27 Aug 2012 09:33 am

Grimm Tidings

I really like the TV show "Grimm", but what I really love are TV show openings. I think it's why I like movie trailers so much - because it boils the promise of the movie into a brief 30-second bite. There's a lot of artistry there, to condense so much material into a solid narrative without giving away the good parts or spoiling anything (as which often happens). Unfortunately, when I started watching the second season of "Grimm", I wasn't seeing old world artistry in the teaser. Let's start from the beginning. (I haven't found the opening posted online yet).

The teaser opens up on main character Nick, with the line, "There once was a man who lived a life so strange it had to be true." Ummm . . . okay. So if I see a man on the street ranting about strange creatures named the Blutbad, the Lowen and the Seltenvogel, I'm going to be assume he's telling the truth and not having too much fun at Oktoberfest. To be fair, this part, like much of the opening teaser, is trying to invoke a fairy tale feel.

The next part of the narration does a good job carrying out this fairy tale vibe - "Only he can see what no one else can." But then it follows it up with line. "The darkness inside. The real monster within." And this is where the opening really, really starts to bother me. The images show the main character's ally Monroe with half of his face in his Blutbad form, followed by the old film reel of Adolf Hitler turning into a Wesen creature (one of the my favorite moments from last season ) and lastly the shot of Nick's girlfriend Juliette waking up with black eyes.

The problem is, according to the premise, the Wessen aren't monsters, at least, not in the traditional sense. The Wessen are half-human hybrids of popular fairy tale creatures, like the Big Bad Wolf and the Three Little Pigs, all ripped right from the tales of the Brothers Grimm (which, according to the premise, were Wessen hunters). It's Nick's job to hunt down the bad ones, and series has more than a few good Wessen. The opening misses the point when it puts two of the main characters - Nick's Wessen friend Monroe as well as Nick's girlfriend Juliette (who isn't even a Wessen, but instead, under a witch's spell) - next to a slide of Adolf friggin' Hitler!

Although there are a couple shots of Juliette and Monroe working alongside Nick, I still don't like the Wessen as described as "the darkness inside". They are, for the most part, not vampires or werewolves, with some insidious drive to kill inside. The closest to that trope is Monroe, who is a reformed Big Bad Wolf, largely in control of his animal urges. Most of the monsters Nick faces have motivations he is all too familiar with as a cop - greed and corruption.

It's a little nitpick, but there's also a shot of Nick's police co-worker Sgt. Wu from last season, where Wu accidentally ate a cookie left by a witch-like Hexenbeast. Wu looks in pretty bad shape in the shape, with boils all over his face. He gets better, thanks to some help from Nick, Monroe and their friend Rosallee. This teaser, however, might leave some viewers to think he's dead.

My main problem with the teaser is it does a pretty poor job of introducing the characters and world of the "Grimm" to a new viewer. The opening contains vague if not misleading references to what the Wessen are, and makes Nick out to be more of a monster hunter out to kill them all rather than a cop out for justice. Granted, the premise of "Grimm" is hard explain in a thirty second sound-byte (or even a two-hour premiere). Still, the narration totally misses the mark, leading me to hope this new season hits the bullseye better than the opening.

While we're on the subject, what are some of your favorite and least-favorite TV show opens? How do you sum up the premise in a catchy teaser or theme song?

(That's it for this rant. Check out a new Blue Yonder Wednesday)

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