Grimm vs Once Upon a Time.
The first season is over. I never did a complete review of each season but I can give you the overview here. Grimm is about to start on Monday, Aug 13th, while Once Upon a Time starts closer to the traditional Fall start time.
Thoughts on the last season…
My worries about Grimm were that it lacked a strong throughline, strayed a little far from traditional fairytales (and possibly disengaging the audience), and was stuck in a bad timeslot. Well, NBC seemed to hear those thoughts. The last few episodes of the season brought things back full-circle to the larger mythology introduced in the early episodes. It also added some twists that his partner and his fiance were now tangled up in these adventures and now possibly will learn the truth.
But will this hurt (or help) the show? Part of the fun was watching our hero try to navigate these two worlds and the more that these two worlds overlap, the less enjoyable this might become. I could see maybe a third season twist being that these worlds overlap, but a season one finale is a little early and will miss out on some cool opportunities.
And in terms of the larger mythology, the last few episodes brought back the blond wesen from the first few episodes. These mythology episodes should be scattered through the season, as opposed to bookending. Many viewers may have already become disengaged by this point and wouldn’t give Grimm a second chance. Hopefully the 2nd season is able to sprinkle in the larger Grimm mythology and also still have fun “Monster of the Week” episodes.
Once Upon a Time left us at an interesting place. The intrigue of the show was that these fairytale characters didn’t know they were from fairytales. Well, the cat’s out of the bag. They’ve all had that lightbulb turn on. This was the endpoint of the series, in my opinion. When I critiqued OUaT, this was its major fault. There was an end in sight. After this intrigue is gone, is there enough to sustain a show with this high of a concept? With recent news that they will be incorporating the world of Neverland, Mulan, and more, it’s hard to imagine how these will intertwine.
Another huge detractor for Once Upon a Time was that it was such a huge ensemble show that its best characters were given an episode or two and then forgotten about. Why waste an episode on the genie from Aladdin when we could’ve gotten more solid episodes about the extremely engaging Jiminy Cricket or Grumpy the dwarf? They’ve already spread themselves too thin and they’re pandering to the Disney audience. Does introducing Mulan as a character help the show or just make for a good cash-making premise for an episode? With season two, I worry they’re going to continue adding new characters while forgetting the interesting ones we already have (and this season, we won’t even have an interesting overarching plot).
I feel like Once Upon a Time is starting to lose its uniqueness. Its major plot is concluded and they’re making horrible mistakes by underutilizing their characters. ABC’s power in the primetime slots mixed with America’s obsession with Disney fairytales may still give Once Upon a Time a decent audience for another season, but it might struggle with a mediocre storyline.
Grimm hasn’t received the kind of push from NBC that OUaT has gotten. They’re playing with new times, such as having Grimm debut on a Monday night. Hopefully this shows a little more confidence. Grimm has also developed a strong cult following that may be enough for the show to survive. I believe the writers may have found a solid balance and I have more confidence in Grimm’s second season than I do for Once Upon a Time.
I’ll be following both and offering regular comparisons, for those of you on the fence! What are your thoughts on the first season of each?