Grimm: Season Two [Blu-Ray]

Grimm: Season Two [Blu-Ray]
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Despite the pedigree of co-creator David Greenwalt as a key player behind frequently brilliant Buffy the Vampire Slayer spin-off Angel, Grimm got off to a pretty tame and unremarkable start. Thankfully, the show's status as a modest success has given the writers the latitude to go for a darker tone, one more in line with fellow spiritual Whedon spawn Supernatural. Now it's a series that regularly hints at having the potential to fill the void that will surely be left in the viewing schedules of dark fantasy fans once the Winchester brothers finally manage to stay dead. The new and improved season of this paranormal procedural picks up directly where the previous one left off: with the girlfriend of monster-hunting Portland detective Nick Burkhart (David Giuntoli) in a coma caused by a demonic cat scratch, while our hero faces off against a nasty beast and a cloaked mystery combatant. Nick's struggle to recover Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch) forms the narrative backbone of the season, tying in with the overarching story of a secret order of demon royalty searching for a set of keys said to unlock an ambiguous power. As Nick, a descendant of the bloodline of the Brothers Grimm (which means he can see the hidden faces of monsters, collectively referred to as Wesen), fully commits to his new life immersed in the supernatural out of necessity, we're taken deeper into a mythology freed from the constraints of the pre-existing fables exclusively handled last season. This wing stretching reduces the sense of gimmickry inherent in the show's conceit and infinitely increases its capacity for creativity — anything the writers can cook up is fair game now, making for much more exciting viewing. Further expanding the boundaries of the increasingly enjoyable, but still not especially intellectually stimulating series, increased emphasis is placed upon the peripheral characters, most notably breakout personality Munroe (Silas Weir Mitchell) and his relationship with Rosalee (Bree Turner), a fellow friendly Wesen. Together, they run a magic shop Giles would be proud of. With increasingly tumultuous home lives for many of the characters and enough in-the-know people entering the fold to form a verifiable Scooby Gang, Rosalee's "alternative medicine" business makes for a second, more community-oriented hub of arcane knowledge, after Nick's ancestral trailer of secrets. If Grimm pushes further along this dark path of casual, shocking violence and macabre humour, continuing to build its own spin on familiar lore, it could have a long life ahead of it. The bonus features are pleasantly charming, but underwhelming — much like the show at its worst. These amiable goodies are composed of deleted scenes — usually little more than an extra one-liner from Munroe — a gag reel that's long but not especially funny, an assortment of production features, along with a series of cute webisodes centered upon the magic shop and a guide to the smorgasbord of culture-spanning fairy-tale creatures populating this vivid world of imagination. Of these, "Myths, Monsters & Legends" contains the most insights into the creative process, with David Greenwalt leading a discussion about the evolution of the series. On the flipside of quality, "Creatures and Chaos" is a weird orgy of gonzo, cut creature transformations and "Monroe's Best Moments" is a random assemblage of lines more than a highlight reel. Also: one of the episodes contains a few extra minutes; you likely won't notice. (Universal)