Fall TV Preview

Fall TV First Impression: Grimm Drama Ahead

The networks have more than 30 shows debuting this fall. To help you prepare for it all, TVLine is offering First Impressions based on the not-for-review pilots. Next on our list is.…

THE SHOW | NBC’s Grimm (Fridays at 9/8c, premiering Oct. 21)

THE COMPETITION | Fox’s Fringe, The CW’s Supernatural, CBS’ CSI: NY, ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (2nd hour)

THE CAST | David Giuntoli (Privileged), Russell Hornsby (Lincoln Heights), Silas Weir Mitchell (Prison Break), Sasha Roiz (Caprica), Bitsie Tulloch (quarterlife), Reggie Lee (Persons Unknown)

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THE SET-UP | Giuntoli plays Nick Burkhardt, a Portland homicide detective who learns from his creepy aunt (guest star Kate Burton, Grey’s Anatomy) that he is the last in the line of Grimms aka people who can see mythological creatures through their human veneers. Hornsby and Tulloch play his oblivious partner and fiancée, respectively, while Mitchell is Monroe, a big, not-entirely-bad wolf.

More First Impressions: NBC’s Whitney, Up All Night and The Playboy Club, ABC’s Revenge, Pan AmOnce Upon a Time and Charlie’s Angels, Fox’s Terra Nova and New Girl, The CW’s Hart of DixieThe Secret Circle and Ringer, CBS’ Unforgettable2 Broke Girls and Person of Interest

THE GOOD | Supernatural fans pining for early-era monster-of-the-week quests may find familiar fodder here — though during this time slot they’re, well, probably watching new episodes across the dial. Mitchell is so well-cast as a wolf, if the actor told me he actually was one, I would not doubt him for a moment. A bald Burton is, as I said just above, thoroughly creepy as Nick’s exposition-touting aunt. For those who might write off the barely similar Once Upon a Time as too “light,” this piece of genre-TV — starting with its dirge-like theme music — is decidedly dark.

THE… COULD-BE-BETTER | I know the ladies dig his blue eyes, but Giuntoli doesn’t “pop” enough for me as the male lead shouldering this Gothic grimness; scenes palpably waned when Mitchell wasn’t on screen. If pilots traditionally boast best-case production values… I’m concerned. The same can be said for the first manhunt, which revolves around a red herring that is practically flagged with a neon sign, and a final act that went on too long. I’ll keep an open mind, but I just don’t know for how long Nick can follow these leads that only he is privy to, without raising massive amounts of suspicion.

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THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | Yeah, so it’s Grimm versus Supernatural and Fringe. I asked Mitchell about that thematic showdown at the upfronts, and he contended, “Grimm has a quality about it that is unique enough to find its audience, so I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. Friday night is now Genre Night!” OK, but if one genre show (e.g. Fringe) can barely scrape together enough viewers to reap renewal, how will three share in that slim slice of Nielsen pie?

Watch a video preview for Grimm, then vote in our poll below.