Hannibal was NBC's flirtation with cable-esque scheduling last year, and the gamble paid off with the show garnering critical acclaim. The Bryan Fuller penned series was quickly renewed for a second season.
Much like Bates Motel, Hannibal is a prequel of sorts. It takes place before the events of the most famous and successful of adaptations of Thomas Harris’ novels, The Silence of the Lambs, but instead of following the specific story of an earlier novel, it draws from many. There have been many critics who have credited the looseness of the adaptation to the success of Hannibal‘s first season.
It wasn’t just the story that drew people in. For one, the acting is top notch. Of course, that isn’t that great a feat when you have people involved like Laurence Fishburne, Mads Mikkelsen, and Hugh Dancy. Mikkelsen plays the title character with a nuance that pulls you in and makes you forget he is looking at your liver as a potential appetizer. Fishburne is the straight guy in this macabre tale, always, not purposefully mind you, making sure that everyone is in the exact wrong place, at the exact wrong time.
But it is Hugh Dancy, as Will Graham, that bears the brunt of the storytelling. For it is through his special skill/art/curse of being able to “see” what the killers have done that the audience learns what on Earth is going on. Granted, very often what is going on is disturbing and bloody, but the way we, the viewers, get to see the crimes as they were committed, is incredibly entertaining. Criminal Minds often will use the same tactic, but there’s just something about Will Graham’s descent into madness that lends itself to giving a very visceral picture of the mayhem.
It’s not all the men who get the spotlight in Hannibal. Oh no, there are a few ladies who steal their moments on the screen. The most chilling of those moments belongs to Kacey Rohl who plays Abigail Hobbs, the daughter of the serial killer who is haunting Will Graham’s entire existence. Rohl does “creepy dead eyed girl” incredibly well. Since the role of “creepy dead eyed girl” was taken, that left only the kind-hearted Dr. Alana Bloom role for Caroline Dhavernas. If Bloom’s presence in the TV world of Hannibal has done nothing else, it has given the fanfiction writer’s something to sink their teeth into. That scene talking about being right for each other? You could almost hear the fingers immediately start typing.
In addition to the story, the visual aspect of Hannibal makes its own mark. Don’t be fooled, Hannibal is very much a horror story. There are times when the more squeamish among us (me) have to turn away, but for every moment of gore, the show counters with a thing of beauty. It might not be of something actually beautiful, but the cinematography work makes even a montage of human organs being butchered and stored into something of an art piece.
Despite being only 13 episodes long, quite a bit of headway was made in the story of Will Graham, lover of dogs, and his therapist Hannibal Lector, lover of human lungs. What started off as a nice lovely working relationship between the characters, has ended up with Will in jail, suffering from a raging case of encephalitis and Hannibal stepping into his shoes and helping the FBI with cases.
Just when you start to think you might have an idea what is going to happen in season two, NBC releases a fight scene from the season two premiere that squashes all that.
Is that foreshadowing? A dream? Another encephalitis induced delusion from the brain of Will Graham. We’ll have to tune in to NBC on Friday, February 28 at 10 Eastern to find out!
For now, how about a few fun facts about cannibalism to pass the time?
So are you a fan of Hannibal? Enjoyed the first season? Hated it? Wish they’d just stopped with Manhunter? Let us know down in the comments below, or on the GEEK Facebook page!