With a dark colour palette, an unsettling tone and an opening quotation from the pages of a fairytale - "The wolf thought to himself, what a tender young creature. What a nice plump mouthful" - the new television series Grimm very quickly lives up to its name.
Its origins lie with Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, brothers who, in the 19th century, were the authors of a set of iconic fairytales including Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood and Snow White.
Many of those tales have become most familiar through interpretations by the Disney studio, made somewhat more saccharine than the darker texts on which they are based. The television series Grimm returns to those original texts, replete with violence and murder.
Set in the present day, it follows homicide detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli), based in Portland, Oregon, who discovers he is descended from the Grimm family and tasked with policing the creatures of myth and legend who survive in the modern world.
His first cases include cannibalistic hunters (based on the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears), a missing persons case involving a feral girl (Rapunzel), the murder of a school teacher (The Pied Piper) and an arson case (The Three Little Pigs). Aiding him is an unlikely ally: Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), a good big bad wolf.
The series is produced by David Greenwalt (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Jim Kouf (Angel, Ghost Whisperer) from a concept brought to them by Todd Milliner (Hot in Cleveland) and the former Will & Grace actor-turned-producer Sean Hayes.
Greenwalt says he and Kouf were immediately struck by the concept. "[It was] the idea of Brothers Grimm in the modern world, as something that would have appeal to adults and also to children," he says.
The stories endure, Kouf says, because they have their origins "in very basic human desires and needs". "What we're doing is trying to ground them in a reality, so in Grimm, the big bad wolf exists, in real life," he says. "He really is a big, bad man, but the behaviour is the same. That's what we find fun about it. Taking these creatures and showing the human side of them."
The makers felt it was a logical choice to make their adaptation a crime series. "A lot of these fairytales have crimes in them, so we've just turned that into a crime drama; plus, the show is a bit of a hybrid, so somebody who loves Law and Order, who loves procedural shows, could watch our show and feel comfortable with it," Greenwalt says.
When: Monday, 8.30pm
- © Fairfax NZ News
From which group will the X Factor winner come?Related story: (See story)