Once Upon a Time there was a Grimm review.

I know I'm getting a late start on this fall's fantasy/science fiction TV, but better late than never right?

Fall 2011 has brought us two fantasy based shows who took their inspiration from our childhood stories.

The first is called Grimm, on NBC.  Guess where its main inspiration comes from.

Grimm is about a police detective, Nick Burckhardt (David Giuntoli), who discovers he is a "Grimm", a descendant of a family line capable of seeing and interacting with the supernatural.  From what I gathered from the pilot, this basically means they are slayers (like Joss Whedon's Buffy) who just happen to go after more than just vampires.  He's got a crazy aunt type who is being hounded by the supernatural (presumably because she killed some poor werewolf's baby), who tells him all about what he is right before being viciously attacked .  She leaves him a trailer/mobile home type thing full of weapons and knowledge that he will need to be what he's going to be.

Overall, I found the story foolish and the acting miserable.  Granted, the dialog wasn't written very well, but it's delivered with extra-special awkwardness, as if the actors know that what they're doing looks dumb.  It made the show particularly painful to watch, and I have to admit I didn't make it all the way through the pilot before deciding I had better things to do with my time.  Considering I didn't walk out on Underworld 3, that's saying something.

On a final note, I know hollywood has this obsession with making everything pretty, but Mr. Giuntoli's detective looks way too young to be one, as if the police department had run out and adopted a "we'll take what you got" attitude towards the academy. In my line of work I've met quite a few detectives, and none of them look anything like him, mostly because it takes years of hard, grizzly work to become one.  Since Mr. Giuntoli is actually in his early 30's, technically he should be able to pull this off, so I'm gonna land this one squarely on the makeup department.  He should look like he's seen a lot of crap, not like he's just graduated high school.

Here's a clip, courtesy Hulu.com, you be the judge:

The other fantasy based show out there now is ABC's Once Upon A Time staring Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard), Jennifer Morrison (Emma Swan), Lana Parilla (as "the Evil Queen"/Regina Mills), and one of my all time favorites Robert Carlyle (Rumpelstilskin/Mr. Gold).

Off the bat I liked this one a lot better.  I felt, despite the inherent cheesiness of telling a story about Snow White in the modern age, that it was a much higher level production and far more entertaining than Grimm.  On this one I made it all the way through the pilot, and found myself very much wanting to see more.

I was amused to begin with, then intrigued, then totally wrapped up in the story.  It starts with what is effectively the end of the classic Snow White fairy tale.  Snow White and Prince Charming are about to have their wedding when in storms the Evil Queen to ruin the day, but wait, she's not actually there to ruin the day but to warn the protagonists that though they may have defeated her this time, their victory will come at a terrible price.  Snow White decides she doesn't want to wait and see what this "terrible price" is going to be, so she, against the wishes of her prince, goes into the dungeon where they happen to be keeping Rumpelstilskin (presumably after he tried to steal the last princess' baby- which I am thinking might be the current Prince Charming, but we'll see if they go into that).

Ole' Rumpel tries to make the same deal with Snowy as he did with that lying miller's daughter, but softens it a bit to say that he'll trade the Evil Queen's plans for just the birth name of Snowy's baby.  The Prince warns her against accepting this (for names have power, you see, and if you've read Rumpelstilskin you know that giving a very powerful imp your baby's true name is pretty much stupidity incarnate).  However, Snowy is so scared of the Evil Queen (who really should be called Meleficent.  I realize Maleficent is from Sleeping Beauty, but it really fits better than this generic name, damnit.  In researching this I found out that they are going to have a Maleficent separate from the Evil Queen in the series, so I guess that's why the did it, but still...) that she accepts the deal.  Rumpel tells her that the Queen is going to banish the entire realm to a place where there are no happy endings, a place where every day is winning for evil, and where they will all be doomed to live a life of eternal suffering.  Snow White then promptly reneges on the deal and storms out of the dungeon.

