Last Sunday saw the premiere of ABC's supremely silly fairy-tale drama "Once Upon a Time." Last night, NBC unveiled their rival series, "Grimm." I wasn't particularly optimistic about it, but I'm happy to report that "Grimm" is probably a thousand times better.
Nick Burkhardt (the ridiculously handsome David Giuntoli) is a homicide detective in a small, though scenic Oregon town. When the torn-apart corpse of a young college student is found in the woods, Nick and his partner Hank (Russell Hornsby) are called in to investigate. Nick has just bought a ring with which he hopes to propose to his girlfriend Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch, best known from the 'LonelyGirl15' web hoax). But he's begun to see some rather odd things. A beautiful blonde walking down the street morphs into a demonic creature and a suspect at the station appears to some sort of reptilian monster. When Nick's Aunt Marie (Kate Burton) shows up, she tells him that his life is about to change and they are attacked by a monster whom Nick shoots. Marie, close to death, gives Nick a locket she says he must never lose. Later, she reveals that he is one of the last of the Grimms, destined to protect the world from horrors they think are fairy tales. But she lapses into a coma before she can tell him more. Searching the trailer Marie drove to his house, Nick finds an arsenal of medieval weapons and an old book filled with illustrations of strange creatures.
Meanwhile, a little girl wearing a red sweatshirt (like the dead coed) has gone missing. Thinking he's found his suspect, Nick accuses 'Butblad" (a Big Bad Wolf) Eddie (Silas Weir Mitchell). Eddie soon becomes Nick's ally and together they track down the real culprit, a fellow Butblad and mailman ("Monk" alum Tim Bagley).
A combination of horror, fantasy and police procedural, "Grimm" is much more fun than "Once Upon a Time." The writing (at least in the pilot) is crisp and fun, while the Oregon locations are stunningly beautiful. Giuntoli is fine as the young cop discovering a mysterious family secret and Mitchell is down right hilarious as a monster trying to 'go straight.' Recent "Warehouse 13" bad guy Sasha Roiz is on hand as the apparently evil Police Chief and Drag Me to Hell's Reggie Lee is a clueless beat cop. As with any pilot, the first episode of "Grimm" had a lot of information to throw at us, but I think that given time, the show's mythology will pay off in an intriguing and original series that will outlast it's competitor simply by being smarter, darker, funnier and much more intelligent. *** (Three Out of Four Stars).