I honestly did not expect "Grimm" to succeed. Not only was another modern-fairy-tale series being produced at the same time, but it was going to be a police procedural.
But to my surprise, "Grimm Season 1" ended up being a very solid urban fantasy show, with plenty of dark humor, mystery and some very creepy supernatural creatures. It could use a little more arc in its storylines, but it successfully meld police detective work with the stories of the Brothers Grimm. These are not children's fairy tales.
Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) suspects that he's going crazy when he keeps seeing strange things. But when his aunt pays a visit, she reveals that he is a Grimm -- part of an ancient line of guardians who are able to see the supernatural "wesen" (pronounced "vessen"). When she dies, she leaves Nick a trailer full of weapons, ancient books and potions.
With the help of the reluctant Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), a Wieder Blutbad ("big bad wolf"), Nick begins investigating crimes that are committed by wesen... while also having to keep his identity secret from his partner Hank (Russell Hornsby) and beloved girlfriend Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch).
Even as he investigates bizarre crimes that only he can deal with, Nick also discovers that a sultry Hexenbiest -- a wicked witch, in other words -- is bespelling his partner. And he begins to investigate the deaths of his parents, which may not have been an accident... and which were connected to whatever is going on.
"Grimm Season 1" has a pretty simple premise -- that all the strange creatures of the Grimm tales were real, and that they live secretly amongst us. Fortunately the writers keep a dark, violent edge to the season, keeping the whole idea of beaver-people and a lupine "Rapunzel" from seeming ridiculous. Their "Cinderella" story is downright TERRIFYING.
If the series has a problem, it's that its story arcs could be a little stronger. But the ones it has are pretty good, with Nick learning about his destiny and growing into it, even as Captain Renard is scheming to... do something. And the writers do an excellent job of making the wesen "real" people, like Monroe's intense love of Christmas, or the Eisbiebers (who are "average working-class joes" wesen).
The cast is also really good. Giuntoli looks like a genuine police detective, albeit with a boyish, inquisitive edge, and he plays off the scruffy, good-hearted Mitchell really well. Mitchell's Monroe is a real delight -- a reclusive vegetarian "big bad wolf" who initially is reluctant to help Nick, but ends up his loyal, trusted partner. And the cast is rounded out nicely by Tulloch, the mysterious Sasha Roiz, the jovial Reggie Lee, and Monoe's love interest Bree Turner.
"Grimm Season 1" starts off a little slow, but after a few episodes it really kicks into the dark, gruesome fairy-tale stride. One of the best new shows this season.