Perhaps hoping to capitalize on the dearth of original programming (at least on network) in the summer, NBC has brought back Grimm to start its second season a month early. Whatever the reason, I won’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
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Grimm picks up right where it left off, with Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli, providing the right mix of intensity and likeability) having just discovered that his mother (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) has been alive (she was believed killed when he was a child) and, moreover, she can fill in some of the gaps of Nick’s understanding of being a Grimm. Juliette (Bitsie Tulloch), meanwhile, is still in a monster-magic induced coma, although Nick’s underworld friends (Silas Weir Mitchell, Bree Turner) are working on a cure. And of course Nick still doesn’t realize that Captain Renard (Sasha Roiz) is actually a powerful member of the underworld who has been keeping tabs on him the whole time.
If there was a tone to set here, it was whether Grimm would seek to dive headlong into its more complex running storyline or whether it would be content to dole out plot developments a little at a time while focusing on a “monster of the week” story. It seems the former is the way the show is choosing to go, and I wholeheartedly endorse the idea. Giuntoli has really grown into the role of Nick and he is at the center of the two most interesting character pairings (Nick and Juliette; Nick and Monroe) on the show. Grimm, meanwhile, has developed a wickedly grim sense of humor, frequently offering up a guilty macabre laugh or two (usually to be found in the remains of some poor slob who got ripped to pieces by one of the monsters). Combine a fun, creepy tone and a burgeoning mythology and you get a show that’s both compelling and enjoyable. I’m hoping Grimm finds a bigger audience because it has definitely earned it.
WORKING OFF THE success of its roast specials, Comedy Central unleashes insult-master Jeff Ross in The Burn With Jeff Ross. The show lives up to its promise of having no sacred cows (there’s even a segment entitled Too Soon? in which Ross roasts a dead person) and leaving no joke untold, no matter how groanworthy.
There’s a segment called Rapid Fire where Ross squeezes in as many quick jokes as possible in a short time, but the entire show is on rapid fire, and the good news is that if you didn’t like the last joke you can be sure another will follow before you have a chance to catch your breath.
With so much content squeezed into a half hour, you won’t find a whole lot of pointed political humor a la W. Kamau Bell, but Ross is basically pretty funny, and his weekly panel figures to include all of the usual suspects from the roast specials. If you enjoy that kind of humor, here’s your chance to get your weekly fix instead of waiting a year for the next has-been or B-lister to take the dais.
Did they get you? When Breaking Bad ran its typical innocuous opening of a kid on an ATV collecting spiders in the desert, you forgot all about him didn’t you? When Mike, Walt & Jesse were planning an ingenious train robbery and then pulling it off with all the glee and menace of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, you were on the edge of your seat, cheering right along with them when they got away clean, right? And then that kid on the ATV rolled back up. Remember him (liar, you didn’t remember at all)? And when Jesse screams “NO!” but the innocent kid gets shot in the face anyway, and all of the exuberance you felt during that train robbery went flying out of you as if you just got punched in the gut, and you looked back up at the screen to see what would happen next, but all you were greeted with was a black field and “Created By Vince Gilligan,” you knew they got you and good. Ladies and gentlemen: epically, historically great television, on display on Sunday nights on AMC.
Educational TV: Things we learned from watching TV this week: 1) NBC keeps Brian Williams in a vegetable crisper until five minutes before he goes on (The Daily Show); 2) No one (with the possible exception of Jean Claude Van Damme’s ex wife) gives a shit if Jean Claude Van Damme slept with Kylie Minogue (Chelsea Lately); 3) Help Bruce Jenner! He’s trapped in an estrogen prison! (The Soup).
I have to give credit to Covert Affairs for really keeping to the dark trajectory it decided to take in its third season. Its easy to try to set a tone in your opener by killing off a regular (which they did), but Covert Affairs has been unwavering in the much more somber tone its provided this season, and its main character Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) has mirrored the change. She’s more isolated now that her sister (Anne Dudek) has moved away, and she’s taking more personal and professional risks, exposing herself to physical and emotional jeopardy as a result.
The series debut of Copper airs on BBC America on August 19.
The season premiere of Beyond Scared Straight airs on A&E on August 19.
Bunheads will air its season finale on ABC Family on August 20.
The season premiere of Face Off will air on Syfy on August 21.
The season premiere of America’s Next Top Model airs on The CW on August 24.
TV’s a big place and I haven’t been to all of it yet. Got a favorite show you’d like me to comment on? Post a comment below, contact me on twitter @RobLazlo. or shoot me an email: RobNJ564@yahoo.com. I welcome your input!