Yeah, that's class.  Are these the values you'll be teaching your kid there?  Your word is worthless. Way to go.

So to make a long story short, the curse of the Evil Queen goes through, and they're all banished to an immortal existence in low paying jobs in a town run by the Evil Queen and Rumpelstilskin, right here on Earth.  HA!

Actually, what they do with that I was pretty happy with.  You see, thanks to Geppetto (yeah, THAT Geppetto), there was one person who wound up immune from the Queen's spell, but I'll let you find that out for yourself.

Below is a scene between Snowy and Prince Charming (my thanks again to Hulu.com).  I couldn't find one with Rumpelstilskin, which I would have rathered, so we'll all have to settle for this (or you can pop over to ABC.com and watch whole episodes).

Just a few last notes here.

One- While doing research for this I found out that Angelina Jolie is going to be playing Maleficent in an upcoming production.  All I can say to that is, NOOOOOO!  As one of the commentators on the webpage put it, Angelina couldn't pull off Maleficent in a million years.

Two- Terra Nova, I refuse to watch this stupidity.  The Earth is dying, but we have wormhole technology so let's go to the time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth and start over?  WTF!  The only way this series would be good is if the first human out of the wormhole stepped on a proto-mammal and they all vanished in a genocidal time-paradox.  If you have wormholes, why don't you go to one of the tens of planets that are Earth-like we've already discovered (see NASA.gov for details) instead of risking time paradoxes that could wipe out all life as we know it.  STUPID STUPID STUPID.  The only reason this idiocy is the plot for such a show is so they can draw in the kiddies with the candy-red lure of dinosaurs.  So,  needless to say, I will not be reviewing this crap (other than what you see here).

Okay, that's all for today.

Be well All!


  1. First, "renege."

    Second, I thought Once Upon a Time was terrible. It was incredibly overacted and the plot was kind of convoluted. Of course, considering how many people working on this show worked on Lost, that's to be expected, I guess.

    Third, I didn't think Grimm was very good, but I did find it more watchable. It's kind of stiff and it definitely forces the whole fairy tale aspect of it. The fairy tale aspects are really just there as a hook, because you could take them out completely and it would still be the same story. And you aren't off in that it reminds you of Buffy, because one of the creators (David Greenwalt) worked on Buffy and Angel. So for that reason I think it will get better if only because Buffy was kind of awful when it started.

    Fourth, both of these really make me want to re-watch The 10th Kingdom. That was a good fairy-tale story, from the producers of... well, all those weird re-imaginings on SyFy in recent years (Tin Man, Alice, and the upcoming Neverland).

    Fifth, you should just read Fables. They were going to make a show out of it, but it got canned. I would have rather seen that show, the writer (Bill Willingham) is better read than most TV writers and it shows in the characters and stories... as in, it's re-imagined fairy tales done right.

  2. My thanks about renege. (oops). Correction made.

    I wasn't expecting too much from Once. The whole premise seems very adolescent to me so overacting was to be expected and didn't really seem so overblown to me. I also gave it some leeway for being a pilot (I haven't watched the rest yet).

    As for Grimm, I agree with you that if they took the fairy-tale stuff out it'd be virtually unchanged, which I think is a very bad sign. The overacting was way worse in Grimm, and I was thoroughly bored and turned off to it by minute 20. To each their own, of course, but of the two I'm definitely routing for Once to make it. Maybe it will get better, but unless it does at someone (like you) says to me "hey, give it another shot, really" I'm not going to be watching it again.
    And yes, Buffy wasn't good when it started, but it had a kind of campy charm that I think Grimm lacks. Angel kicked butt though, I'm still upset it got cancelled.

    I've never heard of 10th Kingdom, but I'll definitely check it out asap.

    Just looked up Fables on amazon. Looks interesting, so I may be checking that out soon as well. Thank you for the referrals!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts