Why Hannibal is the best thing on TV
The Oscar season’s over and we can expect cinema to be relatively quiet until the Summer blockbusters hit our screens. With The Walking Dead back on the scene and Game of Thrones returning next month, it’s the time of the year where the small screen takes the spotlight. Now, that’s not to say that it’s all spectacular viewing. For me, The Walking Dead has been a little lacklustre since it’s return, with the gang all splitting off and more sad faces than usual. Although, I do love the way that Rick’s facial hair seems to indicate his emotional and psychological state. It’s time to get a shave and man the hell up, mister.
So, The Walking Dead is losing its appeal with some viewers and the highly anticipated return of Game of Thrones is another month away. Then there’s Terence Winter’s superb Boardwalk Empire, set to return for it’s fifth and final season this year, but there is little clue as to when. With a bit of a gap in our schedule, I thought I’d bring our lovely readers’ attention to a show that still hasn’t quite hit the big time, despite it’s stellar cast.
Based on characters and elements from Thomas Harris’ novel Red Dragon, Bryan Fuller’s spectacular Hannibal returned for it’s second season last week. I’ll avoid any spoilers about the opener for season two, but it really was a belter, setting the story in full swing from the offset. Starring Mads Mikkelsen in the title role, alongside Hugh Dancy and Laurence Fishburne, Hannibal is a refreshing take on the tried and tested psychological-horror-thriller-drama-type-thing. The show has received great critical acclaim due to it’s unique visual style and excellent performances.
The series primarily focuses on the relationship between forensic psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter and FBI Special Investigator Will Graham (Dancy), who Lecter takes great interest in. Graham is a criminal profiler with a unique method of visualising himself committing the murders that he investigates. However, his techniques invite criticism from his colleagues and take their toll on his psychological state. Dr. Lecter assists on the FBI investigations, some of which are often his own brutal crimes.
Laurence Fishburne plays Graham’s boss, Jack Crawford, developing a friendship with Lecter with whom he enjoys many dinner dates – nomm. Crawford is the Morpheus to Graham’s Neo (yeah, it’s a difficult image to get out of your head) and is constantly concerned for his mental well-being. Will’s heavily stylised visualisations give the show an almost supernatural feel, but that only adds to it’s unique style.
Mads Mikkelsen plays a fantastic Hannibal Lecter, equal parts charming and creepy. His performance in the show constantly draws your attention, whilst being deeply disturbing at the same time. As expected, Hannibal can be extremely gory at times, displaying constant ‘viewer discretion advised’ messages across the screen. Some of the murder investigations are incredibly bizarre and rather extraordinary, definitely a little different to most crime shows on TV at the moment. However, perhaps the most stomach churning scenes are those with implied gore and subtlety. Dr. Lecter is fond of the culinary art and hosts a dinner date at least once during each episode, the food preparation scenes for which are often rather unsettling, even if human flesh isn’t on the menu.
The finale of Hannibal’s first season involved a dramatic and interesting turn of events, which are difficult to express without any spoilers. To top it off, last week’s opener was rather spectacular and indicates some excellent episodes to come in the thirteen episode season. Airing on NBC in the US every Friday, Hannibal really is worth your time. If you’re looking for something a little different to zombies and dragons this Spring, I urge you to pick up the first season and give Mads and the gang a watch. Hannibal gets you hooked from the offset and is a fresh contender in the TV battle.