No matter what the trend may be, there will always be competition. Whenever a brewing company comes up with a new kind of beer, another will make their own version of the same. If a grocery store has a sale on chicken, you can bet another market in the area will follow suit. And then there’s the world of film and television, wherein all it takes is for someone to come up with the premise of Once Upon a Time — a show that brings fairy tales into modern times — in order for some schemer to create a series like Grimm, a tale about a descendent of the Brothers Grimm battling real-life Grimm Fairy Tale monsters in contemporary Portland, Oregon.
Yes, it’s another show about fairy tales coming to life in modern times. Granted, I suppose that’s a great way to get today’s youth to actually watch your show, but — to me — I can’t help but feel it’s because Grimm‘s budget must have been lower than its level of originality. On the plus side, nobody had to invest in any fancy-pants costumes –something the folks at Once Upon a Time certainly don’t have an issue with, I might add. It also means you can expect some truly cheapo CGI effects: an element of sub-par storytelling that the people behind Grimm embrace wholeheartedly.
David Giuntoli — an actor who I can only imagine would have made a better Superman than Brandon Routh — takes the lead here as Nick Burkhardt: a police detective in Portland who discovers one day he suddenly has the ability to spot certain individuals for the monstrous beings they really are. Big bad wolves with fetishes for girls in red hoodies, bears who don’t like people sleeping in their beds, et al: they’re all just as real as can be — and the reason our hero is now seeing them in that manner is because he’s part of the Grimm lineage.
As luck would have it, Grimms have been dispatching the bad critters from the world for centuries, and Burkhardt is the latest to inherit the ability to fight the evil. Just like any good cop out there, he has both a faithful partner (Russell Hornsby) to help him out in the pursuit of justice, as well as Grimm‘s very own Huggy Bear: a panicky, reformed wolf-feller (Silas Weir Mitchell) who lends his firsthand knowledge of all things Grimm-like to an otherwise oblivious Nick. To ensure that things aren’t completely kosher for our supernatural detective, his superior (Sasha Roiz) is a part of the underground creature community.
So what makes Grimm so bad in my opinion? Well, aside from the fact that it was probably a cash-grab idea in the first place (infusing various elements of other, far-superior supernatural shows), and insults its viewers with crappy CGI effects that even Uwe Boll would shake his head at, Grimm fails at life for being just plain poor to begin with. The concept is a dumb one indeed, and the routine, cliché-ridden stories are littered with awful puns and plot twists even the Amazing Criswell could see coming. And yet, somehow, it wound up being nominated for an Emmy. But then, when you stop to consider the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences actually has a category for Outstanding Reality Program, you shouldn’t be too terribly shocked.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment unleashes this great big pile of stale cheese to Blu-ray in a High-Definition transfer that is so crisp, so clear, so positively beautiful, that it presents every single flaw in the show’s awful special effects without fail. The show often sports a very blue-hue in order to keep up that hipsterly-dark Portlandia vibe, and the color palette suits whatever is happening onscreen every time: from bright reds to muted blues. The detail is also spectacular here, allowing you to see every whisker growing out of David Giuntoli’s chin — and just how painful those phony computer-generated ones are, as well. An equally-dynamic 5.1 DTS-HD MA lossless soundtrack brings out all of the snarls, growls, and everything else this tepid show has to throw at us in glorious surround sound.
In keeping up with the trend of “let’s make sure all the crappy movies and TV shows have the most special features” most studios like to follow these days, Grimm sports several HD featurettes that explore the making-of and behind-the-scenes aspects of this series, beginning with a guide to the show’s (probably faulty) mythology. There are also deleted/extended scenes, audition tapes for the show’s less-than-impressive cast, bits and pieces on the lousy FX, et al — including the proverbial gag reel featurette that is a mandatory item on all TV shows these days. The initial Blu-ray release also includes two collectible trading cards (what is this, the ’70s?), and UltraViolet codes for all 22 episodes.
In short: Grimm is a pretty grim affair indeed. Not recommended.