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NBC's 'Grimm': EP Distances the Show From the Fairy Tale Trend

Our show "is so not about the fairy tale," exec producer Todd Milliner says.

Grimm
NBC
"Grimm"

The cast and producers on NBC’s Grimm faced reporters at the Television Critics Association (TCA) on Monday and tried to explain what exactly the show was about.

The series re-imagines the classic Grimms’ fairy tales as if its fantastical creatures actually existed and the stories were meant to be like that of a police profiler’s files.

“It takes the police procedural and kind of turns it on its head,” executive producer David Greenwalt (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) explains. “And it takes the storybook fairy tales and fractures that.”

The problem is that there seems to be some mixed messages coming from Greenwalt and his fellow EPs as to which element is more important, especially as reporters continued to search for some kind of solid explanation as to how audiences should view the show and how it fits into NBC’s stable of programming.

When faced with the question of the numerous other upcoming shows and movies also based off fairy tales, like ABC’s Once Upon a Time, and the two upcoming Snow White movies, executive producer Todd Milliner backtracks a bit on the fairy tale aspects.

“It is odd,” Milliner says of his show’s emergence as part of the trend. “There’s a lot of movies and shows about fairy tales, but ours is so not about the fairy tale. It’s a police procedural with a hint of fairy tale.”

So, what is Grimm about again? Maybe, it will help to go back to how the idea was born in the first place – with fairy tales.

Milliner and fellow exec producer, Sean Hayes (Yes, of Will & Grace fame – he also EPs Hot in Cleveland), was looking for something to base a new series on, but the source material would have to be in the public domain (meaning it wouldn’t have to be licensed). Grimms’ Fairy Tales fit the bill and additionally offered something like 200 possible stories the series could “fracture.’

This season, the series will repurpose “The Three Little Pigs,” but with wolves instead. And it plans to do something with the "Cinderella" story, renaming her “Finderella.” In addition, there will be a take on "Goldilocks and the Three Bears."

So, what parts of the show make it more crime procedural than a parody of fairy tales? The producers will try to make sure that the episodes are “digestible” with cases closed each episode.

It follows Det. Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli), who finds out he’s a descendent of the Brothers Grimm and inherits their unique talents for seeing mystical creatures, and his very classically trained police partner, Lt. Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby) as they solve tough cases and figure out each other’s quirks.

Again, there was a lot of talking in circles as if the show’s producers weren’t quite sure themselves how the series will shake out and which side, the fantasy or the procedural, will ultimately end up defining the series.