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.
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.