Worth checking out.

Worth checking out.

Dinner is served.

Dinner is served.

A show with potential.

A show with potential.

Hannibal Lecter is no stranger to the big screen, where he’s most often been portrayed by the great Anthony Hopkins. On TV, however, we’ve seen the cannibalistic doctor much less often, but that has been changing as of late. Running since 2013, NBC’s Hannibal adapts, but also expands the universe of the books by Thomas Harris for a screen that’s slightly smaller than the one we’ve seen Dr. Lecter on already.

Despite being fairly new, the following the show’s garnered is a big and passionate one. As for me, I don’t know if I can go as far as to praise it on the same level, but I will further elaborate my opinion after briefing you on the premise.

As of now, the show’s focusing on plot elements from the Red Dragon book, but I hope we’ll get to see the stories of Silence of The Lambs and Hannibal make it in here eventually. Our protagonist is Will Graham (played beautifully by Hugh Dancy), an extraordinary fella who has been hired by Special Agent Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) to investigate numerous murder scenes and utilize his unique ability to recreate them in his head by “thinking like a serial killer”. It’s kinda like that show Intelligence with Josh Holloway, only it makes slightly less sense.

Even if it’s driving him to stark raving madness, Will’s ability makes him interesting to those around him, particularly forensic psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter, played in this incarnation by the brilliant Mads Mikkelsen. He claims to be Will’s friend, but Lecter has different inents for the poor weak-minded chap than that. Would I be giving massive spoilers if I tell you his connection to most of the murders and, almost most importantly, what he does with the bodies? Hint: he makes gourmet meals out of them and feeds them to his dinner guests.

This is definitely a less hammy and more subtle and stoic Hannibal than we’re used to, but Mikkelsen manages to make him menacing in his own right and ominous in an effective way.

Hannibal in 'Hannibal'.

Hannibal in ‘Hannibal’.

Many of the murders depicted on the show are practically art projects. Hannibal as a franchise has always included some pretty dang creative and bizarre serial killers, but the TV series ups the strangeness significantly by adding several surrealistic moments, often related to Will Graham’s withering sanity. One of my favorite elements is the ominous reindeer  he keeps seeing that sometimes appears in the form of a faun-like humanoid. I am for some reason reminded of Donnie Darko.

If there’s one thing that’s even prettier than all the creatively gruesome murders, it’s all that delicious-looking food. I’m not a cannibal myself, but if what’s put before me is nearly as gorgeous as some of the meals Hannibal puts together, I could eat just about anything. The man’s a terrific chef, you gotta give him that.

One of the reasons, though, that I won’t call it the modern masterpiece that many others seem to call it, is one that I’m sure I am pretty alone on: the tricks done to make the show feel darker, actually make it feel duller. There’s just something about the desaturated/greyish colors and often mumbled dialogue that makes it easy to become uninterested, even if there’s remedy in the form of strong acting and fairly intriguing storylines. Also, speaking of colors, I think you could improve on all the “food porn” even more if you boosted the colors a little bit. It doesn’t have to be so bleak and boring to look at just because you’re trying to create a dark mood. The style will work for other viewers, I’m speculating, and in a way it does for me too. It just looks and feels a bit dull sometimes, is all.

I will say that Hannibal is a show with potential and that the over-arching plot has got me hooked thus far. I’m rarely as interested in the “murder of the week” as I am in what’s going to happen between Will and Hannibal, but I have a feeling that everything will come together neatly at some point and that the show is going to age like the wine Dr. Lecter serves alongside the entrails of your dead family.

I’m giving this show a 3.5/5! The opening sequence can be seen below and additionally I hope you all had a nice Oscar night. I know I did.

3.5/5 whatever

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