Saturday, September 7, 2013

Saturday TV Special: Hannibal

By Sati. Saturday, September 7, 2013 , ,
Plot: The series is based on characters and elements appearing in the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris and focuses on the budding relationship between FBI special investigator Will Graham who has unique ability to emphasize with serial killers in a very unusual way and Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a forensic psychiatrist destined to become Graham's most cunning enemy.


Structure: Despite each episode basically having 'killer of the week' pattern, most of those are usually connected to Hannibal who occasionally kills someone in the way the other kills occurred because, you know, it's an easy kill and he needs to have a nice dinner.



Verdict: When I first heard of the series I was very skeptical. A series about Hannibal Lecter by Bryan Fuller who made the most adorable show ever, Pushing Daisies? A series about a guy who eats people to air on NBC? How tame and silly does it sound? Well, turns out I was wrong.

Fuller's imagination runs deeper and darker than I assumed and I'm downright shocked by how much gore and fucked up stuff they get way with. Does it really air on NBC? And I'm not talking about fucked up stuff like in crude waste of Kevin Bacon's time also known as The Following, they really mixed dark and crazy in inspired way here. Hannibal cutting lungs, statue made out of human remains, bodies made to look like angels, girls impaled on antlers, Glasgow smile - that and more occurs in only 13 episodes. Add to that the fact the series is shot in an incredible way - it is packed with surreal images and the way the bodies are arranged often looks like art. Creepy dreams, the mysterious stag that appears out of nowhere and obviously the very dishes Hannibal is making - all of that is shown in an amazing and haunting way.

There are some problems and I really hope they will disappear in season 2 - the forensic guys who analyze the evidence are basically puppets with no development (and it's good, as I don't care about them) and the tale of young psycho Abigail taken under Hannibal's wing is very annoying  and tired plot device. Thank goodness for Fishburne's agent Crawford, he is probably the most likable person in the show and sometimes I even root for the good guys here. He is actually excellent here and his real life wife Gina Torres plays his wife on the show - they have one truly amazing scene together that is probably the most moving moment of the series so far.

Obviously once someone touches the material that was already made into film, a very acclaimed one too, people get worried. Fuller made the right choice -  Mikkelsen is amazing  He is a great actor and he really makes Hannibal irresistibly charming and so sophisticated I feel bad when I eat a simple sandwich while watching the show (it is so gross at times but seeing all those dishes makes you very hungry). His character is handled in a very effective way because you don't actually see him kill - most of it is implied (sometimes in the form of his hilarious one liners).

There are few instances in the series that his true nature is shown which were mostly necessary kills to avoid being caught. The scene where he overpowers Anna Chlumsky's character was insane - he strangled her so she would lose consciousness but he did it with such peace and tenderness, almost respecting her for the fact that she was so close to catching him.

He actually makes Hannibal calmer and more collected than Hopkins ever did - I read Fuller's take on this today and that's just spot on - What I love about Mads's approach to the character is that, in our first meeting, he was adamant that he didn't want to do Hopkins or Cox. He talked about the character not so much as 'Hannibal Lecter the cannibal psychiatrist', but as Satan – this fallen angel who's enamoured with mankind and had an affinity for who we are as people, but was definitely not among us – he was other. I thought that was a really cool, interesting approach, because I love science fiction and horror and – not that we'd ever do anything deliberately to suggest this – but having it subtextually play as him being Lucifer felt like a really interesting kink to the series. It was slightly different than anything that's been done before and it also gives it a slightly more epic quality if you watch the show through the prism of, 'This is Satan at work, tempting someone with the apple of their psyche'. It appealed to all of those genre things that get me excited about any sort of entertainment.

This is so true. He's like from different species. He makes every person in the show look like white trash.

Whom you may recognize: Hugh "babyface" Dancy who is actually not bad here and Mads Mikkelsen as the two main characters, Laurence Fishburne as Will's boss, Gillian Anderson as Hannibal's shrink, Caroline Dhavernas from Fuller's previous show Wonderfalls and Eddie Izzard and Lance Henriksen as season 1 most memorable guest villains.
Who will like it? Fans of visually striking series and good thrillers with a fair dose of psychology in them.
When and where? 1st season was released on DVD on September 2, 2nd season is currently in pre-production stage.


16 comments:

  1. Hugh Dancy is just as brilliant in this show as Mads is. You make it sound for those that have yet to see the show, that Hugh is just okay. And you seemed surprised that he is good in this. In my opinion if you are going to praise Mads - then you should be showing Hugh the same respect.

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    1. 1. That is your opinion.

      2. He is just okay

      3. I am - he is not a good actor, not comparing to a number of people on this show.

      4. I shouldn't be showing anyone my respect. I choose to do it. I respect Mikkelsen for his talent and performance, Fishburne for his work here and Fuller for putting it together.

      And I certainly don't listen to people who couldn't spend 5 seconds on signing their own opinion.

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  2. I do really enjoy. Admittedly. sometimes it gets *too* intense but I am a fan of Fuller's aesthetics and Mikkelsen is doing a great a job and Dancy a pretty good one too, what with Crazy Will and his craziness.

    I find it funny how the only other TV character I call crazy is Crazy Carrie from Homeland :P

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    1. I think they are pushing the whole 'crazy Will' really fair. That whole plot with his illness is half-assed at best but at least the conclusion was awesome.

      Haha, yeah :) They seem like nice couple, tough :)

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  3. Wasn't a fan of the show.. then again, I watched an episode of Modern Family once and disliked it now, went back to it, and now miss it like a crazy person. The visuals do look nice, no doubt about that.

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    1. How far have you got? I remember you writing about first 2 episodes. I gets really awesome in latter part of the season.

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    2. I didn't get passed three I think.. but then again, I pretty much missed everything this summer. *cries internally*

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    3. *hugs*

      It keeps getting better and better and finale is probably the best ep yet.

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  4. I was a little skeptical at first too, but Hannibal blew me away. I never noticed how undeveloped some of the supporting characters are, but you're right. Although I guess that's normal in 12 episode first seasons such as this one, most likely they were focused on developing this new version of Hannibal and Will Graham.

    Gillian Anderson was such a nice surprise, I ADORE her. Hugh Dancy's good here, though at first I didn't really care for him. All the nightmares and twitching and sweating just seemed a *little* over the top. But now it's fine. But the real star is Mads Mikkelsen, no doubt. I was not expecting him to be this good, in terms of his approach to Hannibal (because that he is an awesome actor I already knew), so so so good!

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    1. I think they are just so unimportant any efforts to make them a thing - like the main forensic chick - is just a waste of time. I hope they will focus more on more important characters next season, for example on Alana.

      Yeah Will is difficult to care about, he is a bit too odd and I'm a bit tired with this trend of having unstable people as heroes - what ever happened to good old fashioned cop?

      He is sooooo incredible <3

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  5. WOW, I had no idea this is from the same guy who did Pushing Daisies! Some of the stuff here looks like something from cable TV so yeah, very surprising from NBC!

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    1. It's crazy, isn't it? This is practically the polar opposite of PD, though they are both visually striking shows.

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    2. I wish Pushing Daisies is playing on Netflix Instant, I missed that show when it was still on air. It's more up my alley than this one even though Hugh Dancy is pretty cute too :D

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    3. Oh yeah this one is fairly gory Ruth, one time it even scared me.

      Dancy is really cute. They try to make him more manly in this one but when he has scenes with Mads in comparison he looks like a school boy who was just rescued from getting locked into a school locker:)

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  6. This sounds like an awesome show and now it's out on DVD. Dexter is not doing it for me plus that show is almost over, so here I come Hannibal!

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