Grimm TV Series (2011-2017)

Created By: Stephen Carpenter, Jim Kouf & David Greenwalt


David Guintoli – Det. Nick Burkhardt

Silas Weir Mitchell – Munroe

Russell Hornsby – Det. Hank Griffin

Bitsie Tulloch – Juliette Silverton

Sasha Roiz – Captain Sean Renard

Reggie Lee – Sergeant Drew Wu

Bree Turner – Rosalee Calvert

Claire Coffee – Adalind Schade

Language: English                                                       

Genre: Fantasy; Police Procedural drama; Horror

Run Time: 43 minutes

Number of Seasons: Six (123 episodes)

The Grimm TV Series gives a new spin to the Brothers Grim fairytales. In the series, a Grimm is someone born with the ability to see Wesen (the German word for creature), even if they masquerade as humans.

As a descendant of the Grimms, Det. Nick Burkhardt (David Guintoli) not only possesses the ability to see Wesen but also enhanced strength and other abilities that set him apart from other humans. However, since he was brought up with no knowledge of his ancestry and works as a cop, he feels duty-bound to help people and has fewer of the prejudices common to his people.

His aunt’s re-entry into his life awakens his powers enabling him to see the true face of Wesen. At first he finds it disorienting and as a homicide detective begins to be suspicious of Wesen motives to strange murders.

In fact, Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), a Blutbad (wolf-like Wesen) whom he suspects of being a murderer, in turn accuses Nick of being one since he’s a Grimm. Interestingly, Monroe speaks of the alternate folktales Wesen tell about evil Grimms who hunt innocent Wesen children. This in many ways is a reminder that prejudices work both ways and could be dangerous.

His growing friendship with Monroe and other friendly Wesen keep him from viewing his world in the black and white manner of the Grimms. But the strange murders he and his human partner Det. Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby) solve with the help of the cynical Sergeant Drew Wu (Reggie Lee) frequently have a Wesen angle to it, which he finds increasingly hard to keep to himself. Monroe becomes his unofficial partner because of Wesen involvement, along with occasional help from Rosalee (Bree Turner), a Wesen pharmacist.

His worlds – Human and Grimm clash more and more as the story progresses bringing the violence closer home to affect his long-term partner Juliette Silverton (Bitsie Tulloch) who gets drawn deeper and deeper into his world as seasons progress.

 What makes the series relatable is that it plays out real life concerns in this fantastical space – racial prejudice, white-supremacist attitudes, pure-blood fixations, political ambitions et cetera.

There are many enemies in the series, some join forces, some shift loyalties depending on who they are fighting. Some antagonists are closer home such as Captain Sean Renard (Sasha Roiz), Nick’s senior officer, who with the help of his hexenbiest (witch-like Wesen) partner Adalind Schade (Claire Coffee), is interested in controlling Grimm powers for his ambitions.

The series builds slowly with season 1 using familiar fairytales which midway through begins to be occasionally predictable. But if season 1 uses Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and other stories; season 2 broaden the scope by looking at fairytales from different cultures, making the episodes more complex.

What does not change however, is that the season cliff-hanger is revealed in literally the last two minutes of the final episode – every single season. So even if it seems predictable in season 1, the story takes an unimaginable turn at the penultimate moment.

There are many factions that come into play in the story and their involvement keeps building up making the threats of the story multi-faceted. There is a quest element to the story as well which adds to the suspense. With the characters classed as grey with no one being particularly good, including the main lead; the duality makes the characterisation realistic.

The final season is slightly rushed but much shorter than the previous season. It however ties up loose ends making it a compact narrative.

The Duke of Burgundy (2014)

Directed and Written By: Peter Strickland


Sidse Babett Knudsen – Cynthia

Chiara D’Anna – Evelyn

Monica Swinn – Lorna

Eugenia Caruso – Dr.Fraxini

Fatma Mohamed – The Carpenter

Kata Bartsch – Dr. Lurida

Eszter Tompa – Dr. Viridana

Zita Kraszko – Dr. Schuller

Language: English                                                       

Genre: Drama; Romance

The Duke of Burgundy is a 2014 British romance drama. Set in an idyllic location, it opens with a long peaceful sequence of the countryside and of Evelyn (Chiara D’Anna) cycling past it leisurely. She stops by streams, observes everything around her and then makes her way to her place of work.

Evelyn works as a maid and apprentice at the house of a seemingly curt and imperious lepidopterist Cynthia (Sidse Babett Knudsen). Their interactions are discomfiting because there seems to be a very obvious attempt on Cynthia’s part to denigrate Evelyn. But, before you can give into that assumption, there is a realisation that laced into their interplay is a ritual of passion.

In fact, when the day to day sequences seem to repeat with very little change, and that Evelyn seems to be consciously getting late for work, one begins to see more into their relationship. It is with that awareness that the power dynamic shifts.

