Hey TV.com, Should I Watch Hannibal?

Let the 2013 TV midseason forever be known as the season of the sensitive serial killer, because it seems like everywhere you turn, there's a new show about the joys of slicing victims open for fun (or about learning about those joys). Fox's hollow The Following features a literary-professor-turned-eyeball-collector and a cult of dimwitted followers. A&E's Bates Motel has turned back the clock to tell a passable coming-of-age story of a young Norman "Psycho" Bates. And now NBC has Hannibal, a prequel of the Silence of the Lambs prequel Red Dragon

But is Hannibal a killer new series or just a copycat that'll give me a chance to murder a bunch of terrible puns? I've seen the pilot episode and I'm here to answer your questions in another edition of "Hey TV.com, Should I Watch [This Show]?"  

Hannibal
? What is this, some sort of Silence of the Lambs prequel? 

Yes! But, as I said above, it's even more prequel-y than that! Hannibal is set before the events of Thomas Harris's novel Red Dragon, and stars Hugh Dancy (The Big C) as socially awkward FBI profiler Will Graham. After taking time off from hunting serial killers to lecture at the academy, he's brought back into the fold by the agency's head of behavioral sciences Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) when a particularly nasty man in Minnesota starts killing young women. Crawford eventually recruits Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, Casino Royale), who *spoiler alert for those of you who were just born three seconds ago* secretly likes to kill people and eat them, to help Graham catch other serial killers, and voila! You have yourself a TV show.

What kind of twisted mind is behind Hannibal?
 

One of the best in the business, Bryan Fuller. The Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies, and Mockingbird Lane creator gets a little more serious here, but his panache for morbid imagery and sharp dialogue is present even when he leaves his normal fancifulness at home.

When does Hannibal serve its first course?

Hannibal debuts on Thursday, April 4 in the 10pm death slot on NBC. The first season is a firm 13 episodes long, and I won't be surprised if NBC has a long leash on this one. You can probably watch it without fear of it being canceled early.

What kind of audience will lap up Hannibal?
 

There's a cable sensibility to Hannibal, and that's immediately apparent in the opening scene, which uses half of the episode's fake-blood budget in just a few minutes. But wanton violence isn't the only draw here. Hannibal is for the Hannibal Lecter in all of us, the type of person who embraces gore and violence from an intellectual level. With strong characters and gruesome crime scenes, there's a bit of Sherlock and Dexter rolled into one show.


What makes Hannibal work?

First and foremost, tone. Between Fuller's creepy imagination and director David Slade's (Awake) eye for darkness, Hannibal is total eyeball candy for those of us too old to paint our fingernails black anymore. Hannibal's score—which is mostly effective, buzzy electronic tones and chirps that sound like someone fell asleep on the keyboard—punctuates the schizophrenia of its central characters. But what really makes Hannibal so much better than the aforementioned midseason slaughterhouse shows is its attention to the psychology of killing (rather than just blaming it on Edgar Allen Poe), mostly conveyed through Graham's ability to reenact horrific murder scenes within his supremely empathetic imagination by virtually placing himself in the killers' boots. And acting! These dudes can totally act, particularly Dancy as the hinge-less, angry, and uncooperative Graham. Mikkelsen's Lecter is nicely subdued, too.

What won't we like about
Hannibal?

As with all FBI profiler series, things feel reverse-engineered to fit the allotted time of network television, but that's more of an inherent problem with the genre than with this particular show. Sticklers will also question some of the procedures, like how Graham and Lecter end up pursuing killers alone despite the fact that Graham is an unstable agent and Lecter isn't even an agent at all. And of course there's the big question of sustainability, which comes from knowing that Lecter won't be exposed as a serial people-eater despite working directly with one of the FBI's best profilers. 

Well, should I watch it or not?

I'm going to go ahead and say, "Yes sir/ma'am/gaseous cloud of extraterrestrial energy." Hannibal is a much more complete show than The Following, and one of the better new offerings NBC has put out in the past year.

Can I see a trailer?

Sure!




What should I drink with my viewing of
Hannibal?

The easy answer is Chianti, but I'm going to say HUMAN BLOOD. With rum.


Hannibal premieres Thursday, April 4 at 10pm on NBC.

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On Cable...YES!!! On NBC...??? A three episode tester for sure..
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Well, Hannibal has made it this far, so.....
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I'm not a fan of Hannibal's story ; I am a fan of good characterization and good acting though. With the mind of Brian Fuller, this show seems to have the potential to bring good actors into a good story (not like in The Following or Revolution where the talent of good actors is wasted).
I will watch it.
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Ever since Hannibal fed Ray Liotta's Brain to him in the movies, I've been done with all things Dr. Lecter. Anyhow I expect NBC will ax it, I've already given them my trust with Prime Suspect and Awake. And if the Thurs at 10 pm is such a death timeslot why is Elementary doing so well?
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The "death slot" doesn't refer to ALL shows at that particular time. For NBC, it's been Thursdays at 10. For ABC, it's been Thursdays at 8.

