
So what about the creatures themselves? In the show, they’re classed generally under the term “Wesen”, German for “creature”. So far, at least, they’re primarily of German pseudo-mythological origin, which I suppose is understandable since the story loosely revolves around the Brothers Grimm tales. My issue is that all of these critters seem to be absurdly generic and typecast. All Bauerschwein act like this, all Hundjäger do that. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of individuality or variation in the different “species”. It’s about as ridiculous as saying “all blacks do this” or “all red-heads are like this”. Graphically, I find the creatures to be problematic as well. It’s like someone just found a CGI morph program and is using it with wild abandon. The majority of the critters are just anthropomorphic animals. Yes, Wesen are furries. Even the Grimm is just a stereotype, all Grimms act a certain way and are essentially the Wesen boogieman.
It becomes even more unbelievable as time goes on though, as we find out that these Wesen have whole secret societies in place. They have support groups, they have furry shrinks, they have communication networks and to be honest, it doesn’t look like they’re all that careful hiding what they are. How can you hope to hide a widespread creature population when they’re as careless as they’ve been shown to be?
Another problem is, I just don’t find the characters compelling. I haven’t found any reason to care about any of them. I couldn’t care less about the relationship between Nick and Juliette, I don’t care about Nick, I don’t even care about the oddball “big bad wolf done good” Eddie Monroe. He’s probably the most interesting of all of them, the creature made best friend of the creature-killing Grimm, but outside of his quirks, there’s nothing exceptional about him either.
It seems like Grimm is a show that you either love or hate. I haven’t seen anyone lukewarm. My wife likes it. I’m bored with it. Usually, I fall asleep in the middle of it. I can’t bring myself to care about any of it. I guess I’m sort of stuck with it since the wife wants to see it, but unless they dramatically change the focus of the show, it doesn’t look like it’s anything I’ll ever enjoy.