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TV Wasteland: A Grimm Outlook at NBC
NBC Hopes Grimm will win where others have lost.
By Rob Vaux
October 23, 2011
The second half of the fall’s fairy-tale two-punch hits this week with Grimm, NBC’s latest effort to crawl up from the bottom of the ratings heap. I’m not certain this is the one to turn them around. Granted, its premise is more intriguing than ABC’s Once Upon a Time, with a more focused scope and a smaller cast. It blends children’s stories with police procedurals, positing a Portland, OR detective (David Giuntoli) who learns that he descends from a band of monster hunters keeping the world safe from supernatural beasties. He reluctantly takes up that mantle as a 21st century “Grimm” while struggling to keep his new standing hidden from those around him.
Whether or not it can succeed on those terms has yet to be seen. But the idea of a secret life weighs down the notion considerably, and NBC is hedging its bets by plopping it down on Friday nights opposite more established fare like Fringe and Supernatural. NBC has already stumbled badly this fall – with Free Agents and The Playboy Club already dropped and Prime Suspect poised on the chopping block – and may be hoping for big things from their newest series. But with that time slot and nothing more encouraging from the previews, this may not be the horse to bet on.
Grimm premieres this Friday at 9:00 PM EDT on NBC.
Halloween (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
It’s not Halloween without Halloween, the John Carpenter original that has yet to see an equal.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (AMC, 10:00 PM EDT)
The only film in the Halloween franchise not associated with Michael Myers has a great hook – involving supernatural masks that kill whoever wears them – but doesn’t quite deliver with the verve that it should.
Near Dark (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Kathryn Bigelow reinvents the vampire story with the tale of bloodsucking drifters about as far removed from that Twilight nonsense as you can imagine.
Venom (IFC, 10:00 PM EDT)
Then IFC has to go ruin it with this bit of direct-to-video tripe about teens in the swamps.
Carnival of Souls (TCM, 8:00 PM EDT)
It’s not really scary, but like the original Wicker Man it will leave you feeling creepy all over. And I mean that in the best possible way.
Dementia 13 (TCM, 10:30 PM EDT)
This bit of low-budget slasherdom, featuring people at an Irish castle being bumped off one by one, shows a bit more flair than other cheap horror films of the era. It was directed by this guy name Francis Coppola; perhaps that has something to do with it…
Ninja Assassin (Cinemax, 8:15 PM EDT)
You’ve heard me sing its praises ad nauseum. Trust me, it’s a hoot.
The Fury (FMC, 8:00 PM and 10:00 PM EDT)
Brian De Palma and Kirk Douglas deliver a bit of Halloween foolishness about a telepathic boy menaced by sinister government agents.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
The Hellboy series has its share of charms, particularly with Ron Perlman in the lead, but they’re unnecessarily muddled more often than not, especially compared to director Guillermo del Toro’s other work.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Donald Pleasance takes on his old nemesis again to decidedly forgettable results. Immediately followed by…
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (AMC, 10:00 PM EDT)
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Primal (IFC, 10:30 PM EDT)
My Bloody Valentine (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
I gotta say, this 2009 remake is one of the few efforts out there that really needs to be seen in 3D.
30 Days of Night: Dark Days (Syfy, 7:00 PM EDT)
The comic books upon which this sequel to 30 Days of Night is based are pretty good. Its direct-to-video status and prominent placement on Syfy suggest otherwise, however.
American Horror Story (FX, 10:00 PM EDT)
The living dead arrive at the mansion for some decorating advice, as well as delivering oodles of unspeakable weirdness.
Ghost Hunters (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
A sailor’s retirement home in Staten Island is haunted by ghosts… all of whom presumably talk like Long John Silver.
Hulk (Starz, 7:41 PM EDT)
The unjustly maligned Ang Lee adaptation of comic-dom’s ultimate Mr. Grumpy Pants is a little slow, but carries much more food for thought than most superhero movies.
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Jamie Lee Curtis returns to the franchise that started her career. It’s not great, but it’s decent enough to at least justify the effort.
Halloween (AMC, 10:00 PM EDT)
And… we’re back to the first one. Sunrise, sunset AMC.
Twilight (FX, 7:30 PM EDT)
I mention this only so that you know which station not to tune into between 7:30 PM and 10:00 PM.
Open Water and Open Water 2 (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT and 9:45 PM EDT)
Two very effective films probe the nilhistic question of why bad things happen to good people. They’re well made, but some question arises as to why you would want to subject yourself to such despair.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (ABC, 8:00 PM EDT)
I don’t want to jump to unreasonable conclusions, but anyone who doesn’t love this holiday perennial is a soulless monster who deserves a public stoning.
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8:00 PM EDT)
Sheldon decides to play some Halloween pranks on his friends, even as a new beau comes between Leonard and Priya.
The Vampire Diaries (The CW, 8:00 PM EDT)
Spirits of the dead return to Mystic Falls for some reason that certainly has nothing to do with the episode’s placement on the calendar. In other news, Elena continues her hunt for Stefan.
The Secret Circle (The CW, 9:00 PM EDT)
Cassie’s Halloween party is totally ruined by a bunch of lame-wads who want to kill the circle. Bogus, dude!
I Am Number Four (Showtime, 9:00 PM EDT)
Still making the premium cable rounds. Still not nearly as good as it could have been.
