Come fall, you can expect to look anywhere on television and see any number of police procedurals that look nothing like the CSI or Law & Order programs we’ve come to know so well. Grimm won't star a fictionalized version of a real person, like Edgar Allan Poe or Harry Houdini, but will still blend fairytale fiction with reality.
Recently, the network announced it had found the man who would be leading Grimm’s charge into the world of real-life fairy tales. David Giuntoli, an actor whose major credits include MTV’s The Real World (obvious jokes please form a queue in the response section) and small roles on shows like Nip/Tuck and Grey’s Anatomy, has landed the role of detective Nick Burckhardt - an investigator of crimes in a fantastical world filled with real-life versions of familiar fairytale characters.
While the show is more than a little reminiscent of Bill Willingham’s Fables, it hasn’t gone so far as to cast a Bigby Wolf or Jack Horner, but rather a regular human who will learn to see fantasy aspects of the world (along with the viewer) – or so a tidbit about the program would suggest.
According to a recent statement, Giuntoli’s detective character begins to see humans as “beast/animals,” and discovers he has a legacy – to protect “humans” from these beasts. While that’s more than a little vague and a bit confounding, there's no denying it could be interesting - if portrayed in a compelling way. If nothing else, at least we know the program will likely utilize a popular fairytale character or story as a central point for each week’s episode - provided the pilot receives the green-light to series.
I can only hope there will be an episode where a horribly mutated spider/human hybrid, played by Chad E. Donella, is harassing emo-rocker Ms. Muffet, and it’s up to detective Burckhardt to put an end to his countless unsolicited personal space violations. I’ll be sure to keep my fingers crossed on that one.
All of the networks seem to be drinking the Kool-Aid when it comes to high-concept shows that revolve around characters or persons of a long-gone era. It’s not uncommon to see similar concepts run at the same time on television, or in the theater, but it is a little strange that so much of the upcoming network TV slate seems to be dominated by this steampunk/gothic/turn-of-the-19th-century trend.
Whether this kind of groupthink will translate into a bevy of original content that can actually attract viewers is a question we’ll have to see play out in the coming months. As is the case with many new programs, the true test of its success will be the number of viewers the show can attract. Will niche programs like Grimm find a wide audience, or are we looking at another case of heavy mid-season replacement orders?