Follow by Email

Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Grimm": A sly, modern spin on the fairy tale

The new NBC series stylishly updates a classic form. ABC's "Once Upon a Time," not so much. Everybody knows the modern world lacks enchantment. As a premise, that assertion is unprovable, but movies and TV shows have been saying it forever, so we just accept it as a trope, like, "The suburbs are shallow" and "When the railroads came, the Wild West became civilized." Any program built around it is therefore better off not dwelling on it, and focusing its energies instead on other, more basic pleasures: characterization, plot, atmosphere. Two new network shows are built around fairy tales and the absence of magic in modern life -- ABC’s "Once Upon a Time," which debuted Sunday at 8 p.m. and repeats this Sunday at the same time; and NBC’s "Grimm," which debuts tonight at 9 p.m./8 Central. The first is officially one of the season’s only new hits, but I thought it was awful: poorly written and directed and woodenly acted, except for Scottish actor Robert Carlyle’s performance as Rumpelstiltskin); you can can check it out Sunday and see for yourself, but I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you’re the type of person who hears somebody say, "This milk is sour" and says, "Here, let me taste it." NBC’s "Grimm" is much better -- not a great show right out of the box, but much more confident and stylish, more sure of what it wants to say and how it wants to say it. Read more at ONTD: