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New fall season: Prospects seem glum for NBC's new Grimm

The guy on the left is a wolf. The other's a Grimm. NBC photo

Premiering: Friday, Oct. 28th at 8 p.m. (central) on NBC
Starring: David Giuntoli, Silas Weir Mitchell, Russell Hornsby, Bitsie Tulloch, Reggie Lee, Sasha Roiz, Kate
Produced by: Stephen Carpenter, David Greenwalt, Jim Kout, Todd Milliner, Sean Hayes

These are continued scary times for the ratings-parched Peacock, with two of its five September newcomers already canceled while Prime Suspect seems to be staggering toward the same fate.

At least Grimm, NBC's sixth and final fall newbie, is supposed to be a frightening experience. Originally set for an Oct. 21st premiere, it's been pushed back to Friday, Oct. 28th in the interests of being closer to Halloween.

Not that you're going to experience any measurable onset of chill bumps. Grimm plays more like a crime procedural set in Transylvania, with Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) operating as a standard issue detective until learning from his decaying Auntie Marie (Kate Burton) that he's one of the last in a long line of criminal profiling Grimms. Ergo he has the innate "ability to see what no one else can," she tells him.

This mainly comes in the form of Hexenbiests, Blutbads and other ancient evil-doers who have taken on human form but can be glimpsed by Nick for what they are. Friday's opener has an immediate Little Red Riding Hood motif, with a young woman attacked and dismembered (off-camera) while jogging through the woods.

Later on, a little girl disappears while Nick and his detective partner, Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby), try to piece together the first brutal crime. Network television, whatever the settings for its police dramas, never tires of putting women and little girls on the receiving ends of assaults and abductions. It's long past the epidemic stage -- and really needs to stop. But network research apparently shows that audiences are more likely to be sympathetically "invested" when the victim is female. And so the beat and the beatings go on.

Nick eventually encounters a recovering wolf named Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), who gives Grimm a little skip in its step with his sometimes spot-on badinage. They end up tracking the abductor to a little cottage just outside the woods. Nick then calls in his real world partner for a little Q&A with a pot pie-baking creep who's clearly a wolf in postman's clothing. Still, they at first let him off, even though he might as well be wearing a placard saying, "All the Better to Eat You With, My Dear."

Grimm is buoyed by some decent special effects and snarky wolfman Monroe, who will be a series regular. But it's not nearly as imaginative, involving or picturesque as ABC's fairy tale offering, Once Upon A Time, which premiered Sunday night to solid national ratings while being largely overlooked in D-FW opposite Game 4 of the Rangers-Cards World Series.

While solving weekly crimes, detective Nick also will be delving deeper into his personal "mythology" in hopes of quashing whatever new grand plan has been hatched by an array of sinister mythological creatures.

He'd better work fast, because Grimm's Friday night competition is CBS' long-established CSI: NY; Fox's scarier Fringe; The CW's creepy crawly Supernatural; and ABC's transplanted Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which probably still has a few nails left to pound.

That may well mean a quick coffin for Grimm, fated to follow the announced last season of the Peacock's very little-watched Chuck. This brings us back to where we started. It can be damned scary being on NBC these days. Certainly scarier than the scares you're trying to sell.