With so many quality television series on air it is always hard to keep track of them all. The ones that you fall in love hold a special place in your heart, and you wish to convince your friends and family to see it the way you see it. Here’s my attempt to convince you of one show’s greatness: the TV series Hannibal. While there was some uncertainty about the series continuing on for another season (it has since been renewed), those who are willing enough to embrace the show are transfixed by what show-runner Bryan Fuller describes as a “psychological thriller.” Now that the “second course” has been served, I will delve into the mythos of the show and why I believe it is worth your time.
As many may know, Hannibal follows the beginnings of iconic characters Hannibal Lecter, Will Graham, Freddie Lounds, and Alana Bloom. The writers for the show make no obligations to adhere to canon material, yet they draw from the story in ingenious ways that enhance the show’s quality. The series begins with a sort of “prequel” to the original story. In the books and movies, Hannibal Lecter has been behind bars for some time, having been caught by Will Graham himself. As the series opens, we find a free Hannibal.. a gourmand, lover of the fine arts, and renowned psychiatrist. And, for the most part, this is the only side we see of Dr. Lecter. A refined, sophisticated gentleman with, at times, outlandish suits.
This is where the intrigue of the show first kicks in….
The audience knows who he is, and what he does. We know what he is capable of, and what becomes of him. The fun lies in the old-fashioned “waiting game” that Bryan Fuller and his team have created. We are waiting for the ticking time-bomb that is Hannibal Lecter to go off, and when it does… It doesn’t end well for anyone involved.
Now, the idea of watching a TV show based about a cannibalistic character may turn many viewers off. After all, Hannibal is a horror story at its roots. However, underneath that basic premise lies a whole other side to the tale. The show isn’t merely blood and gore, not at all. In fact, I would say that the horrific aspects of the show are subtly overshadowed by the beauty and cinematography that Fuller’s team has brought to life. The cases that Will Graham and Jack Crawford face are all too real and macabre, but the presentation of the dead are unique and tailored to each victim.
These aren’t your basic murders. Just like Hannibal himself, the killers in this series are larger-than-life and hard to catch. This is what leads Will Graham to be involved in field work again, after having retired to the safety of a classroom. And what exactly does Will Graham seek safety from? His own mind. Graham has an innate ability to completely empathize with serial killers, learning their motives and means through an inner reliving of the murder. Due to his complete immersion into the minds of killers, his friend Jack Crawford enlists Hannibal Lecter to watch over Graham and help him maintain his own identity. Over time, Graham and Lecter’s relationship takes some interesting twists and turns down a dark and dangerous path.
Aside from the overall story, Hannibal intuitively raises serious questions about humanity and our philosophy. On her blog, Girl Meets Sherlock, Amy Thomas describes Hannibal as “one of the most life-affirming shows on television.” That is a really peculiar comment to make about a show that is primarily about death, but that is exactly why it is so true. Other television series – and movies, for that matter – pass over death and treat it as something unimportant. However, Hannibal examines death in an opposite manner to the norm. Each death is weighed heavily, and Dr. Lecter himself is the “God” in this matter. He determines who lives, and who dies. This show also explores a popular premise: under certain circumstances, what becomes of our values and morals? Will Graham is constantly confronted with this problem, and Hannibal continually pushes this boundary for Graham and the audience.
As mentioned before, the writers of the show don’t always stick to the canon material. That isn’t to say that the changes in the show are un-welcomed. Though they have modified certain aspects of the show for their purposes, the team never forgets to add little “nods” from the books that true fans will appreciate. Each tweak to the original storyline only enhances the world that Fuller is trying to create, and the result is nothing short of jaw-dropping. Many moments throughout the series will leave you speechless, and the story will continue in season 3 (slated for 2015).
When I say that this show is redefining a genre.. I mean it. Horror doesn’t have to be portrayed as a one-note show, and Fuller has created a whole other aspect to the genre. Without a doubt, the TV series Hannibal has proven to be one of the best broadcast shows of our time. To me, it may only be rivaled by other greats such as Breaking Bad, or Game of Thrones. There’s drama, intrigue, hair-raising fights, and bizarre story lines.
Don’t miss out on this wonderfully-crafted show, check it out for yourself! Leave some comments on the show (or even the original) below!