A eulogy is supposed to be praise spoken over the deceased at his funeral. It literally means “good speech” in the Greek. So technically I suppose this should be called a kakology* because I won’t be saying too much good. Maybe what this should be called is a post-mortem.
I started watching Grimm when it premiered in 2011. When it began I thought it was fun. The special effects were alright and the conceit that just about everyone in Portland Oregon was a monster (called Wesen) hadn’t yet become a reductio ad absurdum. Also, I hadn’t grown to despise most of the characters yet.
I’ll give my analysis for what went wrong with Grimm. I think the problem with any of these urban fantasy TV series is the open-ended aspect of weekly TV. While it is possible to advance the “mythology” component of the show toward some long-term plot line in a way that can be sustained for several seasons, the single episode plot component needs to have some interesting writing each week to prevent the show from seeming repetitive and boring. I mean, how many ways are there to have the protagonist (Nick, the Grimm) skewer the monster du jour with a sword or a pitch fork or a lawn dart? Eventually the look of boredom starts showing up even on the well-paid actors’ faces. This is similar to the problem that occurs on all long-running TV shows but it’s especially dangerous to these fantasy shows because the action is already incredibly close to ridiculous from the get go. It doesn’t take much to achieve the reductio ad absurdum I mentioned earlier. After all, hiding the prodigious body count of terminated monsters (who revert to human form upon being deep sixed) is kind of hard to justify over the course of years. And with just about every individual introduced in the series being a Wesen it seems laughable that they haven’t already taken over Portland and massacred Nick and his friends.
Another problem is the lack of likeability of most of the main characters. Nick’s girl-friend (Juliette) becomes a Wesen and eventually murders and beheads his mother. And after Juliette is killed (and then re-animated as an emotionless zombie named Eve) Nick becomes intimate with the Wesen (a hexenbiest or witch named Adalind) that was responsible for Juliette becoming evil. Her ex-lover (Sean who also happens to be the chief of police and Nick’s boss) goes from being an enemy to an ally to a mortal foe of the good guys, He is also the step father of Nick’s son. Basically it’s hard to really take any of the relationships seriously or even remember how we got to where the story stands. However, over the course of the series, the only character that I didn’t come to despise was Monroe. Regardless of how idiotic the script that this vegan werewolf clock repairman was given, the actor managed to inject humor and interest in the character.
And finally, the biggest reason Grimm stinks is because the plots are all the same. The variations for why Wesen were murdering the few humans that exist in Portland or each other were wholly unimportant and extremely boring.
I stopped watching the show a year ago. When I heard it had been cancelled and only a half season was being produced this year I started watching again. I wanted to see if a short span allowed the writers to sharpen up the plots and give us something worth watching. So far it hasn’t. This Friday (March 31st) is the series finale. I’ll report back afterwards to document whether they could even salvage that. I’m not very hopeful.
*I prefer transliterating the Greek letter kappa into English with the letter k instead of c.