Grimm Season 1 DVD Review: An Impressive Take On Fairy Tales

NBC’s Grimm returns for its second season tonight, so of course it’s time for the Blu-Ray and DVD release of the first season. Grimm: Season One is an impressive collection of the first run of twenty-two episodes plus some enjoyable special features.

If you missed the show previously, the gist of it is that Portland detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) figures out that he’s descended from a line of “Grimms” who keep the balance between us mere mortals and supernatural creatures, and must do so alongside his partner Hank (Russell Hornsby) and reformed creature Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell). Like ABC’s Once Upon A Time, which also started last season, Grimm draws some of its inspiration from fairy tales, namely Grimms’ Fairy Tales, hence the title.

Though Once Upon A Time got much more attention, Grimm is a pretty interesting series in its own right. For TV buffs, this is an eclectic but fun cast. Giuntoli delivers a solid performance as Nick (although I admit he’s always going to be Nick from the “Walk-In” episode of Ghost Whisperer to me), while it’s great to see Hornsby back on TV after his great turns in shows like In Treatment, Lincoln Heights and Playmakers. Mitchell’s usually been one of those guest players who seems to be on every show, so it’s likewise intriguing to see him in a lead role. And while the show is all about things fantastic, it never goes so far as to end up in preposterous territory. It’s by turns spooky, creepy and thrilling, and that’s not at all the kind of fare we’re used to on a Monday night, which is a good thing.

This Blu-Ray set is not perfect, but it’s a pretty good release. Firstly, there’s the packaging which is both beautiful to look at and one of the more accessible TV on Blu-Ray sets out there; it opens and shuts by way of Velcro, then reveals opening panels that double as an episode guide. Once you completely open the set, there’s an entire glossary of major terms alongside a list of special features. This is multi-functional packaging: it’s both a Blu-Ray case and a reference guide (and with mythology based shows such as Grimm, one can never understimate the value of a reference guide).

Plus, the set comes with an Ultraviolet digital copy as well as two trading cards from Breygent’s upcoming Grimm set. Breygent is the same company which produced the Dexter trading cards previously reviewed, so this is quality product if you’re into collectibles.

Most importantly, though, this is a quality transfer of the episodes. If possible, definitely go for the Blu-Ray, as the format favors particularly effects-heavy shows like Grimm. That multitude of dark, spooky shots is much clearer in the HD transfer and the sound can be downright startling at times. It’s not the best transfer I’ve ever seen, but it’s impressive and an upgrade over regular SD broadcast, as the video is presented in 1080p HD widescreen.

Unfortunately, as is usually the case with these sets, the special features don’t get the same treatment. They are in high definition, but not widescreen, and have a regular digital audio track as opposed to the DTS-HD audio in the episodes. While the episodes are subtitled, the special features are not.

What are those special features? There aren’t a ton here, but what exists is worthy of inclusion. The Blu-Ray exclusive is a guide to the show’s creatures, which as previously mentioned is always a handy thing to have. It’s comprehensive enough that I felt like I had a decent grasp on the universe after going through it. On both Blu-Ray and DVD, you get the standard making-of featurette, entitled “The World of Grimm,” and the usual gag reel, deleted and extended scenes, as well as highlight reels, which don’t add too much. Audition tapes are neat for a once-over, but not worth a rewatch.

There’s some great stuff here for the true TV geeks, however, and that’s in a featurette entitled “Making Monsters” as well as some VFX progressions included. You get a great look at how the show’s monsters come together, whether it’s through special effects or amazingly detailed makeup. If you’ve ever been interested in the “how-to” of television production, you’ll enjoy checking these out. It certainly deepened my appreciation for the show once I realized just how much work was involved in what might only last a few moments on television.

Fans of the show will be happy to have a great transfer of the show with some interesting special features, even if half of them are generally filler. Is the show worth a blind buy? You’d be better off renting and seeing if the show is your taste first, because the special features alone aren’t enough to check out this set for. Having said that, this is a really attractive price for a Blu-Ray set (just $32.99 as of today; the DVD is actually more expensive at $39.99) so fans of the supernatural genre would be forgiven for gambling with this one.

You can now order Grimm: Season One on Blu-Ray by using this link. The second season premieres tonight on NBC (check your local listings).

(c)2012 Brittany Frederick/Digital Airwaves. Appears at Fanbolt with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.


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  1. I got the Blu-ray and it came with 2 trading cards, so it definitely comes with the Blu-ray. Not sure about the regular DVD version.