Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Beef with Grimm

On paper, the NBC show Grimm seemed like something that would really appeal to me. It had fantasy with a dash of sci-fi, monsters, and the element of drama associated with week-to-week prime time shows. Not to mention my having been a fan of the book- a collection of macabre fairy tales- so when the first episode didn't wow me, I decided it was worth it to give it another shot.

Then a few more.

Then I lost interest entirely.

This whole time it's been floating around in the back of my mind; I don't care for the show at all but I couldn't pinpoint exactly why. Last night I think I worked it out.

Let me start with a brief introduction to the series:
Homicide Detective Nick Burkhardt of the Portland Police Bureau learns he is descended from a line of "guardians" known as "Grimms", charged with keeping balance between humanity and the mythological creatures of the world, called Wesen. Throughout the episodes, he must battle against an assortment of dangerous creatures, with help from his friend Monroe (who is a reformed creature), and his partner Detective Hank Griffin.
On the surface it reads almost like a distant follow-up to the film Brothers Grimm. You'll notice I didn't link that, and with good reason. If you're fortunate enough not to have seen it, the plot is essentially "these Grimm bros were actually monster hunters AND storytellers, only they're really REALLY con-men who fake their monsters. Then there are real monsters to fight and they win and I think one of them has a girlfriend to save at some point. Or something."

Back to the Grimm incarnation at hand, it may have had potential initially, but as with so many films and tv shows these days the writers seem to focus so much on the special effects, the monsters, myth, and crazy rules of this world that they forgot to flesh out their main protagonist (read: Walking Dead).

More specifically, let's look at the character Detective Burkhardt for a moment. In the first episode, the audience gets to see his happy, stable life, living with a beautiful fiance, flowers and hearts all over everything. Domestic bliss for a normal, well-balanced guy. Boring, but we'll chock it up to realism.

My problem with the series stems from the time Burkhardt learns of his Grimm heritage. His reaction to learning that the world around him is not now nor has ever been the world he thought he lived in- that there are hoards of werewolves and vampires and the like ready to descend on the human race at any moment and the only thing protecting us is him- all seems to slide off his back like water off a duck. He doesn't start drinking heavily, have a mental breakdown, nothing. He becomes a slightly more angsty, but otherwise there is little to no character development by the protagonist of the show.

This is a problem because the writers appeared to almost ham-fistedly shove the normalcy Burkhardt used to have down the throats of the audience, only to have his reaction to his world being turned on end essentially be "Oh, okay this now."

If you disagree, please comment and let me know!