Take Me To The Pilots '11: NBC's 'Grimm'
[In case you've Forgotten, and as I will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots.]
Show: "Grimm" (NBC)
The Pitch: "What if you stripped fairy tales of their whimsy and subtext and just built a generic procedural around fighting fairy tale bad guys?"
Quick Response: There's almost no way of saying this without sounding like I'm maligning either "Grimm," NBC or Syfy, but what on Earth is this show doing on a broadcast network rather than on cable? "Grimm" is a niche-y show and doesn't appear to have any desire at broad reach. It's a grim (pun not-particularly-intended), serious-minded procedural with an approach to procedurals that's almost completely devoid of fun or humor. Instead, creators Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt fill the pilot script with Germanic-sounding creatures and portentous chatter about legacies and family destinies. The production values are middling (pilot director Marc Buckland has kept everything lit as darkly as possible and not in an evocative way) and the cast isn't glutted with big name stars. This is the kind of show Syfy could pair with a "Haven" and it would probably have a chance to find an audience acceptable enough to keep the thing around for a couple seasons. NBC has scheduled it for Fridays and without a star to promote or even a hook-y visual motif, there's no chance it'll succeed. Like ABC's "Once Upon a Time," "Grimm" is built around a "What if the stories were real?" tag, but unlike "OUAT," "Grimm" wastes that tag on 44 minutes of the dullest murder investigation possible, as people turn into wolves and other critters in the background. Leading man David Giuntoli isn't so bad that I'm forced to make jokes about his "Road Rules" background, but he isn't nearly charismatic enough to justify NBC's choice to bank this entire series around a totally unknown leading man. Giuntoli is wooden and Brandon Routh-esque, though the real Brandon Routh would have been promotable. Of the supporting players, only Silas Weir Mitchell has enough energy to enliven the series around him. As low-budget as most of "Grimm" looks, the special effects are OK, especially when our hero beguns to realize that he's seeing the folkloric essence beneath some seemingly normal humans.
Desire To Watch Again: I'll give "Grimm" the courtesy extra episode or two that I give most new shows, but nothing here is making me enthusiastic about that return engagement. That's a shame, because I like a lot of Greenwalt's past work and the premise *ought* to be entertaining.
Take Me To The Pilots '11: FOX's 'New Girl'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: The CW's 'Hart of Dixie'
Take Me To The Pilots ' 11: ABC's 'Apartment 23'
Take Me To The Pilots '11: CBS' 'A Gifted Man'
All of last year's Take Me To The Pilots installments.