Thursday, March 20, 2014

'Grimm' Just Got Renewed for Season 4 (Rated WIN!)

I am so very, very happy with this news, and yes, it's official. NBC's Grimm has been going from strength to strength. The fan base is strong and growing (more fan art - yay!), the cast is solid, the banter has been awesome and the story lines have had some delicious layering, especially since they've taken the focus off trying to "retell" a whole fairy tale or legend in a single swing, er, episode. In fact, as of March 18, 2014 "“Grimm” is the #1 scripted series of the night on ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX in adults 18-49."(Source)

Due to a ridiculously long and ongoing bout of insomnia (lucky me!) I have been re-watching Grimm from the beginning in back-to-back episodes. Although I've enjoyed it from the start, I'm definitely enjoying it more now. The writing is better than I remember and the arc of female characters moving from victim to empowerment gets stronger episode by episode. While the initial promos were very "females are victims (and look pretty dead)" it's clear the writers immediately moved to depart from that mentality with the very first episode. While the lead, Nick, in particular, does take a while to find his feet, as soon as he "gets his Grimm on" and the Scooby-gang potential (ie ensemble efforts against the 'big bad' of which Nick is just the leader) starts building, things quickly get better and more complex. The more the writers took only a few key motifs from a tale and worked with those, the better those episodes got too, especially when they worked into the overall long term arcs building. It's the episodes that focus too heavily on completing a familiar tale in a recognizable form that tend to be the weakest.

That seems to be key, actually. Rather than trying to retell a whole fairy tale in a modern setting, Grimm works much better when the episodes only contain 'tale motifs' (or Aarne-Thompson tale-type touchstones), within an original and unique story, rather than whole familiar fairy tales. I thought The Little Mermaid themed episode did a great job of this. Despite it being clear what tale they were drawing from, it didn't stick to every story beat and make it frustratingly predictable. Instead it added a lot to the seasons themes and character development, rather than sticking out like a sore-thumb one-off episode. And has anyone noticed the Baba Yaga references in the B-story of Adelind trying to regain her witch powers? *happy dance* It brings to mind the premise of Seanan McGuire's Indexing, which does much of the same regarding the real world cases, even though the point of view in Indexing is from a very fairy-tale-savvy/immersed team...

Aside: I hope to write more on Indexing at another time as it really deserves it's own post - and a whole lot more fans. What Ms. McGuire has done with this is fantastic, and exactly the sort of thing fairy tale need to bring back the more obscure tales and variants to popular attention. For now: I recently read the (recently released) paper edition in a few sittings - overall the awesome is high, though it seemed to finish a little too hurriedly. I want more, much more, with more exploration, detail and more tale variants... aka, please let Ms. McGuire and her publishers know that we'd REALLY love to see "season 2" of her serial fairy tale! Also, this is begging to be made into a multimedia radio-like play... Seriously fun that includes nice and juicy TT [tale type] research and tidbits scattered throughout for avid fairy tale students.

But back to Grimm news.

I'm glad to see Grimm have continued with the opening quotes from texts and tales as well, though I would love to hear more from the creators and writers on how they choose what they do. (The first Grimm magazine issue had a wonderful double-page spread on those which I will try to remember to scan for you if I can't find an online version.) Those snippets, if you're paying attention and try to figure out their origin before watching the episode, make it even better and you never quite know when the text is referring to just that episode or to themes and key issues in one of the series arcs - or both.

Although some people's impression of Grimm is rather, well, grim, particularly due to the creatures, I find it very much has a fairy tale feel, albeit the darker version. I've been collecting images that reflect my impression of the show in a Pinterest board for a while, to try and show how varied it actually is, and how it has that all important fairy tale hope and "triumph against the odds" feel running through it as well. You can find that board HERE.

I can't believe season 3 is wrapping so soon. But yay season 4! Though you know they're going to have one of those cliff-hanger-y type endings again, don't you?

Oh, and by the way, did you know Grimm ALSO HAVE MULTIPLE WEB SERIES?! (the link takes you to one, but they're all on the official YouTube Grimm channel) *fistpump*
So they're only 7 or 8 minutes each, I don't care. More Grimm equals more happy. :)

Note for sensitive viewers: This is still a monster show and they've gotten particularly good with some of the scary stuff, (Aswang anybody? *shudder*) so do be prepared. I do detect a Buffy-air about it all - complete with some of that serious pathos of the darker and very powerful episodes contrasted with laugh out loud funny moments, or, alternatively, touching moments - but that's a good thing - real world scare with snarky repartee (or truly moving moments) equals win (and that shouldn't be surprising with David Greenwalt being one of the Producers). If you're sensitive to that kind of thing though, please take note. Some of the scenes may not be so easy to forget in the middle of the night. Viewer discretion is, indeed, advised.

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