TV Series Review
You wanna give a kid nightmares? Tell 'em a fairy tale.
Not one of those antiseptic, Disneyfied things in which all the rough edges have been smoothed away by time and prudence. Pluck one of the original stories from Grimm's Fairy Tales and watch the fear well up in those little eyes: Stories about children abandoned in the forest and abducted by cannibalistic witches; of girls constantly under attack by conniving stepmothers; of grandmamas being eaten by wolves who then lurk in disguise to lure young girls to their doom.
Fairy tales were harrowing, often bloody affairs, perhaps purposefully told to scare the stuffing out of young listeners: "Be shrewd as snakes," these stories scream. "Don't go outside without someone with you. Listen to your ma and pa. Else the world's wolves will eat you up."
Then, as children grow a little older, they learn that these stories—these fairy tales—are made up. The forest does not hold gingerbread houses. Wolves, no matter how hard they try, can never look like your grandmother.
According to NBC's drama Grimm, they can. And do.
Nick Burckhardt will tell you all about it, if you ask nicely and have a high endurance for outlandish tales. Back in the day, he'll say, he was just a run-of-the-mill police detective, spending his workdays putting run-of-the-mill bad guys behind bars.
But that was before he started seeing monsters.
They're called Wesen and, in Germanic fashion, pronounced vessin. They're the sorts of monsters that have haunted our fairy tales since the most ancient of days. Turns out, Nick's part of the storied Grimm family—a clan tasked from time immemorial to do battle with these supernatural beasties that still walk the earth. Most folks don't notice these monsters, at least not under normal circumstances. They disguise themselves as beautiful women or truculent teens or even the occasional grandmother, hiding from prying eyes … unless a couple of those eyes happen to belong to a Grimm.
Ever since discovering his freakish ability to see the freakish things surrounding him, Nick's life has taken on a different, darker hue. As he and his partner, Hank, set out to solve their caseload, Nick notices that some of the perps aren't quite who they seem to be. And as the show takes a more serialized turn, this paranormal police officer finds himself enmeshed in a complicated good-vs.-evil showdown involving coins, keys and his own family's legacy.
When the monsters aren't as monstrous as their reputation implies, he's taken to striking up awkward friendships, like with Eddie Monroe, a "big, bad wolf" in the old stories. (Now he's drinking mochas and doing Pilates.) But when they're truly bad dudes, Nick responds in kind, doing everything he can to, well, protect and serve.
That mean Grimm is yanking fables out of their magical garden by the roots and slapping them down in the middle of a cookie-cutter cop procedural. And the resulting monster mash-up is no child's lark. Grimm earns its typical TV-14 rating at every turn, from its sometime salacious sexual encounters to its questionable language.
But the biggest, baddest, toothiest villain in Grimm is its violence. In most procedurals, folks might get shot or stabbed. Here, there's the potential for them to have their arms ripped off or be devoured alive. The gore we see can be truly horrific—more at home in a Saw movie than prime-time television.
And with no desire to replicate those old yarns' sense of queasy, unforgiving morality, Grimm ends up feeling both schlockier and showier, more eager to shock viewers with gore than probe the darker corners of their brains and souls.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Drama, Crime, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
David Giuntoli as Nick Burckhardt; Russell Hornsby as Hank Griffin; Bitsie Tulloch as Juliette Silverton; Silas Weir Mitchell as Eddie Monroe; Sasha Roiz as Capt. Renard; Reggie Lee as Sgt. Wu; Kate Burton as Marie Kessler; Claire Coffee as Adalind Schade
Paul Asay Paul Asay