In the fairy-tale face-off between Grimm and Once Upon a Time, I initially chose the latter. Since Grimm’s lead character is a cop, I figured it was going to be another show that wasted an intriguing premise on a predictable procedural (see – or don’t – New Amsterdam, which started out with a guy who’s immortal and turned into a cop procedural). But then I got tired of the bad writing and acting in Once’s fairy tale segments and of Jennifer Morrison’s outfit (has she changed clothes yet?), so I gave Grimm another look. It does have a procedural structure, but so far it’s doing a good job of incorporating the supernatural element: Nick Burkhardt, played by David Guintoli (who looks like Brandon Routh with more personality), has the Constantine-like ability to see demons masquerading as humans among us.
Each episode solves a monster-of-the-week mystery while also adding to the mythology of demons and demon hunters. If that reminds you of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it should, because creator David Greenwalt and director David Solomon are Buffy veterans. Grimm displays a Buffy-esque combination of humor and horror, thanks in large part to Silas Weir Mitchell as reformed werewolf Monroe. The show’s also patiently developing characters who are more than they initially seem. Case in point, Nick’s captain, Sean Renard (Caprica‘s Sasha Roiz): he looks like your usual uptight boss, but wait! He’s trying to have Nick killed, so he must be a bad guy. There’s more – he speaks Latin and French and may be royalty of some kind! And maybe he’s actually a good guy, responsible for preserving the balance between good and evil in town. A very Hellmouth-y idea, and I appreciate the textured character reveal. A recent episode starring Whedon alum Amy Acker (Angel, Dollhouse) even packed an emotional punch, focusing on the tension between the animal instinct for survival and human desire to rise above base instinct. Grimm has potential, and I hope the network gives it a chance to further develop its dark humor and layered mythology.