Review: NBC's 'Grimm' a dark 'Buffy' remix

Fairy tales are hot this season, as evidenced in the launch of NBC's "Grimm" (8 p.m. Friday; 3 stars out of 4) just a few days after ABC's "Once Upon A Time" premiered.

Both shows would have you believe that children's fairy tales are not fantasies, but where "Once" offers up a slightly twisted Disney take on those stories, "Grimm" grinds them into a grisly police procedural.

It’s dark, disturbing and a little downbeat—which isn’t a dis at all.

David Giuntoli stars as Oregon homicide Det. Nick Burkhardt, who begins to see frightening freaks all around him. A woman he passes on the street morphs into a witch for just a second; the face of a man being questioned in the squad room flashes into a demon’s head.

At least I think that was a demon.

Burkhardt fears he’s going batty until his aging Aunt Marie (Kate Burton) visits and lets him in on a family secret: He’s descended from the Grimms, a line of second-sighted slayers who have long-battled werewolves, ghouls and other monsters from such tales as “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Goldilocks.”

The supernaturals, it turns out, are sick of it, and are coming for Burkhardt and his aunt. They’ve formed a lovely cabal of killers called the “Reapers of the Grimms.”

A little “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” sounding fun, right?

Burkhardt doesn’t have Buffy’s snark, but Giuntoli definitely has his own charms. (Hello, have you seen him?) He’s romantic with Bitsie Tulloch, who plays his wife, Juliette, and offers some rapid-fire quipping with Russell Hornsby, playing Burkhardt’s partner, Hank. The always fascinating Sasha Roiz stars as Burkhardt’s shady boss.

Not surprisingly, “Grimm” comes alive when Burkhardt teams up with a reformed Blutbad (werewolf) named Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell, the best thing about the pilot).

NBC only sent out one episode, so I offer this review worried that three episodes in, “Grimm” will lose its newness. Creators David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf will need to keep the crimes clever and the characters compelling to make “Grimm” rise above any other police procedural.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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