By Cory Sekine-Pettite
With few exceptions, compelling TV dramas used to be the exclusive property of cable/satellite channels. This was not because network shows were subject to more stringent regulations regarding colorful language and nudity. Often, the cable shows simply had bigger budgets for their original dramas, because they may only be producing a few at a time – and for a shorter season than is typical of network TV. Sure, you could rely on your Big Three networks for passable one-hour dramas and the occasional made-for-television movie or miniseries, but for gripping, human drama, one had to be willing to pay for the viewing privilege. Millions of Americans, myself included, have been – and will continue to be – eager to spend a monthly fee to view series such as Band of Brothers and The Sopranos (HBO), Mad Men (AMC), Battlestar Galactica (Syfy), and Homeland (Showtime). However, during the last few years, the major networks have turned their attention toward producing better dramatic series with sizeable casts, big budgets, and even on-location shooting.
Programs such as The West Wing (NBC), Lost (ABC), NCIS (CBS) and now Grimm (NBC) have brought creative storytelling, captivating action, and high production values back to the masses. Grimm, as featured in this issue, is the latest TV drama to charm the U.S. television viewing audience. In fact, its recent May season finale won its Friday night timeslot with nearly 6 million viewers.
Grimm is a rather unique program that reinterprets the well-known “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” with a modern twist. Portland police detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) has inherited the ability to see supernatural creatures, and as a “Grimm,” he is tasked with keeping the balance between mankind and the mythological. There’s truly nothing like it on TV, so Christine Bunish spoke with the show’s visual effects team at HIVE-FX to learn how some of Grimm’s scariest monsters are created as viewers watch them change from their human forms.
As you will see, the production values of today’s network dramas certainly are on par with those of the pay channels. And the success of effects-heavy programming such as Grimm should lead to more shows in that vein. In turn, that will put more VFX artists and companies to work, the prospect of which pleases me a great deal.