Grimm tales emerge amid the dark gloom

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Amy Gumenick as Gilda in

Amy Gumenick as Gilda in "Grimm" in the episode "Bears Will Be Bears." Photo Credit: NBC/Scott Green

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WHEN | WHERE Friday night at 9 on NBC/4

REASON TO WATCH Supernatural thriller from network that badly needs some thrills.

WHAT IT'S ABOUT The Grimm fairy tales were based on old German folklore ostensibly designed to amuse kids, but probably had the more practical effect of scaring them half to death. This is because they were populated with fantastical creatures like ogres, birdmen, werewolves and donkey bridegrooms.

What if said creatures were real, and what if there was a family named Grimm whose descendants could actually see these critters? That's the core premise of "Grimm." A Portland homicide detective, Nick Burckhardt (David Giuntoli), learns he's one such Grimm, and like all Grimms, must keep balance between the human world and the mythological one populated by these animorphs -- or else.

His partner, Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby), doesn't yet know of his powers, but his new pal and informant, Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), does.

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MY SAY And so arrives the last piece of NBC's fractured fall prime time puzzle, and in some ways this is the only one that fits. "Grimm" -- at least the pilot -- is a well-made, entertaining TV confection, which is kind of all you can ask of any pilot, right?

A dark gloom prevails here, while mystery and a bit of mayhem seem to lurk just off-screen. Fans of "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" (or even "Angel") will see uncanny parallels with "Grimm" -- you can almost think of Grimms as Slayers -- while special effects and make-up especially evoke those long-ago WB Network triumphs.

Some will gripe that "Grimm" is a rip-off while the more generously inclined will say it's an "homage." But what else would you expect of the show's executive producer David Greenwalt -- who was also one of "Buffy's" longtime showrunners? A remake of "Happy Days?"

BOTTOM LINE "Grimm" has real promise if NBC has real patience.


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