The Devil’s Advocate (Syfy, 8:00 PM EDT)
It’s so adorable the way they rewrite to the dialogue to keep Pacino from saying “fuck.” Trust me, Syfy, we’ve all heard it before.
Fringe (Fox, 9:00 PM EDT)
An ex-Massive Dynamic scientist reappears, at the same time the shapeshifters make their presence known again. Coincidence? Only the show runners know for sure.
Chuck (NBC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Rejoice, Chuck-o-philes, for the presumed final season is upon us! It opens with Chuck starting his own secret agent firm and a guest appearance from geek demigod Mark Hamill. Flame on!
Grimm (NBC, 9:00 PM EDT)
This fall’s second network show about fairy-tale creatures opens in the midst of the Friday dead zone. See the top of the article for more.
Nikita (The CW, 8:00 PM EDT)
Nikita reunites with her father, and it doesn’t turn out the way she wants. Have a drink sweetie; we’ve all been there.
Supernatural (The CW, 9:00 PM EDT)
The Winchesters are cloned, and the copies promptly go on a bloody rampage in some elaborate attempt to get them into trouble. Stupid clones.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold (Cartoon, 7:00 PM EDT)
Ra’s al Ghul kidnaps the Caped Crusader, and sends him into orbit for some reason. Really? Maybe I’m reading the description wrong. Then again, with this show, you never can tell.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Cartoon, 8:00 PM EDT)
Clone soldiers launch an attack on the capital of Umbara, home to some of the sneakiest bald people you will ever meet. On behalf of bald people everywhere, I wish to disavow any association with their activities.
ThunderCats (Cartoon, 8:30 PM EDT)
The ‘Cats face down a band of robot bears as the animated revamp returns.
Sanctuary (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
Magnus heads to a distant island to meet with the Sanctuary’s financial advisor, and unpleasant developments quickly follow.
Survival of the Dead (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Soldiers fleeing the zombie apocalypse take shelter on an offshore island, only to find themselves embroiled in an ongoing family feud. George A. Romero directed this latest entry to the Dead franchise; sadly, the bloom seems to be decidedly off this rose.
Dune (BBC America, 8:00 PM EDT)
For those not interested in horror, BBC America uncorks David Lynch’s Cathedral of the Weird for our viewing pleasure.
30 Days of Night (FX, 10:30 PM EDT)
Though deeply flawed, David Slade’s adaptation of the seminal horror comic has a lot of recommend it. It follows after a repeat of Twilight, and can hopefully teach those young whippersnappers a thing or two about real vampires.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (IFC, 9:00 PM EDT)
You don’t always have to show us the remake, IFC. Really.
Friday the 13th (MTV, 10:00 PM EDT)
This is the 2009 remake: the concentrated version, blending all the good stuff into a single hockey-mask-wearing cocktail.
Drag Me to Hell (USA, 9:00 PM EDT)
Sam Raimi returns to his Evil Dead-style roots about an ambitious loan officer who ends up on the wrong side of a gypsy curse.
The Shining (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT)
The Stanley Kubrick classic headlines an evening of pre-Halloween horror movies.
Scream (MTV, 9:00 PM EDT)
Wes Craven spoofs slasher movies while taking snide potshots at their fanbase in the 1996 mega-hit.
Ichi the Killer (Sundance, 7:50 PM EDT)
The opening credits are spelled out in semen. Just so you’re aware.
One Missed Call (Sundance, 10:00 PM EDT)
This is the shocking Takashi Miike original, not the mega-lame Hollywood remake.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse (Syfy, 7:00 PM EDT)
This would be the second and weakest of the Resident Evil franchise, for those keeping score at home.
Zombie Apocalypse (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
It’s fun in the sun on Catalina Island as survivors of a zombie outbreak take refuge off the California coast. Also, it will suck.
Cat People (TCM, 8:00 PM EDT)
The 1943 original stands as a true horror classic, thanks to some of the richest atmosphere you’ll ever see.
1408 (TNT, 8:00 PM EDT)
The first half-hour of this Stephen King adaptation about a haunted hotel room is gangbusters, but once the particular are set up, it really doesn’t have anywhere to go.
The Walking Dead (AMC, 9:00 PM EDT)
The Halloween Eve episode finds Shane trapped by zombies in an abandoned school.
Dexter (Showtime, 9:00 PM EDT)
Brother Sam gives Dexter some advice about finding God, even as Dexter continues his hunt for the Doomsday Killer.
Once Upon a Time (ABC, 8:00 PM EDT)
The evil queen uncorks her curse just as Regina tries to get Emma to leave town.
The Simpsons (Fox, 8:00 PM EDT)
We don’t usually mention this way-past-its-prime Fox staple, but they’ve got their annual Halloween episode this week and I thought I’d point it out.
The Exorcist (BBC America, 10:00 PM EDT)
Another horror staple served up just in time.
TRON: Legacy (Starz, 7:54 PM EDT)
Part sequel. Part reboot. All ass-kicking.
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (Syfy, 7:00 PM EDT)
As well-disposed as I am towards this movie, I have to say… can’t you do any better, Syfy?
Halloween (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
And just so we have no doubts about their cluelessness, Syfy chooses to air the skeezy Rob Zombie remake to close out the night.
Happy Halloween everyone!