Another week, another set of new television goodness from the non-cable networks. Seriously, after a year where there’s been very little mainstream science fiction and fantasy on television, it’s nice to see it coming back in such full force. I’m still divided on which of the new shows I most like (though I still probably lean, just a touch, toward Once Upon a Time), though, and both seem to have some potential.
Now on to the show recaps…
Grimm – “Bears Will Be Bears,” Nov. 4 – A breaking and entering goes bad, resulting in one of the intruders becoming a missing person. This bizarre case brings Nick face to face with an ancient race performing a violent rite of passage. (If you can’t guess the fairy tale being invoked from the episode title, you need to turn off your television and read a book of fairy tales. I mean now. Here’s a free one.) Meanwhile, the bludbad Eddie is enlisted to help Nick protect his aunt, but he goes beyond mere comic relief when he lets his inner wolf out on too long a leash.
The best thing about this show, in my opinion, is Eddie, and I’m glad to see that they made such good use of him so quickly out of the gate. I could care less about Nick, to be honest, but that isn’t necessarily a show killer. After all, I was a huge fan of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, but the main thing that made 7 years of Buffy’s angst enjoyable was the quality supporting cast: Xander, Giles, Willow, and Oz. Still, Grimm is nowhere near Whedon-esque proportions yet, so I recommend they make Nick a bit more engaging. You can watch the episode online on the official NBC show page or over at Hulu.com.
Supernatural – “The Mentalists,” Nov. 4 – The “most psychic town in America” runs afoul of some real-life whoo-whoo, as a bunch of fake psychics begin getting ganked by an irritated (and irritable) spirit. This one cranks the blood and gore factor up a notch, finding some creative ways to kill fake psychics, so be warned. Also, Sam and Dean have their heart to heart about halfway through the episode, instead of waiting for the last 5 minutes, making for a nice change of pace. The full episode will soon be available online at the official CW show page.
Once Upon a Time – “Snow Falls,” Nov. 6 – This episodes explores the first meeting of Snow White and Prince Charming, who were clearly not afflicted with love at first sight. Snow White was living as a forest-dwelling bandit, hiding out from the Queen, when she stole jewels from the prince… including the family heirloom ring that he intended to give to his fiancee. He threatens to turn her in to the Queen unless she helps him get it back, which means a trip to meet with the trolls who she sold it to.
Meanwhile, in the “real” world, the comatose Prince – John Doe – moves when the schoolmarm Mary Margaret (Snow White in this reality) reads a fairy tale to him. Then he walks out of the hospital. They find him in the woods, unconscious, and she brings him back with a kiss … or a tender form of CPR, depending on your perspective. Mary Margaret is beginning to get embroiled in thinking that maybe there’s something to this “love at first kiss” idea, until the mayor reveals that John Doe is actually already married. D’oh!
One further comment on Once Upon a Time: The show creators make an odd choice, in that they let slip in the lead-in narration that “only one knows the truth.” The show was clearly implying that the mayor knew what was going on, but they were also specifically going out of their way to avoid saying it explicitly. Part of the mystery that’s been lingering for me in the first two episodes was to wonder whether or not the mayor consciously knew what was going on, or whether the spell also masked the truth of her own past. I do sort of wonder if it’s possible that the “one” they’re talking about is Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin, rather than the Queen. (However, given that the narration was done over an image of the mayor, that would be cheating a bit.) My guess is that in test audiences, the ambiguity was shown to annoy more viewers than it intrigued.