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Blu-ray review: “Grimm” Season One
Nothing felt organic about the recent trend toward cinematic fairy tale revisions: the sudden cloud of pixie dust hovering over Hollywood smacked of creative bankruptcy, a manic craving to find the next “Twilight” and the sound of movie industry suits stumbling into the same fool's gold mine in search of cheap, public-domain source material. But while audiences reacted lukewarmly to movies such as “Red Riding Hood,” “Mirror Mirror” and “Snow White and the Huntsman,” NBC's “Grimm” built a solid cult audience for its modern take on 19th century fantasy, conjuring a little magic from character development, clever humor and a convincing case of the creeps.
“Grimm: Season One” is structured like a crime procedural but has an overarching mythology and supernatural basis that easily separates it from the pack. Homicide Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) learns from his dying aunt (Kate Burton) that he is descended from the Grimms and is a born hunter of blutbaden (werewolves), hexenbiests and other creatures living in human disguise. His partner, Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby) is a savvy investigator but only sees crime on a human level — the supernatural underpinnings of the crimes do not seem to faze him. For help with navigating the fairy-tale world of their Portland, Ore., jurisdiction, Nick relies on Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), an eccentric blutbad who put the wolf pack behind him in favor of a quieter life.
Monroe is easily the standout character and fan favorite: Mitchell began the series as a bundle of odd ticks but quickly added layers to Monroe, who wages a constant war with his true nature. “Grimm” hits its stride by the excellent sixth episode, “The Three Bad Wolves,” and rather than running out of fairy tales to plunder, the show is building a deeper mythology while serving up dark laughter and the occasional dose of shocking gore. Given that co-creator David Greenwalt was a key player on both “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel,” it is no surprise that “Grimm” is one of the rare happy endings in the development of modern storybook fantasy.
— George Lang