Unchanging, could be the most important motif in the film because even the title sequence freeze into darkroom photographs. Throughout the film there are similar recurring still images, such as that of butterflies and moths mounted. They are lovingly maintained but lifeless. It is the ritual of studying the species out of its environment and when it’s dead. This metaphor runs into the viewer’s understanding of Evelyn and Cynthia’s relationship.

The film has an all female cast including in the lecture segments. Strangely enough, there are female mannequins placed into that all female audience. Since it is a female only world, many beliefs about sexuality and gender are voided.

By stripping it of such assumptions, it explores the dynamics of a romantic relationship. Is control and power in the relationship easily apparent, even if plays out as dominant-submissive? What about the insecurities that seep into such an intimate spaces especially when there both different expectations as well as limitations? And, how far do you compromise to keep a connection?  

The Duke of Burgundy is a richly textured film be it sound (the haunting OST by Cat’s Eyes), or image. As a film that looks more at the emotional toll that’s probably inevitable in a non-platonic bond, it may not be the average titillating erotica some might expect.

The King: Eternal Monarch (2020)

Directed By: Baek Sang-hoon, Jung Ji-hyun, Yoo Je-won

Written By: Kim Eun-sook


Lee Min-ho – Lee Gon

Kim Go-eun – Jeong Tae-ul/ Luna

Woo Doo-hwan – Jo Yeong/ Jo Eun-sup

Kim Kyung-nam – Kang Sin-jae

Jung Eun-chae – Koo Seo-ryung

Lee Jung-jin – Lee Lim

Language: Korean                                             

Genre: Sci-fi; thriller; romance

Number of Episodes: 16      

Run Time: 60 – 70 minutes

The King: Eternal Monarch is a 2020 South-Korean sci-fi romance drama. The story is set in two parallel worlds – the Kingdom of Correa and the Republic of Korea. There are similarities between the two worlds, enough to cause some confusion as to where the characters are, but with differences that stand out as cues to remind the viewers. Since the narrative is about parallel worlds, it goes into the convoluted region of time-travel and the paradox of time.

The doorways between the worlds open twenty-five years before the story begins, when the mythical flute Manpasikjeok is split in two. This tears the fabric of the worlds, upsetting the balance. Lee Gon (Lee Min-ho), the young king of the Kingdom of Correa possesses half the flute while the other half belongs to Lee Lim (Lee Jung-jin), the traitor who fled after his unsuccessful coup.

Armed with tangible clues as to the existence of a parallel world, Lee Gon stumbles onto the doorway in a bamboo forest, and his entry into the Republic leads him to meet Jeong Tae-ul (Kim Go-eun), the woman who might be tied to his past. Jeong Tae-ul is a no-nonsense police officer, whose life gets thrown into chaos with his entry.

The two parallel worlds are in many ways mirror images of each other with there being a doppelganger of each person in the other world. Their family names may be the same but their personalities, lives and experiences are not. The more that Lee Gon and Jeong Tae-ul learn about each other’s worlds, the more imbalanced it begins to seem – why are strange murders occurring all over the Republic of Korea? Why are certain doppelgangers being targeted? Is it possible that in this race for power, they may find their memories and their existence wiped out?

The series is tightly paced switching as required from suspense to romance to comedy especially in the encounter between the king’s bodyguard Jo Yeong (Woo Doo-hwan) and Tae-ul’s childhood friend Jo Eun-sup (Woo Doo-hwan) – who are doppelgangers with diametrically opposed personalities and who may have to step into each others’ lives.

The relationship of the two protagonists is maturely handled because they are world-weary, duty-bound and far less frivolous than the average k-drama couples. They are light-hearted too because early in their relationship they establish the possibility that time may not always be in their favour.

In keeping with the political intrigues that are a staple of every monarchy-based drama, the kingdom has its fair share of power politics especially with the presence of the shrewd and manipulative Prime Minister Koo (Jung Eun-chae), who aims to win over the king to keep herself in power. Unfortunately, most of the battles of the kingdom get fought on Republic’s soil. Many of the characters become pawns in this battle, such as Jeong Tae-ul’s senior in the Violent Crimes Division, Kang Sin-jae (Kim Kyung-nam) who finds himself increasingly forced to take sides in a fight that he got unwittingly drawn into.

The writer, in the course of the story, introduces us to the various trajectories that the time-crossed love story could take. By exploring the possible futures they could have, the viewers are brought to an alternate conclusion of the narrative.

The series has been criticised for its complicated plot but most of the plot twists fit within the framework of the time paradox. An event that occurs could be an interaction between a future self and a present self. The lack of memory of such incidents is well within time travel narratives. The similarity between the two worlds became an issue but it is the sameness and unfamiliarity that creates a space for a revisionist history. There have been other criticisms levelled some of which can be chalked to production errors and others to a lack of awareness of the current socio-political temper.

With a captivating OST that reverberates with longing, and a smart plot peppered with metaphors of time, it bridges the unexplained in science with magic.