School shootings are examined in a new run of films on PBS, starting with how a former Secret Service psychologist stopped 120 attacks.
Grimm stars David Giuntoli and Russell Hornsby
On paper, Grimm's pedigree is excellent. It's based on Grimms' Fairy Tales, and executive producers Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt were part of the team behind Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
Despite this, Grimm - described as "a cop drama with a twist... a dark and fantastical project about a world in which characters inspired by Grimms' Fairy Tales exist" - received mixed reviews when it debuted in the US last year.
The show takes the beloved 19th-century fairy tales and drags them kicking and screaming into the 21st via wisecracking CGI monsters and iPod-toting girls in red hoodies.
Cop Nick Burckhardt (David Giuntoli) is the poor sap tasked with keeping the streets of Portland, Oregon, clean of trolls, hags and myriad other nasties, having just discovered (from a dying aunt, naturally) that he's the last in a long line of hunters known as 'Grimms'.
Reformed Blutbad Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) had all the best lines: "How do I stay good? Through a strict regimen of diet, drugs and pilates."
Homicide detective Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby) is from the "What's that Skippy?" school of acting.
Grimm's pilot episode concerns itself with the tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Not, fact fans, a Brothers Grimm original at all, but one the pair adapted from a 17th-century French fairy tale.
This sets the tone for a series that promises appearances from other non-Grimm characters including Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Jack (of beanstalk fame), and the Three Little Pigs. I kid you not.
It's clear from the off, however, that Grimm's creators were never going to let anything as daft as genuine authorship, facts, etc, get in the way of this most clunky of concepts. In short, they've simply taken a trusted brand (Grimms' Fairy Tales) and thrown a dodgy half-baked concept at it to see if it sticks. It doesn't.
Episode one kicks off with a girl in a red hoodie jogging through woodland with the Eurythmics' Sweet Dreams playing on her iPod Shuffle. It doesn't take a genius to guess what's going to happen next.
Fast forward a few minutes and cops Burkhardt and Griffin are at the murder scene. On discovering the iPod, they find the Eurythmics track still playing, proving - if nothing else - that iPod Shuffles are inherently EVIL.
Nick, meanwhile, appears to have barely registered the fact that everywhere he looks, pretty ladies are morphing into repulsive hags, and otherwise handsome chappies are making bizarre troll faces at him.
"everywhere he looks, pretty ladies are morphing into repulsive hags"
It's not long before a dying old lady (Nick's aunt in this case) shows up to share a terrible family secret.
Said secret, of course, comes complete with a mysterious bejewelled key and a caravan full of creaky tomes and crude sketches that owes more than a small debt to Sunnydale's school library.
What's that, Skippy?
When a child in a red sweatshirt goes missing, Nick is soon staking out a house with a wolfman inside it. And thus, with more of a clunk than a tinkle, the penny very audibly drops.
If only solving crimes was this straightforward in real cop shows, maybe CSI: Miami's Horatio Caine would have even more time to strike silly poses in his sunglasses.
Grimm's pilot had a good deal of exposition to explain away, and this impacted on the lead characters. Largely reduced to stock-cop dialogue, Nick's partner Hank was rendered almost entirely redundant.
Indeed, his eventual identification of the killer (because - d'oh! - he hears him whistling Sweet Dreams) seemed merely a transparent attempt on the part of the writers to justify the character's presence.
Grimm's casting issues
As leading man Nick Burckhardt, actor David Giuntoli couldn't be more wooden if he'd been hewn from solid oak and coated in Ronseal. Seriously, I've seen more acting talent in a school Nativity.
"actor David Giuntoli couldn't be more wooden"
Personality-free policeman Nick Burckhardt has nothing on sidekick Hank Griffin, who - at this stage - is little more than a stereotypical "wisecracking cop".
Indeed Griffin's surname - presumably a nod to the Brothers Grimm's The Griffin - is the only interesting thing about him.
Only reformed Blutbad Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) manages to drag this plodding drama out of the mire.
He effortlessly steals the show with his snappy one-liners, frequently undermining the entire leading cast by showing them how it's done.
Personally, I'm amazed this ridiculous, ill-considered vehicle ever got beyond the pilot. Fans of Buffy and Angel may, however, find much to enjoy. But they'll have to look pretty hard for it.
- Rating: It remains to be seen whether digital channel Watch will have more luck with Grimm than they had with previous US import, No Ordinary Family. One star out of five..
TV quotes of the week
"How do I stay good? Through a strict regimen of diet, drugs and Pilates." - Reformed Blutbad Monroe is the best thing about Grimm, bar none.
"He was humming the same song [that was playing] on the dead girl's iPod." - Detective Hank Griffin: the slowest cop on TV right now.
"Your parents didn't die in a car crash... they were killed." - Massively predictable family secrets from dying Aunt Marie. Spare us.
"We must get it [the key] back before he figures out how to use it." - Inevitably, Nick is being staked out by a couple of sinister non-humans.
"This is no fairy tale; the stories are real." - The stories are indeed real; they're just not necessarily by The Brothers Grimm.
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