NBC.
NBC.

As aTVfest 2016 came to a close on Sunday, Feb. 7, SCADshow’s mainstage came alive for the next-to-last time, presenting an 11:30 a.m. prime-time series screening of NBC’s “Grimm.”

aTVfest is in many ways an endurance test — a whole lot of a good thing — and those who were still standing on the morning of Day Four were rewarded with an advance showing of “Star-Crossed,” the upcoming ninth episode of the fifth season of “Grimm.” (For those who did not make it, the episode airs Friday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. on NBC — click here for a sneak peek.) The action-packed, mystery-driven hour of television kept the audience riveted, eliciting laughs and gasps in equal measure while showcasing a well-oiled machine of an ensemble cast.

Following the screening, a panel discussion was held, moderated by TVLine senior editor Kim Roots. The panelists comprised the show’s entire principal cast, including Reggie Lee, Russell Hornsby, Bitsie Tulloch, David Giuntoli, Silas Weir Mitchell, Bree Turner, Claire Coffee and Sasha Roiz. (Executive producers, showrunners and writers David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf, originally slated to appear, were unable to make it.) What followed was a loose and lively discussion of “Grimm” and its unlikely success, which was no less of a surprise to its actors.

Photo by Scott Russell.
Photo by Scott Russell.

Many of the cast members had their doubts about the viability of “Grimm” when the series was initially conceived. Mitchell was the most outspoken in recalling his initial misgivings, but the actor went on to say that “Grimm” drew him in with its “unique story” and its “mixture of genres and ideas.” Panelists also recalled that the successes of shows like “Trueblood” and “Once Upon a Time” had indicated to them that “Grimm” would find an audience and thrive. Five years and nearly 100 episodes later, it is safe to say the cast’s faith in the show has been rewarded.

The actors had plenty to say about the experience of working on such a long-running series. Roiz remarked that shooting “Grimm” had felt like making “one long episode,” with each individual installment blurring into the next, while Lee pointed out the bright side of that kind of longevity: “Knowing your character is a gift.” But the cast members were also outspoken on the stresses of acting in a network series. Both Mitchell and Turner noted that even such high-level TV production does not go smoothly, while Coffee emphasized that one must “know the show.”

The spirited discussion wound down with talk of the show’s upcoming 100th episode — Coffee teased a sea change of “cataclysmic” proportions before being hushed by Mitchell. According to a tweet posted by executive producer Norberto Barba, the milestone episode, entitled “Into the Schwarzwald,” was written by showrunners Greenwalt and Kouf, and directed by Barba himself.

Finally, the event ended with a question-and-answer session that covered the show’s visual effects, the cast’s fairy tale knowledge, the importance of language in “Grimm” and what it’s like to shoot in rainy Portland, Ore. As the lights came up and the audience began to disperse, Giuntoli crouched down to take a photo with a happy fan, cheerfully announcing, “Selfie time!”

The “Grimm” showcase was an excellent beginning to aTVfest 2016’s end — a wholly entertaining brush with a group of TV professionals who have earned their place in the limelight.