Shantella Y. Sherman | 6/7/2012, 3:59 p.m.
Summer has traditionally ended prime-time television seasons and provided viewers an opportunity to watch re-runs of their favorite shows. With the advent of digital streaming and On Demand television access, the summer has instead become a time to view entire seasons of a single program's episodes - back-to-back, and without commercial interruption. And unlike the days of yesteryear when only four major networks vied for your attention, specialized channels, targeted programming, and 24-hour scheduling have culminated in the creation of both innovative and stimulating broadcasts. For the next 12 weeks, The Washington Informer's Assistant Editor, Shantella Y. Sherman will introduce readers to 12 television shows worth a second glimpse. This week: NBC's Grimm.
Childhood is incomplete without the fables and tall tales series known as Grimm's Fairy Tales. Whether enjoying the suspense of Goldilocks and the Three Bears [surely, the bears would have preferred "Goldie" to miserly bowls of porridge] or perplexed over Little Red Riding Hood's mistaking a wolf for her Granny, the stories, originally known as the Children's and Household Tales series impacted American lives tremendously. NBC's drama series Grimm, puts a major spin on the tales, which were first published in 1812 by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, also known as "The Brothers Grimm."
"Grimm" debuted in 2011 and follows Portland homicide Detective Nick Burkhardt [David Giuntoli's] discovery that he is descended from an elite line of criminal profilers known as "Grimms," who have been charged with keeping the world safe from mythological creatures called "Wesen" for centuries.
As he tries to hide the dangers of his newfound calling from his girlfriend, Juliette Silverton, and his partner, Hank Griffin, played by Russell Hornsby, he becomes ever more entrenched in the ancient rivalries and alliances of the Grimm world. As Wesen literally transform from their shape-shift from human to beast before Burkhardt's eyes, he is forced to seek counsel from an unlikely partner, a reformed "wolf" named Monroe [Silas Weir Mitchell].
Mythological characters with classical German names like Hexenbiests and Blutbads become interwoven into actual crimes Burkhardt and Griffin must solve. The twists and turns are constant, the action and suspense is addictive. The make-up is phenomenal.
Hornsby, who audiences fell in love with as Officer Eddie Sutton on the ABC family drama Lincoln Heights, said he loves the three-dimensional nature of his character - flaws and all.
"He is not perfect; he's been married and divorced four times. I think he's trying to get it right. I also appreciate that it allows for some creative freedom for me as the actor, and that the character has a sense of humor," Hornsby said.
"He has some wit and he's a bit silly too, which is fun; and I appreciate the banter that happens back and forth between Hank and Nick and also Sergeant Wu. In my mind, their relationships are just perfect. We're just finding areas where we can infuse a lot of humor in these stories," he said.
Expect stand-out performances from Reggie Lee, who portrays Sergeant Wu. His dramatic skills are as honed as his comedic timing.
Make-up FX artist Barney Burman's work is, again, superb. Charged with developing not only the mythical characters, but also the transformation process of the humans into the creatures, Burman comes from a long line of special effects artists. His grandfather made masks and props for the original Wolfman and Twilight Zone series. His father, Emmy-winner Thomas R. Burman, worked on Body Snatchers and The X Files, among others.
Burman has said that the "Pig" created for the episode The Three Bad Wolves is among his favorites.
"When someone asks me to name my favorite job overall, my answer is the one that I'm currently working on. I'm usually the most into and excited about that one. That's kind of been happening with Grimm," Burman said.
"With each episode I get sort of reinvigorated and re-energized about what we're making because, 'Ooh, that's new. That's cool. That's different,'" he said.
Grimm is at the top of the list for Catch-12 viewing. Hour-long episodes are available On Demand and through digital streaming whenever the mood strikes. Be sure to check out two of my favorite episodes: Game Ogre and The Three Bad Wolves.