Sometimes TV can be a real harsh bitch. Case in point, the delectable new show titled Hannibal. The show is beautifully shot, the characters are written with class, the acting is divine and the production values scream high class; it’s unlike anything we’ve seen on network TV in a long time. Yet, despite all the hard work that is being displayed, the ratings are just not there, or so they say. The problem with the rating system, is it only accounts for a small portion of people and from my understanding, DVR’s are not counted, which given the busy lives people live, a majority of people hardly ever watch a show when it’s on. The rating system seriously needs an overhaul, or else we the people are going to suffer when an amazing show like Hannibal gets cancelled. Enough about the lacking ratings, let’s see what’s so special about Hannibal and let me try to convince you that you need to be tuning in every Thursday at 10 pm (est)…
I’ll admit I was not expecting a TV show about Hannibal Lecter to be anything but awful. How could they top Anthony Hopkins performance in Silence of the Lambs and how could a network channel like NBC be able to pull off the graphic circumstances Hannibal and co. get into. Thankfully, I was completely wrong in thinking that it couldn’t be pulled off. Bryan Fuller (Dead Like Me, Pushing Daisies) manages to bring forth the stories of Hannibal Lector, performed masterly by Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale) and dish out a character who you will actually like, that is until the killing and serving up human happens.
Surprisingly enough, for a show titled Hannibal, it isn’t all about the title character and instead focuses on Will Graham, FBI profiler/teacher, with a special talent to get into the minds of serial killers and figure out just how they tick and hopefully catch them before they strike again. The character was introduced in the first novel, Red Dragon, of which this series is based on (the show is not able to use any specific characters introduced in Silence of the Lambs, so sadly, no Clarice Starling or Buffalo Bill). Will Graham, is played by Hugh Dancy (Black Hawk Down) and Dancy manages to capture every quirk, pain and torture that Graham goes through when trying to enter the mind of a killer. The shows interesting use of when entering Graham’s mind during a crime scene and having the scene play in reverse, slowly piecing together what happened, is disturbingly sublime.
The general gist of the show is about Graham’s and Hannibal’s early relationship before Hannibal gets found out. They work together on cases, as Hannibal slowly psychoanalyzes Graham and gets into his head. In the meantime, head of the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI, Jack Crawford (another character perfectly played by Laurence Fishburne), seeks the help of Graham in investigating serial killers. The show has an overarching plot, with the relationship of Hannibal and Graham, but also has “killer of the week” episodes, which still manage to move the characters and plot forward, never once stalling.
The only other concern I had going in, was the toned-down nature of network TV, but thankfully NBC decided to grow a pair and go for the throat with the graphic violence. It isn’t always in your face, but the quick flashes of mutilation can be quite disturbing, which is a big compliment for this show. It brings unease and grittiness to each episode and shows that it isn’t trying to pussyfoot around.
Honestly, I can’t think of one negative comment about Hannibal. The acting is stupendously superb and each episode is like a non-stop five-course meal of deliciousness. I am hoping other people can see this and that NBC realizes that yes, the majority of people love this show and aren’t part of this magical rating system that decides whether or not great shows like Hannibal, should be cancelled or renewed. The show is coming up on Episode 7 and Scully from The X-Files herself, Gillian Anderson is being introduced. Now come on! How can that not convince you to tune in now! Chant with me people, six seasons and a movie, six seasons and a movie!
*SIDE NOTE* If you do decide to get into Hannibal, which you will after having read the above, take note that Episode 4 was not shown in North America, due to content concerns. It was however shown overseas and can be found online. As for my opinion, the reasoning behind the removal of the episode was unjust and I think it’s partially to blame for the sudden drop in the ratings.