Last Friday, we watched NBC's new Grimm, another contemporary spin-off based on fairy tales.
This one is much more grisly and similar to all those Law & Order/S.V.U. type shows. (S.V.U. always looks suspiciously like S.U.V. to me). Obviously, this show is supposed to be creepy and scary with a contemporary sensibility. There are overtones of Twin Peaks here as well, but very tepid echoes. The links to fairy tales did not seem as compelling or as well constructed. The friendly neighbor turns out to be a human who can transform into a wolf, but he is able to control himself after years of working on that, kind of like a reformed alcoholic, it seems.
The show is called Grimm because the main character is supposed to be descended from the Grimm brothers who were supposed to be able to see the real monsters. It's a special sight that's only available to the family members. That seems a difficult premise to accept if you think about it. If there are lots of monsters roaming about all over the world, then why wouldn't there be lots of people who could see them as well? Even in fantasy worlds you have to have some logic that's believable. And that brings me to the point that Grimm is fantasy based on fairy tales. However, fantasy and fairy tales are different as well.
One of the problems with fantasy is that authors make up rules for how characters can act, but then have a tendency to break those rules. To make it believable, you have to stick within those rules. I think that was one of many reasons why Twin Peaks worked -- the rules, in a weird convoluted way, made sense and were quirky enough to be creepy even for those who are too cool to be scared. Grimm just wants to scare people without trying too hard to do anything else. And maybe that's all lots of viewers want now.
In the meantime, Once Upon a Time seems more interesting perhaps, but this, too, is a rather convoluted fantasy based on fairy tales.