Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Exactly What Kind of Crazy is Hannibal?

This week, we’re back to our regularly scheduled Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday program… so, exactly what kind of crazy is NBC’s Hannibal?

Crazy… fascinating.

Crazy… chilling.

Crazy… intense.

And perhaps a bit of just plain crazy…

One of the most fascinating and chilling characters in literary and cinematic history has come to TV—Dr. Hannibal Lecter.  Only this time, audiences will get to experience more of Special Agent Will Graham’s hunt for a serial killer and his collaboration with a top psychiatrist (Lecter) as he builds his criminal profile.

I personally loved the character of Will from the film adaptation of Thomas Harris’ novel, Red Dragon.  But then again, I adore Edward Norton.   When I truly enjoy a character, I can’t help but worry about the decision to re-do or continue the same character in a another adaptation with a different actor at the helm.  However, I’m happy to report that I do like Mr. Dancy’s portrayal of Will Graham just as much.

Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) has a very vivid imagination that allows him to feel pure empathy with anyone, including psychotic killers, which proves to be a very uncomfortable gift.  It’s this unique characterization that allows Will to see the scene of a crime as it was before the crime occurred.  He can put himself in the killer’s shoes, providing him insight into the how and the why the murders took place.  However, with this great imagination comes an intense fear.  Perhaps this is why Will lives alone… well, except for his multiple rescued dogs.

At the beginning of the series, Will doesn’t work in the field anymore; instead, he teaches other FBI agents at Quantico… that is until Agent Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) approaches him to join his Behavioral Science Unit to track down a serial murderer.

The case consists of eight missing college girls, assumed dead after the eighth victim’s body is discovered.  The investigation is a doozy, as we like to say here at The Ooo Factor, and after discovering the killer is not only draining his victims of blood, but that he is also eating their livers and lungs and not wasting any part of their bodies, Agent Crawford brings in another expert to help—enter Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen).   With the “good” doctor’s help, and I say good very loosely, thus the quotation marks, Agent Crawford hopes Will will be able to see the cannibal’s face and the FBI can arrest their killer.

Lecter takes a very keen interest in Will and his abilities, but when Will doesn’t reciprocate the interest, Dr. Lecter promises him that he will indeed, one day, find him just as interesting.  After all, Lecter believes himself to be the best, and he wants to see if Will, the best at what he does, can catch him.

And speaking of Lecter… considering the TV series couldn’t land Sir Anthony Hopkins to resume his iconic role (well, maybe they could, but they didn’t), Mr. Mikkelson will definitely do.  He’s got the creepiness down and he’s playing the demented sociopath quite well.

Hannibal is a serial crime drama at its best.  While one could probably follow after skipping an episode, the show will definitely make more sense if watched in order.  And since the series has chosen to pull its week five episode following the events in Boston last week, I guess we’ll all see what it’s like to miss an episode.

Oh, and since we’re on the topic of episodes… I love the episode titles: Aperitif (before dinner drink), Amuse-Bouche (a light hors d’oeuvre), and Potage (a thick soup).  Clearly, after three Hannibal dishes, we’re just getting started with our meal…

So, how does Hannibal rank?  I do like it; it’s dark; it doesn’t shy away from the gore; and the way the viewers get to experience the minds of both Will and Dr. Lecter via the cinematography and writing is creepy good.  Therefore, I award the new NBC series with the GTV rating.

I know not everyone will agree with me, like my mother who has already stopped watching because it’s just too dark for her, but I think Will and Dr. Lecter serve up the finest of meals… bone-in filet, cooked to perfection, with a twice-baked potato and grilled asparagus on the side… and let’s not forget to wash it down with a fine Cabernet.

Yes, Hannibal is five-star dining at its best.

What do you think?  Have you watched Hannibal?  I’d love to hear from you! 

Come back next week when I take on another new show… SyFy’s Defiance.

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss today’s review, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV):It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (NyQuil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…


15 Replies to “Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Exactly What Kind of Crazy is Hannibal?”

  1. I love this show! And I agree, the acting and the writing is superb. I suspect that those who have not read/watched Silence of the Lambs et al may miss some of the more nuanced and subtle “insider” stuff.

  2. I was introduced to Dr. Lecter by an English teacher who frequented the same bar I did. I read Thomas Harris and loved the movies. The TV show is going to be a hit because the violence can’t be graphic and thus must be implied. That’s scariest kind, what you can’t see.

    1. I agree with you, Tom… leaving so much of the violence up to the viewer’s imagination is the best part. I’ll admit, I was nervous when I heard they were adapting Harris’ stories for television. The books are great. The movies are great. I was afraid a TV series would kill it. But so far, I am impressed.

  3. I’m what you would call a “sensitive” viewer, so I’ll definitely be skipping the show. I don’t even like the commercials for it. But, everyone has different likes and dislikes, so I’m glad it’s a series that satisfies. 😉

    1. How do you watch Survivor contestants eat all sorts of nasty bugs and intestines?? Hannibal does leave a lot to the imagination, which I agree with Tom… that’s usually worse than showing all the gore.

  4. Tiffany, I love the show! It’s dark and it’s creepy but that’s what makes it so effective, not only in setting the tone, but of hooking its audience. I do have a question though–do you have a hard of a time as I do in understanding Dr. Lecter? For the life of me, I don’t understand half of what he says! 🙂

  5. I absolutely adore the show. So much that it has stirred me up enough to start writing my own thriller, something that got buried between “getting into a good college” and “becoming an engineer”. Thumbs up from me! 🙂

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