Let me begin by saying that there will be no spoilers in this article. If you watch Hannibal and wish to comment then please keep any spoilers to yourself. Thank you.
How do I begin this assessment of NBC’s Hannibal? This is not a review, nor is it a critique (Well, maybe just a little). A review recaps the events of a film or television show; while a critique finds possible faults. I’m not here to tell you every little detail of Hannibal and I can honestly say that I find no fault in the show. So what exactly am I doing?
I suppose you could call what I am doing a preventative plea. A little over a month ago I read that Hannibal was in danger of cancellation after this, its second season. I have never done this for any television show but I am begging you, dear readers, followers and yes, even those of you who print out the pages of this blog and use it as puppy training pads to please, do not let this happen. Hannibal deserves better than that. It is one of the most compelling and original television shows that I have ever had the pleasure of viewing and yes I will say that includes both Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead.
Yes, it is about the relationship between FBI profiler Will Graham, portrayed brilliantly by Hugh Dancy, and the psychiatrist cum cannibal cum serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter, played with what can be described as sinister charm and elegance by the Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen. Yes, it is based on characters from the novels by Thomas Harris, especially “Red Dragon”. However, Hannibal creates its own path by simultaneously giving us characters that we are already familiar with, i.e. Jack Crawford, Dr. Frederick Chilton or tabloid reporter Freddie Lounds and presenting them to us in a different light. The show takes its path away from what we know about its characters from the films and novels. At first sight I was dismayed by these changes; then I grew to understand and love them as I realized that if Hannibal was going to be successful as a weekly series then it was going to have to carve its niche away from the Lecter-verse that we are already acquainted with.
Hannibal is gory, of that there is no doubt. The gore is at once harsh in its brutality and beautiful in its presentation. We have, for instance, a killer who spreads out the back flesh of his victims like angel wings; or another who uses his victims as fertilizer to grow mushrooms. As the saying goes, this is not your daddy’s safe little dramas we’re talking about here-this is Hannibal the Cannibal for heaven’s sake.
The cast, led by Laurence Fishburne and featuring Caroline Dhavernas, Hetienne Park, Scott Thompson and Aaron Abrams, do an excellent job in their roles and never once take away from the central intrigue of the series. They are complimented by guest appearances from talents such as those of Gillian Anderson, Eddie Izzard, Anna Chlumsky and Katharine Isabelle. Hannibal and its story and characters are laid out for us to enjoy like a fine dinner party with the most bizarre of main courses.
What more can I say about Hannibal? That if you watch it I’ll throw in free cooking classes from none other than Dr. Lecter himself? I can’t back that up and even if I could would you really want to eat his cooking? Then again would you want to refuse it? That would be rude and you know how Lecter feels about the rude. All I can tell you is to give this show a chance and to not let it fade away into obscurity.