To read more about them, Cory Barker actually wrote an in-depth article last month: http://www.tv.com/news/tvs-most-dangerous-timeslots-136303542787/
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I wish I could watch this. I love Bryan Fuller's other shows and the cast looks amazing, but I'm one of the (apparently) few people who can't handle violence and gore.
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Will give this a go but not sure. Although I have heard that the wonderful Gillian Anderson is set to have some form of recurring role :)
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One of the criticisms I've read for this show regards former "Kids in the Hall" Scott Thompson in the cast. He can't be as awful as criticism suggests, can he? Nice to see Caroline Dhavernas back with the old boss. As much as people loved "Pushing Daisies", "Wonderfalls" was better yet only lasted 8 shown out of order episodes on FOX. Best reason for me to watch is that Michael Rymer - the best director in Ron Moore's "Battlestar Galactica" crew is a director on this show. The show is going to look good, the cast is excellent - can't wait to see Ellen Muth's character - (has she done anything since playing "George"?) whats to worry about - oh that's right, this is NBC......
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Should I watch Hannibal? Yes of course! Why? It's Bryan Fuller. That's enough for me.
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why doesn't any one (mainly tim surrette) mention dead like me when talking about bryan fuller, it was a spectacular tv show with amazing performances.
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i wasnt a fan of pushing daisies
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Oh, I definitely do, and I loved the show. But "Pushing Daisies" has been the go to Bryan Fuller show since it came out because it was epicly good. In addition, "Dead Like Me" was 10 years ago, and, while "Wonderfalls" was a while ago, too, it has a much more dedicated cult following. Also, "Mockingbird Lane" was VERY recent and thus might be more in the minds of viewers than "Dead Like Me" (which was also on Showtime, a pay cable station, another reason it might not be as easily remembered).
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Of the 'midseason slaughterhouse' this is the only show I've been looking forward to... I had enough of The Following after one ep... I'd feel better though if Hannibal was on cable rather than on a network esp. the network being NBC but hey... we'll hope for the best, maybe they'll be busy fucking up everything else and will leave Hannibal alone...
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The Following was/is absolute drag.
This however, should be on a much higher level of quality. I mean, you've got Fuller writing,
Slade directing AND you've got Fishburne & Mikkelsen. A no brainer (pun intended lol), but my only small issue now is with Hugh Dancy. I seriously don't like him, so i hope i can be proven wrong. And if anything, Tim you hyped this up for me even more. Good article bro!
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I think we should give the following another chance it has great potential! they just need the good guys to have 1 win I mean seriously to make it a bit more realistic!!!

no brainer... ha! I like that!
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Natalie Zea is the only reason for me to start watching again, but i'm happy seeing her in Justified for now ;) though that finished :/ so...maybe i will!
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OMG I was devastated when they cancelled the show!!
I thought about writing something to the network but again I am an Arab and living in Dubai so I thought they'll get scared and this its threat! hahaha
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I completely agree! I loved her since Dirty Sexy Money and I think she's awesome! however what I dont like is she needs to be more realistic in her role.. no woman loses her son and has perfect hair and makeup!!! I mean try try to make us understand what a woman goes through in case her son gets abducted.. you know what I mean?
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haha! you're right!
and i'm glad you mentioned Dirty Sexy Money, that started it all for me with her!
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I'll give this a try, if only for Mikkelsen who is a fantastic actor. Plus I do like a good procedural.
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Ever since i heard Mads Mikkelsen was going to play Hannibal, i have been looking forward to this show, so if I not did watch it, it would be plain stupid.
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I'll give it a try just hoping it's not so stupid as The Following
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Good show or not, it's clear that NBC doesn't have much faith in Hannibal by premiering it so late in the season. ER ended just 4 years ago now, and ever since then, they've been unable to launch a successful drama in this time-slot. Southland, Prime Suspect, The Firm, Awake, and Do No Harm were all cut short. ... Awake should've also been picked up by TNT, damn it!

Hannibal does look well-made, but it has several things going against it: the Bryan Fuller Curse(!), lack of buzz/promotion, airing in the infamous death slot against established competition, and of course being on NBC. A network so desperate that they've already ordered a spin-off from their one and only new drama that's performed well this season. (Revolution is a whole other story.)
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Unfortunately you make a good point. And seeing how pretty much all those canceled shows were great, one can only wonder. But seriously, if this spot is so terrible, what are they expecting ratings wise? Hopefully one day they'll realise and let a show just be and shine...by cancelling all these shows, they're doing worse for that timeslot, then if they had just let them continue and build (Southland uhum)...there has got to be a first though, maybe that will be Hannibal?
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You're right; this could be the series to actually survive. Who knows? But if not, NBC should just give up and replace it with another reality show or bring back Brian Williams. Too many great series have suffered in these death slots, and there's no sense in trying over and over again. Especially when the competition only grows more every year.
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Amen!
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I'll definitely be giving this a try. Bryan Fuller + creepiness = fun! Well, hopefully.
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I am actually excited to see this show! I hope that it will not tarnish the (awesome) image of Lecter that Anthony Hopkins has left in my mind.
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The issue that that when a character becomes iconic it narrows tremendously the amount of what changes people will permit to it. Comics icon have been notorious in the changes of origins narratives; but with Hannibal Lecter we have a genius as a cannibal serial killer.The problem with that is that plots have to be of such sustained brilliance that I can see with great difficulty how any TV series can make justice to it. Otherwise, Thomas Harris would have written at least three other novels already.
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The premise looks interesting, but considering what happened to Awake last year, and the fact that there's very little buzz about this show, I can guarantee it will get cancelled, not sure how soon, but it will.
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Disappointed every time one of these articles shows up because it means "here's a show you may want to watch" but also that I'm going to have to wait another day to see it.
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This looks so good
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Well, at least it is on a decent time slot. If it was ABC they would have put it at 8pm and then wonder why no one is watching it.

