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Television

Fairy Tales: Primetime Edition

Grimm airs Fridays at 9/8C on NBC

Unlike Once Upon a Time, Grimm does not revolve around established characters existing now. It more or less explores the decendents of the mythological creatures from fairy tales. The show is told from the prospective of Nick, the last Grimms. In this world, the Grimms Brothers were not storytellers, but paranormal investigators of a sort. For example: Red Riding Hood was never intended to be a child’s story, but an account of terrible events told with the purpose of warning others of hidden supernatural dangers like werewolves. Some of these creatures and magical folk are good and want to live peacefully under the radar, where other give in to their evil inhibition and cause general chaos. Regular people cannot see these beings as anything but human. The members of the Grimm family, however, can see them for what they really are.
The story starts out with Nick, who like many TV main characters, is a cop. He starts seeing people all around him for what they really are, horrible monsters. This show is a bit more horror based, so this is accomplished by Nick seeing some people’s faces suddenly shift into terrifying beasties of all walks of un-life. This confusion of sanity mounts when he receives an unannounced visit from his Aunt, who is dying from Cancer. She tells him that they need to talk and asks if Nick has started seeing strange things. Before anything else can be revealed, Nick’s aunt is attacked by one of these man-disguised monsters armed with a grim reaper scythe. (Get it?) Nick’s aunt goes into a comma, and he is left to figure out things on his own by going through her things. He finds a detailed book of monstrosities with instructions on how to deal with each kind. That’s the plot in a nutshell, but that is almost secondary to the very interesting formula of the show.
Nick is a crime scene investigator, so most of the episodes will start out with a murder or kidnapping that he can tell is not very ordinary. He must solve mysteries without giving away the true nature of the supernatural world to anyone, even his partner and wife. He finds good monsters along the way that help him so they can continue living their peaceful lives without compromising their safety from the human world or the inhuman world that would exploit them. He is frequently teamed up with a quirky werewolf when he is confronting the bad guys, and his partner when looking for clues. There are even a few criminal types that are organized and poised to stop Nick at every turn. This is in no way a new formula for a show. Like with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the charm of Grimm spawns from its use of fairy tale mythos to define a world very different from the realm of Once Upon a Time. Instead of saying “here are characters you know already put in a situation,” Grimm takes creatures we have heard of and give them a family background, a history. Instead of raising questions about were the show is going, Grimm raises other question. How do werewolves work? If there are werewolves, what else is real? How are these creatures organized and how do they live under the radar from each other.
It should be noted that both of these shows are also similar to the Vertigo comic, Fables. Fables consists of a hierarchy of fairy tale characters trying to live in modern society. I was very afraid that one or both of these shows would be a basic rip-off or at least step on the toes of Fables, which is a truly fantastic comic. Both shows have displayed original concepts and do not at all hinder the Vertigo classic. I am looking forward to both initial seasons of Grimm and Once Upon a Time. They are made in the spirit of shows like Supernatural and Smallville. They are fun and not meant to be taken too seriously. If networks can continue to experiment on show like this, I may find that my DVR and Netflix queue are always full.