Adrienne Fox

You Should Be Watching NBC’s Hannibal

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NBC did this great thing in 2013. They let Bryan Fuller create a television show about Hannibal Lecter. Yes, Hannibal Lecter. The cannibal immortalized by Sir Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs and portrayed by Brian Cox in Manhunter. You might think it unnecessary. I did at first. And then, I watched. I was hooked immediately.

Last week, the second season of Hannibal premiered on NBC. And it was spectacular! Hannibal is a “no disappointment zone” as far as I am concerned. Execution of this show is consistently top notch. Am I gushing too much? If I am, it’s because this show gushes quality, and blood—so much blood.

I listed some of my favorite things from the first season of Hannibal along with NBC’s Season 1 recap. Come join the legion of Fannibals!

The list is intended to entice you to watch and generally be spoiler free—but “spoiler” means different things to different people. So, if you are concerned about getting too much info, I would suggest you stop procrastinating and go watch for yourself.

Hugh Dancy as Will Graham: Will Graham is the viewer’s access to this strange and violent world. He has pure empathy and can connect visual and other often intangible cues at crime scenes. Will’s ability is a boon to the FBI’s Behavioral Science Department and for public safety. But his brain chemistry takes its toll on our protagonist and the audience has a front row seat for the carnage. Dancy is very likeable as Will Graham. He presents a vulnerability and honesty that pull you into his character and allow us to experience Will’s burden of empathy.

Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter: Hannibal is a psychopath who enjoys the finer things in life, especially the consumption of expertly prepared human organs. Hannibal and Will develop a special friendship that is also a cat-and-mouse game orchestrated by Hannibal on an unsuspecting Will. To underscore the power and control Lecter has, Mads Mikkelsen uses minute facial movements to convey volumes about Hannibal’s internal thoughts. The camera allows the audience to see this, while it goes unnoticed by those in Hannibal’s world. In the kitchen, Mikkelsen moves fluidly from chopping block to sauté pan in sort of a culinary ballet. I attribute this ability to his years of dance training and his ability to do everything well. And, this Hannibal is truly terrifying—as he should be.

Swiggety Swag the Nightmare Stag:  WTF, right? A huge black stag with feathers! Will Graham hallucinates, dreams, sees Swiggety Swag at the most inopportune times. The image is an icon representing subconscious doubts Will has about Hannibal’s motives. The stag theme and imagery runs throughout the first season with Swiggety Swag.

Team Sassy Science: Beverly Katz (Hettienne Park), Jimmy Price (Scott Thompson), and Brian Zeller (Aaron Abrams), are experts in science and snark. They can’t make the leaps in connecting case details like Will Graham can, but they deliver scientific information with a matter-of-fact style and the wry sense of humor of people who see these gruesome scenes all too often.

The Plaids:  Hannibal Lecter has the best suits. The wardrobe department has outdone themselves in defining Hannibal’s personal style. It often involves a fabulous window-pane plaid and a complementary tie with a full Windsor knot. Sometimes we get three different plaid suits in a single episode!

The Guest Appearances: Hannibal has a long list guest stars: Gillian Anderson, Eddie Izzard, Gina Torres, Molly Shannon, Ellen Muth, Ellen Greene, and Dan Fogler. From bit parts to full arcs, each actor adds to the story and Hannibal mythology. Eddie Izzard is fabulous as a murdering surgeon, Dr. Abel Gideon, who believes he is the Chesapeake Ripper due to psychiatrists messing with his mind. Gillian Anderson steals every one of her scenes as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier. She is Hannibal’s psychiatrist—not a job I would want—and they share a secret that suggests she knows what in under Hannibal’s “well-tailored person suit.”

The Dogs: Will Graham rescues dogs. I mean, of course he does. Winston is the latest addition to Will’s pack. They are silent observers to Will’s struggles. And so darn sweet!

The above are just a few reasons why I love the show. There are so many more. The whole production is quality. If you watch, you will find your own reasons to love it. Hannibal spawned the fastest growing fandom ever and it shows no signs of slowing down. If you find a Fannibal, be sure to ask her or him about their fandoms.

Tonight is “Sakizuki” the episode 2 of Hannibal’s second season. The creepy factor of the first episode was so high, I’ve no idea how Bryan Fuller and team will top it. But I know they will. And, I can’t wait.

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