But I will give it a shot. Thomas Harris' books are some of my favorite books. I am not too sure about Mikkelsen as Lecter. But he was a good enough bad guy in Casino Royal to give it a shot. Never heard of the actor playing Graham.

However I am not getting my hopes up. NBC is where good shoes go to be severely mis managed and die because NBC execs are inept.
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Mikkelsen played in a bunch of other movies that probably didn't make it to most US big screens (because they were not in English) but he's pretty amazing.
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I'v been waiting for the priemere for so long I already lost count.
Watching this is a MUST!

Thanks for the great review, I giggled a lot at it. :)
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Across from Elementary. Hmm. \=
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Reason to watch Hannibal not mentioned above: Caroline Dhavernas.
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NBC? I'll marathon s1 once s2 is confirmed.
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definitely a good approach considering the track record...
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But don't you see it's a terrible cycle:
People don't watch the show because they fear NBC will cancel it, NBC cancels it because people don't watch the show.
Break the cycle, if you want a season 2 support season 1 by actually watching it.
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You'd think some of these TV execs would get something so basic huh?
But yes, we are the problem first...
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I really like Mads Mikkelsen. He is one of the less known better actors.
But I won't watch the show. I fear it will be just a regular hunt-for-serial-killers story, despite the fact that you're saying nice things about it. And it's on NBC. That doesn't help.
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Maybe Mr Lecter (until i see some qualifications i dont consider him a doctor) can get a job at Joe Carrolls mansion
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You do know he is a renowned psychiatrist, right?
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i have not seen his qualifications.
he could be a qualified herbalist who dabbles in psychiatry for all i know.
i'd trust Dr Phil - at least his show has been on the air a few years, and Oprah said i could trust him!
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Have been looking forward to this for a long time now. Have loved everything Fuller has done previous, and this looks like another winner... just hope it gets the viewership his other shows were missing.
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I've not been looking forward to this one but after this positive review I guess I'll give it a try.

And I loved how many jabs at The Following Tim squeezed into this article.
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OK i'm 19 and i've never watched Silence of the Lambs but after watching the Promo i can't wait for this show and i hope that it brings NBC back to it's glory days
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What's wrong with you. Go and watch it right now, we'll wait.
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Hahahaha
but really should i watch it before the show ??
or does it not matter ?
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being 19 is no excuse. In fact, shame on you, what kind of self respecting 19 year old doesn't what classic (cult classic or just classic?) movies with Anthony Hopkins eating old friends for dinner?
Definitely watch it. I'd like to assume that it's been made for people who already know who Hannibal is. That's the whole point of prequels and 50% of the fun.
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It couldn't hurt, but since the show is a prequel of the prequel of the movie I wouldn't be too stressed.
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Plus there's Manhunter which Red Dragon remade but that's tonally different enough from the subsequent Hannibal films to not worry about. Confused yet?
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you can skip red dragon, but watch silence of the lambs!
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I'm about as excited for this as I was for Awake; which is very. Let's just hope the established IP and the good buzz gets people to watch.
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I've never seen a poor performance from MIkkelsen, heck I've never seen an average performance from him.
This is a must see, for this watcher.
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Please just let this show succeed. Can't wait to watch, looks amazing.
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Looking forward to Gillian Anderson guest-starring as Hannibal Lecter's therapist!

http://screenrant.com/hannibal-show-therapist-gillian-anderson/
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David Slade's Awake pilot was awesome. His Breaking Bad episode was great. Hard Candy still disturbs me today. If only I could forget that he directed a Twilight movie...
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Big Bryan Fuller fan but I just can't get interested in a Hannibal pre-quel (snore). I'd much prefer some more Mockingbird Lane episodes please!
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You had me at "Bryan Fuller".
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So you want to see it canceled like every other show mentioned?
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Yes, that's exactly what I meant.
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To be serious though, I think Fuller has good, even original, ideas, but he fails to execute them well or flesh them out / think them through properly. On top of that, those ideas seem to appeal to to narrow an audience to be generally successful. At least he tries and maybe this Hannibal series will work for him.

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Surely Pushing Daisies was the exception, that show was fantastic, and original!
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They had me a Hugh Dancy. He's purty.
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