I told you that I was going to start discussing the new seasons once renewals started coming around, didn’t I? Well, Grimm happens to be one of the first on the renewal block this year (at least, the first one I’m going to write about), and as it happens, I have a whole lot to say about it. Though I have to commend NBC for pulling David Giuntoli out of the reality tv slush pile, they’re going to need a little bit more than his Good-Looking Detective Face chops and some great Monster-of-the-Week to pull this show off next season.
Grimm is a show that I’ve taken to calling my “grimm disappointment” of the freshmen for the 2011-12 season. I know, it’s so cheesy I kind of hate myself, but whatever. It is probably one of the top couple of shows I was most looking forward to this year, and quite possibly the biggest disappointment, for that reason. Though the concept was highly original, it became clear that the concept sold the show, and that while planning the Monster of the Week format, there was little focus on the character arcs. For example, though Nick mentions in the pilot that he plans to propose to Juliette, we’re nearing the end of the season with only a mediocre resolution (though it has been promised).
Also, Grimm faced a tough start with comparisons to the first-thought-similar Once Upon a Time (ABC Sundays). In fact, I thought Grimm was far better, based on the pilots, but as it turned out, I admit OUAT had a more plotted and fulfilling season. Grimm has dropped plots like nobody’s business, and I found it less compelling each week as Nick’s struggles lost my interest. We may get some threads that pull it all together in the last third of the season, but there hasn’t been enough pulling together the episodes we already have. The Wiki page for the show lists it as a “fantasy/mystery/crime drama series” and I think that’s part of the problem – Grimm tries to straddle too many genres. Though making Nick a murder detective does lend itself to that kind of genre confusion, it tends to be a little too much confusion, and sometimes the show has suffered because of it.
So now that NBC has renewed Grimm for season two, I have a few things to say. I have a few suggestions, and a few compliments – and since I’m sure you do, too, let’s chat about them in the comments.
- Let the monsters and character arcs shape each other. Figure out what monsters you want to write, the stories you want to tell with the characters, and make them work together to create a compelling story that reflects the other side. I can see the attempt to do this, but it’s just too subtle – I don’t want to be hit over the head for it, but I don’t want to feel like maybe I’m reaching a little bit to find connections.
- Give Juliette and Hank more to do. Clue them in, make it a team effort. I was convinced all season that Juliette would wind up knowing about Nick’s Grimm status and it would throw in a serious wrench. It could still happen in sweeps, but from looking at the rest of the season, I’m afraid it won’t. Juliet could be truly awesome, and I’m truly disappointed that she isn’t. She’s not a shy violet, but she isn’t Nick’s equal in awesome, either. Plus, I know Hank and Nick are meant to be buddy cops and close friends, but sometimes it seems like they don’t know each other at all. I know we as viewers haven’t met them before, but for as much as Nick relies on Hank, you’d think he hadn’t known him long, either.
- Either cut down the camp or go all out. This show can’t decide if it wants to be a respected crime drama with a supernatural bent, or if it wants to be a light-hearted buddy cop drama. We’re constantly switching between gruesome scenarios and funny buddy moments, and while I enjoy both of those, the current mix makes the show feel disorganized and even a bit discombobulated.
But I would be remiss if I didn’t mention what Grimm is doing so well right now
- The CGI on the creatures is really enjoyable. That’s the one major area where Grimm is kicking OUAT’s butt (seriously, though). It’s believable and the casting here is great, drawing on actors’ natural appearances to tap into their more Grimm counterparts.
- Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) is the greatest character. Seriously, he is fantastic. I know dramas don’t generally label their breakout characters, but he’s definitely it. He seems to be the only character with any kind of real depth and the ability to surprise us every episode, since everybody else in the main cast is pretty predictable. I don’t think “More Monroe!” is the answer, but I do think that more of everybody else would be good.
- Grimm doesn’t stop to explain it to you. I always feel compelled to have my laptop open, looking up the monsters and their stories. The show has the potential to be really, really smart, and I love that about it.
- I know I mentioned the CGI, but the cinematography of the show in general is just fantastic. It’s some of the best attention to noir that I’ve ever seen on a network show, and while I don’t claim to be an expert on any of this, I will say that this is one of the most beautifully-crafted shows on the basic channels right now. Of course, it had better step up its game in preparation for competition with next year’s Munsters reboot by Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies), but for now, I’m quite impressed.
While I am excited about the show getting renewed for a second season, I definitely am looking for some serious improvement next fall. Grimm has a great concept, but I’m holding out to see if we get some really meaty plotlines in the upcoming season. What about you – are you a fan of Grimm? What do you want more of (or less of) in the fall season?
Curious about what else is getting renewed? I keep a tab open to the absolutely essential TVLine Renewal Scorecard almost all the time, and I suggest you do the same – but make sure you check back here to get our spin on the latest news.
Grimm airs on NBC Fridays at 9pm EST. All photos property of NBC.