BLU-RAY REVIEW: Grimm Season One
Fantastical Cop Action/Drama Hits Home Video In Time For Second Season...
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If you're a fan of the supernatural or the TV show Supernatural, tales from "once upon a time" or the TV show Once Upon a Time, NBC's Grimm should be on your list of must watch TV. Produced by the same folks who brought fans classic TV shows Buff the Vampire Slayer and Angel, Grimm is an always entertaining, often intense, and sometimes comical look at the legendary through the eyes of seemingly normal Portland Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli), who discovers he's a "Grimm," a human warrior of sorts charged by fate to retain the balance between the human world and the world of myth. With his human police partner Detective Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby) and his Blutbad (werewolf) supernatural friend Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), Nick finds himself thrust into unexpected and often frightening situations dealing with a world populated by creatures of legend - werewolves, witches, and mythical creatures of all types and sorts.
Unlike previous fantasy series like the previously mentioned Buffy or Supernatural, which often focused on the killing of creatures of legend, Grimm makes for an almost humanitarian look at what might happen when humans and mythological creatures attempted to co-exist. Played marvelously by David Giuntoli, Detective Nick Burkhardt is a policeman who's tough when it counts, heartfelt when necessary, and gracious always. Thus, when his aunt mysteriously appears and is savagely hurt, Nick must attempts to process the life-altering fact he and his family are descended from a long line of "Grimms," human watchers who maintain - through both peaceful and not-so-peaceful means - the existence of mythological creatures in a human world. These creatures, disguised as humans, co-exist in every major city and country in the world and it's up to Nick and other Grimms like him to not only keep the peace, but deal with the noncompliant monsters looking to cause havoc, disorder, and war.
The most engaging and entertaining aspect of Grimm is none other than the characterization and interaction between the different characters and character types as they encounter one another in new and unique situations. Whether it's Nick's stressed relationship with his veterinarian girlfriend of three years Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch), his work and personal relationship with his police partner Hank, or his random encounters with new and unique creatures - including everything from a generous "Eisbiber" (beaver creature), a sexy "Daemonfeurer" (dragon-creature), a gluttonous "Bauerschwein" (pig-creature), or a treacherous "Klaustreich" (alley-cat-creature) - each and every encounter between each and every character is not only exciting and fun, but entertaining and often frightening as well.
While Grimm is no doubt about Nick and actor David Giuntoli plays him well, the most impressive acting of the show comes courtesy of Silas Weir Mitchell, whose Monroe character develops best throughout the first season's 22 episodes. While the first season finds Nick working on understanding his newly discovered abilities and responsibility, the first season is just as much about Monroe's personal journey as Nick's friend and companion. Thus, it's no surprise a large majority of episodes includes Monroe in a major supporting role, providing Nick with not only advice and information, but emotional support as well. And let's not forget the fact that just because Monroe is a "reformed" werewolf who only eats vegetables doesn't mean he never falls off the wagon and become the beast of legend he's supposed to be.
Special features on this five-disc set include a number of bonuses, including the "Grimm Guide," a somewhat static "interactive" guide to the creatures in the show presented in text; "The World of Grimm," a basic overview of the series; and "Making Monsters," a special FX featurette about the show's monsters. Other bonus features include deleted and extended scenes which didn't make the original episodes, a gag reel, a highlights reel, and audition tapes from the cast. While a bit underwhelming, the bonus features provide at least a simple behind-the-scenes look at the show, it's development and idea, and production.
While Grimm overall strives to attract fans of previous fantastical shows like Supernatural, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel, Grimm struggles somewhat with its identity in this first season. Is it a police procedural with fantasy elements, a "monster of the week" cop drama, or something in between? That's the question which Grimm creators seeks to find and weekly viewers wish to know. Thankfully, the show's on-going storyline develops further in the later half of the season and season finale sets up an on-going story which should attract fans back for at least the beginning of Season Two, which debuts tonight on NBC.
Action-packed, imaginative, engaging, and often comical, Grimm Season One hit home video last week and, with Season Two beginning tonight, there's still time for fans both new and old to catch up and enjoy this fun and sometimes frightening series.
Grimm Season One is available on blu-ray and DVD wherever fine home video is sold.
Grimm Season Two begins tonight - Monday, August 13 - on NBC. Check local listings for time.
- Jess C. Horsley