Hannibal: Season 1 created by Bryan Fuller (Dino De Laurentiis Company, Living Dead Guy Productions, Gaumont International Television)
Starring Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Laurence Fishburne.
*Minimal Spoilage Within, But Be Cautious Nonetheless*
Hannibal The Cannibal
The character of Hannibal has been one of my favorite “bad guys” for quite some time. From The Silence of the Lambs, to Hannibal, to Red Dragon I’ve enjoyed the exploits of Hannibal “the Cannibal.” So, when NBC announced its plan to launch a prequel to the book and movie franchise entitled Hannibal, I was pleased to say the least.
Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) was once in the field as an FBI agent. We, however, meet him at FBI headquarters as a lecturer on homicides. It’s evident that there’s something we don’t know about him, and that he suffers from something debilitating. It seems as though it’s merely social.
Will is discovered by Dr. Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne), the head of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit, to track down a serial killer early in the season. Will, obviously frail, nearly fails at this effort so Jack introduces him to one of the best psychiatrists in the field, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen). As it turns out, Will’s chief problem is that he is readily able to empathize with the serial killers he is pursuing. As we get deeper and deeper into the season, we find that Will is having much more trouble than anticipated, trouble that is causing him to doubt his own abilities as an investigator.
What is perhaps the most ingenious, as well as the most frustrating, about the new Hannibal is that the character Hannibal Lecter has yet to become the famed serial killer from the Thomas Harris books. For those (like myself) that have knowledge of his actions in, say, The Silence of the Lambs, we look at all of the character’s actions with great malaise. To add fuel to the proverbial fire, Mikkelsen is adept at playing the famed cannibal.
Hannibal integrates the character of Doctor Lecter as almost an ancillary character, something wonderfully thought out. Mikkelsen, Fishburne, and Dancy make a fantastic crime-fighting trio. This could be partially due to the vivid characters the three actors portray, but I also believe it to be the quality of actors who play the characters therein.
Colors and Sophistication
None other than Bryan Fuller, known for his work in Pushing Daisies, frames the story most imaginatively. The visual appeal he brings to the story is essential; the characters rarely see the light of day. Visually red, brown, and black, the ominous color palette gives an eerie tone that keeps the viewer on their toes constantly.
Most likely due to Fuller, there’s a sophisticated touch to the series despite its gory scenes of serial murders. Though it seemed at first as the series launched that NBC had yet another flop on its hands (1600 Penn, Go On, Smash, Guys With Kids, The New Normal), Hannibal may very well become one of the network’s best dramas. After the first few episodes, you’ll be hooked. With guest stars like Eddie Izzard, episode after episode rivets as you watch Will Graham go further down the path of his own disease.
Verdict: 4.5 out of 5