Something of an unsung hero from a season with precious few of them around NBC, “Grimm” returns for its sophomore year Monday, timed to capitalize on a relentless push for the macabre drama during the Olympics.
Like most “The X-FIles”-esque (or if you prefer, “Kolchak: The Night Stalker”-esque) shows, “Grimm” struggled at times to balance its procedural, monster-of-the-week elements with its broader mythology, which focuses on a descendant of the Brothers Grimm (played, stiffly, by David Giuntoli) who is tasked by birthright with fighting off the monsters living in not-quite-plain-sight among us.
Frankly, I wasn’t impressed enough with the first few episodes to stay with the show all the way through season one, but I was able to catch up pretty quickly with past events in the two-part opener to season two, which plunges deeper into the back story of the Grimm heirs, fueled in part by Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio’s carry-over guest shot from the first-season finale.
NBC is clearly hoping to use the Olympics, a low-key summer period and the short-run reality show “Stars Earn Stripes” as a springboard to give “Grimm” a running leap into the fall. Yet while there are some nice elements in the show — and the series has deepened its bench in terms of supporting players, which was a clear deficiency at the start — I still find “Grimm” to be only so-so by the standards of its genre, the kind of thing I can’t imagine firing up the DVR to follow.
That said, “Grimm” is one of the few arrows in NBC’s quiver positioned to target the flighty younger-male audience watching the Olympics, and the show could be a key utility player for the network. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see NBC move it if one of its new dramas ostentatiously falls on its face.
While that tepid endorsement hardly smacks of a fairy-tale ending, being viewed as the least of NBC’s problems could be the best thing “Grimm” has going for it.