Original Airing: 2011-2012
Length: 22 episodes (15 hours, 51 mins)
Genre: Fantasy/Police Procedural
BD Resolution and Codec: 1080p VC-1 (@ an average 20 mbps)
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (@ an average 4.0 mbps)
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: Unrated (TV-safe injuries, blood, police procedures)
Release Date: September 7, 2012
Starring: David Giuntoli, Russell Hornsby, Bitsie Tulloch, Silas Weir Mitchell, Sasha Roiz and Reggie Lee
Executive Producers: David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf
Written by: Various
Directed by: Various
Rating: 2 ½/5
In the fall of 2011, TV audiences were treated to a brand new fantasy series which really excited people and got everyone talking. That was, of course, ABC’s Once Upon a Time. But there was also NBC’s Grimm, which did well enough in its initial year to be brought back for a sophomore season that has already begun on August 13th. The series is an interesting attempt to crossbreed the standard police procedural (find a dead body and then find the murderer) with fantasy elements usually lifted from Grimm’s Fairy Tales. There’s some fun material here, and some good usage of Portland locations to backdrop the action. The cast is all game for this material, although there aren’t any really strong performances to pull the audience in and make them care about yet another dense mythology a la Lost or The X-Files. There’s also a strong sense that this series is a bit more ambitious than its budget will permit, as the frequent use of CGI morphing to transform human characters into fairy tale creations really shows its seams as the series piles them up.
If you’re a fan of the series, this Blu-ray set will be a welcome gift, as it’s stocked with good HD picture and DTS-HD MA 5.1 sound, along with a fair amount of extras. The Blu-ray set includes the usual BD-Live and pocket BLU functionality. This set actually hit store shelves over two weeks ago as part of the push for the show’s early start on its second season.
VIDEO QUALITY 4/5
Grimm: Season One is presented in a 1080p VC-1 transfer that accurately presents the HD imaging captured by the cameras used on the show. There are solid black levels, which is a good thing for a series that has plenty of scenes in darkness or outside at night. As I noted before, the clarity of the transfer also makes the inadequacies of the CGI work more apparent.
AUDIO QUALITY 4/5
Grimm: Season One is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix that, as usual for television, mostly focuses on the front channels, but has a satisfying amount of life in the surrounds, both in terms of music and atmosphere. Given the number of action scenes and scares, there’s a healthy amount of atmosphere, as well as a more aggressive use of the subwoofer than is normally heard and felt in a TV series.
DISC BY DISC:
As I regularly do with TV season sets, I will account for what can be found on each disc, in order.
The discs also contain the usual My Scenes bookmarking and BD-Live functionality of all Universal Blu-ray releases. The discs also feature the pocket BLU app. On each disc, deleted scenes are presented for various episodes, always in 1080p HD.
Pilot – The series begins with an episode where Detective Nick Burkhardt (Giuntoli) uses his new-found Grimm abilities to deal with the murder of a red-hooded college student in the woods. (The disc also contains 3:31 of deleted scenes from the pilot.)
Bears Will Be Bears
The Three Bad Wolves (2:46 of deleted/extended scenes are included on the disc.)
Let Down Your Hair (4:27 of deleted/extended scenes are included on the disc.)
Game Ogre (3:50 of deleted/extended scenes are included on the disc.)
Of Mouse and Man (1:53 of deleted/extended scenes are included on the disc.)
Tarantella (1:27 of deleted scenes are included on the disc.)
Last Grimm Standing
Three Coins in a Fuchsbau (2:41 of deleted scenes are included on the disc.)
Plumed Serpent (A 0:24 deleted scene is included on the disc.)
Island of Dreams (A 0:48 deleted scene is included on the disc.)
The Thing With Feathers (3:20 of deleted scenes are included on the disc.)
Love Sick (A 0:45 deleted scene is included on the disc.)
Cat and Mouse
Leave it to Beavers (A 1:37 deleted scene is included on the disc.)
Happily Ever Aftermath
Woman in Black – The season finale finds Burkhard closing in on the person responsible for his parents’ death and winding up face to face with the one person who could give Scarface second thoughts… (3:00 of deleted scenes are included on the disc.)
The disc also contains:
Gag Reel (3:12, 1080p) – A short gag reel is included here in HD. It mostly consists of Silas Weir Mitchell blowing his lines and then extemporizing about the situation…
Grimm Guide – This is a kind of encyclopedia of the show, divided into two parts. The first part presents the various fairy tale creatures established in the series, including video clips of each one. The second part is a glossary of the various pseudo-German terms created for use in the series.
The World of Grimm (10:50, 1080p) – This featurette is a quick introduction to the series, including interview soundbites with the cast and some on-set video.
Grimm: Making Monsters (6:43, 1080p) – This short featurette deals with the creation of the various monsters seen in the show.
Audition Tapes – Windowboxed videos of the various cast members’ auditions for the series are included here. The auditions here include David Giuntoli, Silas Weir Mitchell, Russell Hornsby, Bitsie Tulloch and of course Reggie Lee. (Lee’s audition was unsuccessful for the part at hand, but was so funny that the producers immediately created a character for him and unleashed him on it.) The auditions can be viewed individually or via a “Play All” feature.
VFX Progressions (2:08, 1080p) – This is a quick compilation of various CGI morphs, showing the completed effect and the base footage of the actor’s face with tracking marks. This is one of those bits that maybe isn’t helpful, as it clearly shows how artificial the effect looks at this budget level.
Highlight Reels – This is a trio of highlight collections, each covering a different aspect of the series, all presented in HD:
Morphs (2:28) – This is another moment that the CGI becomes screamingly obvious, simply due to the pileup of morph moments presented here.
The Language of Grimm (1:38) – This is mostly Silas Weir Mitchell’s readings of the various mock-German terminology used in the show.
Ultraviolet Copy – Instructions for downloading or streaming an Ultraviolet copy of the episodes are included on an insert in the package. The deadline to access the material is April 30, 2015.
The packaging also includes two collector cards made for the series by Breygent, each showing a different character or creature from the show’s mythology.
Subtitles are available in English for the episodes and for the special features. As with the prior series sets, standard chapter menus are not exactly included here – instead, each episode is itself a chapter. There are four chapters within each episode, but they are not itemized in a menu – which means you may have to hunt through an episode if you stop the disc and restart it later. As I’ve noted before, I find this kind of thing a bit annoying, but other viewers may be fine with it. The usual Blu-ray pop-up menus work fine. The rest of the packaging is okay, with the discs contained within sleeves in a foldout setup. It gets trickier to get the right-hand discs out, but it’s nowhere near as bad as some earlier packaging ideas we’ve seen.
IN THE END…
Grimm: Season One provides a good introduction to the series, and is a good way for the show’s fans to re-experience the first season. There isn’t much substance to be found here, but viewers looking for a police procedural with a fantasy twist may enjoy what they see here.
September 25, 2012.
Equipment now in use in this Home Theater:
Panasonic 65” VT30 Plasma 3D HDTV – set at “THX” picture mode
Denon AVR-3311Cl Receiver
Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray Player
PS3 Player (used for calculation of bitrates for picture and sound)
5 Mirage Speakers (Front Left/Center/Right, Surround Back Left/Right)
2 Sony Speakers (Surround Left/Right – middle of room)
Martin Logan Dynamo 700 Subwoofer
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