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Diary of a Grimm Virgin – Supernatural vs. Grimm

I start my watch of 'Grimm' with low expectations and get a pleasant surprise -- this show is not a clone of 'Supernatural'!

I didn’t watch Grimm when it premiered, in part because it was on Fridays and those nights were already full, but mostly because I watch Supernatural  and I figured I didn’t need a clone of that show.  Two dudes who hunt monsters, yeah, been there, done that.  But I’ve now watched the first four episodes and I can say it’s not a clone, though there are certainly some similarities.


  1. Don’t be in the teaser. I learned this rule from The X-Files, and it applies to both Supernatural and Grimm. In all four episodes someone is attacked in the teaser. They don’t all die, surprisingly enough (since Rocky makes it out alive of the Goldilocks episode). But my thought after seeing the pilot was, “Ah, it’s going to be one of those shows.”
  2. Flashlights. Do they not have a lot of electric lights in Portland? Nobody even feels for a light-switch when they’re about to go down into dank basements. I guess because they know it’s futile.
  3. The family business of “saving people, hunting things.” Grimm makes it more explicitly a family business, where it’s a biological lineage, while the Winchesters have a choice in theory, though their lineage is at least three generations of hunters.
  4. A journal which functions as the Encyclopedia of Monsters, which both heroes must consult to figure out what the monster is and how to fight it. They also have human/quasi-human encyclopedias that help them out, though Grimm introduces theirs as one of the monsters, while it took Supernatural a while to introduce a consistent recurring source of supernatural info in Bobby.
  5. Male bromance. Because there’s Nick and Monroe, and Nick and Hank. It’s only a matter of time before Hank and Monroe meet.
  6. Female victims. I acknowledge this is somewhat inevitable and I’m always going to be more sensitive to women-as-victims than I am men, but there is a familiar pattern here of male heroes, and female victims and/or non-entities (Juliette and Adalind have promise, but they’re still far less present).


  • It’s nice to see Nick in an apparently stable relationship with a competent woman. I would like to see Juliette much more developed but at least she’s there (and alive).
  • It’s not a road trip. I have some concern that this may lead to the Sunnydale Problem, where tons of monsters live in town and the deaths are obviously bizarre, but nobody really blinks at it too much. Having Renard there to cover up helps somewhat, but it’s still easier to believe two guys driving around the country will stumble on various monsters, than they all just happened to settle in Portland.
  • Nick is almost entirely ignorant of his heritage, the family business, monsters, and everything to do with the supernatural. The Winchesters never were and they hunted with their father from a very young age. They were far more prepared. I think this has the side-effect of making Nick less sympathetic than he should be because he’s so clueless and bumbling around.

Let me pause there and mention how much I hate the trope of “hero has well-meaning but stupid mentors who don’t bother to tell him about his birthright or what’s going to happen, even though it’s inevitable and they know that.” Marie seemed wonderfully badass, and I’d love the show to be about her, but for crying out loud, why would you ever leave your nephew and heir in such dangerous ignorance? What if she’d been hit by a bus six months earlier? He would still inherit the power, as far as I understand it, and be even more helpless. It’s so absurd.

Other things I like: 

  • Bee people. I love the giant bee monsters and their ’50s era cheesy look. And I love that Nana Visitor’s character was ambiguous and left Nick unsure about who was the real victim.
  • Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz is always a pleasant sight). He makes this show for me already. I hope he continues to be the awesome secret lord of the Portland monsters with the ambiguous agenda toward Nick.
  • Monroe adds a nice touch of humor to otherwise fairly dour proceedings.

So far it’s been more fun than I thought it would be.  Onward next week to episodes five through eight of Grimm!


Photo Credit: NBC

5 Responses to “Diary of a Grimm Virgin – Supernatural vs. Grimm”

June 18, 2012 at 9:42 AM

. . . . .

Having reviewed the show during its premiere season, you’re in for some treats as things progress, Liz.

Roundabout the midway point, I believe you’re going to get blown away.

I’m reading with interest …

June 18, 2012 at 1:44 PM

I agree with Michael … Grimm just gets better and better, and departs from Supernatural comparisons.

June 18, 2012 at 7:42 PM

Monroe makes the show for me. He is great.

June 19, 2012 at 11:22 PM

I agree Debbie, Monroe makes the show. Nick’s okay but they having him doing really idiotic things fairly inexplicably sometimes. But mostly Nick so far is just kind of there for me. I don’t dislike him but I don’t really love him either. Nothing really stands out about him for me yet.Now Monroe is sweet, hilarious and kind and is helping Nick out just because he’s a good man. Monroe’s great.

June 20, 2012 at 9:16 AM

Actually the Winchesters’ hunter lineage goes back much farther than three generations. Their grandfather, Samuel Campbell, claims that the Campbells were hunting vampires on The Mayflower. And he gives the impression that they were already old hands at hunting by that time. But their lineage as “vessels” (which is responsible for their roles in the Apocalypse — which is why the YED visited baby Sam in episode 1 — and set them off on the road to becoming hunters) is part of a bloodline that can be traced back to Cain and Abel.

So the Winchesters never really had a choice. Sam was lead by demons in disguise throughout his life (including a school teacher and a prom date). His lost love Jessica had unknowingly been introduced to him (and, later, murdered) by a demon, for the sole purpose of driving Sam back to the hunting life. Even their celebrated “Team Free Will” gave in and allowed Sam to become Lucifer’s vessel.

Otoh, their derailment of the Apocalypse knocked the plot’s overriding sense of fatalism for a loop — leaving even the angels free (if ill-equipped) to choose their own destinies. But it doesn’t change their inability to escape from “the life” of the hunter. They’re forever tied to their past. Dean learns this the hard way when he attempts to lead a normal life with Lisa and Ben.

I’ve never watched Grimm (I share your wariness of a Supernatural clone) — but I did listen in to part of episode one. The dialogue/acting seemed stilted and unconvincing.

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