NBC’S HANNIBAL IS A RECIPE FOR COMPELLING AND ORIGINAL TELEVISION

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. Oh, and there’s more after the cast photos.

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MAIN CAST

Hugh Dancy as Will Graham in Hannibal

Hugh Dancy as Will Graham in Hannibal

Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal

Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Hannibal

Caroline Dhavernas as Dr. Alana Bloom in Hannibal

Caroline Dhavernas as Dr. Alana Bloom in Hannibal

Hettienne Park as Beverly Katz in Hannibal

Hettienne Park as Beverly Katz in Hannibal

Laurence Fishburne as Jack Crawford in Hannibal

Laurence Fishburne as Jack Crawford in Hannibal

SUPPORTING PLAYERS

Scott Thompson as Jimmy Price in Hannibal

Scott Thompson as Jimmy Price in Hannibal

Aaron Abrams as Brian Zeller in Hannibal

Aaron Abrams as Brian Zeller in Hannibal

Raúl Esparza as Dr. Frederick Chilton in Hannibal

Raúl Esparza as Dr. Frederick Chilton in Hannibal

Lara Jean Chorostecki as Freddie Lounds in Hannibal

Lara Jean Chorostecki as Freddie Lounds in Hannibal

SOME NOTABLE GUESTS

Gillian Anderson as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier in Hannibal

Gillian Anderson as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier in Hannibal

Eddie Izzard as Dr. Abel Gideon in Hannibal

Eddie Izzard as Dr. Abel Gideon in Hannibal

Anna Chlumsky as Miriam Lass in Hannibal

Anna Chlumsky as Miriam Lass in Hannibal

Hannibal - Season 2

Katharine Isabelle as Margot Verger in Hannibal

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.

TRIVIA

Hugh Dancy actually recommended Mads Mikkelsen for the role of Hannibal Lecter, as the two actors had become friends during filming of King Arthur.

Laurence Fishburne, who plays Crawford, and Gina Torres, who plays Crawford’s wife, are married in real life.

The title of every first-season episode is a French word for a meal course.

In the first episode, Will Graham says “Don’t psychoanalyze me, you wouldn’t like me when I’m psychoanalyzed.”, a reference to the comic book character, The Incredible Hulk, and his famous “Don’t make me angry…” line. The Hulk was portrayed in The Incredible Hulk (2008) by Edward Norton, the same actor who played Will Graham in Red Dragon (2002).

The name of the character played by Ellen Muth in this series, Georgia Madchen, is a reference to the character that Muth played in one of Bryan Fuller’s previous series, “Dead Like Me”: Georgia Lass. The German word “Mädchen” means “girl” or “lass.”

The episodes in season 2 are each titled after Japanese appetizers/courses.

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Hugh Dancy also appears in Adam and Martha Marcy May Marlene.

Mad Mikkelsen also appears in The Hunt and Casino Royale.

Caroline Dhavernas also appears in Devil and Wrecked.

Hetienne Park also appears in Young Adult and Bride Wars.

Laurence Fishburne also appears in The Matrix and Event Horizon.

Scott Thompson also appears in Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy and The Pacifier.

Aaron Abrams also appears in Resident Evil: Apocalypse and Cinderella Man.

Raúl Esparza also appears in My Soul to Take and Find Me Guilty.

Lara Jean Chorostecki also appears in Please Kill Mr. Know It All and Antiviral.

Gillian Anderson also appears in Princess Mononoke (voice) and The Last King of Scotland.

Eddie Izzard also appears in Valkyrie and Ocean’s Thirteen.

Anna Chlumsky also appears in My Girl and In the Loop.

Katharine Isabelle also appears in Ginger Snaps and American Mary.

 

 

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About Written in Blood

I was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina on March 4, 1962. I guess that makes me old, but I certainly don't feel that way. I still play video games and listen to rock and roll music. I love movies, especially horror films. I have a beautiful wife who is my all time best friend. She supports me in everything I do. More importantly, she calls me out on my bullshit. This blog is dedicated to her for everything she's done for me.

Posted on 04/26/2014, in Movies, Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. That poster gives me goosebumps every time I see it.
    They are talking about cancelling it?! WTF WOULD THEY DO THAT FOR?!

  2. I love this show and am cautiously optimistic about the chances of a third season. The relationship between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham is one of the most twistedly complex TV show relationships in recent memory.
    And Bryan Fuller deserves an abundance of kudos for making a show this dark and gory look so friggin’ beautiful. It is the best looking show on TV.

    • Yes! Finally another who agrees with me on just how beautiful this show is despite the gory nature of it.

      • The way they make such grisly crime scenes look so elegant is amazing and the food! Even though I know he is cooking with human body parts I can’t help but want to eat some of the awesome food Lecter makes.

  3. Reblogged this on Official Site of Alex Laybourne – Author and commented:
    I’ve not seen it yet, but Hannibal is one of the tv shows I plan to catch up on in the Summer.

  4. I have yet to find time to watch Hannibal. My wife and I have a lot of shows we watch and tend to add new ones to the mix in the quiet summer months. That way we can watch a whole season or two in one hit. This is definitely on my list for 2014.

    • It’s certainly worth your time, Alex. I’ve loved this show from the very beginning and continued to stay intrigued by the twists and turns it is taking.

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