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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.
 
Monday
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.
 
Tuesday
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)
I can think of wiser things to do when you’re young and nubile than going skinny-dipping in the Australian Outback. You might accidentally get killed!
 
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.
 
Wednesday
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.
 
Thursday
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.
 
Friday
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.
 
Saturday
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.
 
Sunday
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!

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 14
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fatpantz 10/24/2011 1:32:08 AM

Happily Ever After was pretty much what I expected, yet I will still give it my usual 3 episodes to improve before I dump it.  I am really not sure what demographic it will appeal to.  I will check out Grimm, even though it realy does sound like a cross between Fables and Supernatural.

TWD definitely redeemed itself this week...I was on the edge of my seat from beginning to end, and some great casting choices for Herschel and the rest if the Green family.  Looking forward to Joe's review.

I was not sure Dexter would ever reach the height it did in season 4, but this season is blowing my mind....Although I have never been the biggest Tom Hanks fan, Colin is proving himself to be one hell of an actor...Edward James Olmos, the man is a legend for a reason....the biggest mind blower for me though is Mos Def.  Every week he takes it to another level when I never really thought he would have the emotional acting levels that he is bringing to the show.

fenngibbon 10/24/2011 4:34:27 AM

 Grimm?  As if I don't have enough to watch Fridays at 9 (what is the logic of putting every show designed to appeal to what is already a limited audience on at the same time?). This is an on demand thing, if that.

I have to be the contrarian and say I wasn't wild about 30 Days of Night.  The vampires are never developed as characters and, as such, are little different from the hyperkinetic zombies in some of the more recent pictures in that genre.  I can't remember the name of the creator of 30 Days of Night (and I'm too lazy to look it up right now), but I saw him on that Deadliest Warrior:  Vampires versus Zombies episode and while props to him for shredding the whole Twilight angsty vampire shtick, the way he did it was to turn vampires into mere animals.  For example, at no point in that show did he suggest that vampires might use weapons to knock off the zombies at a distance or tactics such as getting into a location where zombies would have to approach one at a time rather than swarm.  No, it was all slash with the claws and bite; it might as well have been zombies versus grizzlies or tigers. 

trollman 10/24/2011 5:40:20 AM

@fatpantz Once Upon A TIme (not Happily Ever After) was actually really good. My Wife & I really were pleasantly surprised that it held our attention. The only complaint I had was the very obvious CGI scenes ala Sanctuary. They could have been done just a little bit better. But all in all the story is an interesting take on what happened after Charming married Snow. I also like that the wicked witch queen was caght by her own curse, seemingly intentionally, which makes you wonder if she suffered the same "forget who I REALLY am" effect of if she is just playing the part.  I liked it. two thumbs up or 41/2 stars out of 5 or whatever scale you grade it on, it deserves a watch.

Hobbs 10/24/2011 5:43:20 AM

You would think NBC wouldn't want to air a new show on a Friday night.  Sounds like they don't have a lot of confience in it.

karas1 10/24/2011 6:58:44 AM

fenngibbon, I think the logic they are using when they put all scifi/fantasy shows on Friday is...

A) Geeks don't have a social life so while normal people are going out on Fridays and not staying home to watch TV, geeks will ge glued to their TV sets, not hitting on chicks in bars.

B) The viewing audience is already used to seeing that genre of programming in that time slot.  Perhaps they will sample the new program, like it better than what they were watching and switch to the new show permenantly.

The mistakes they are making are...

A) Geeks DO have social lives and Friday evening is often an inconvienient time slot for them to watch .

B) Geeks are a very loyal audience.  They are less likely (I think) than others to choose to throw over a show they like in favor of a new show.

I watched the first season of Fringe and liked it, but when they scheduled it against Supernatural, Supernatural won and now I don't watch Fringe any more.  Too bad for Fox. 

isgrimner 10/24/2011 7:49:24 AM

Monday Wednesday and possibly Thursday - World Series - GO Cards!!!!

Then from the list I'll get The Big Bang Theory, Fringe, Walking Dead and Dexter.  Though I DVR a lot more non-genre shows not on the list.  

Last week's BBT was pure shit though.  The writing for Sheldon's mom was a little too over the top.

celt_6@yahoo.com_home 10/24/2011 3:20:37 PM

Really?  REALLY?!  NBC puts a bad "Buffy" rip-off up against Supernatural?  That's not hoping for the show to turn them around.  That's hoping the show will die quickly and quietly, so they can go back to failing with cheap sitcoms rather than failing with expensive dramas, genre shows, or anything requiring thought and a little investment.

Sounds to me like NBC is playing with FOX's playbook.

ashamel 10/24/2011 5:23:15 PM

Grimm sounds like Lost Girl, the Canadian show about a Succubus private eye. I thought that was pretty good (though haven't managed to finish S1), and possibly better than the new series.

fatpantz 10/24/2011 7:49:07 PM

Lost Girl is an entertaining show....they maintain decent effects on a Canadian TV budget...along the lines of a SyFy show.  The 2nd season is much better than the first.  They have found a bit more of a main story to follow.

silversurfer 10/25/2011 8:20:20 AM

Rob,

Reading your commentary is hillarious! Dead on about SyFy and the fact that they work very hard to give you the worst movies to look at.

When the sutis over at NBC jumped the shark with Heroes, that pretty much was the nail in the coffin for them. They've been trying to get some mojo back ever since that debacle. FAIL. They're definitely in need of better writers over there that actually have an idea of what people really want to see; instead of listening to morons who don't have an idea of what works anymore? 

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