Review of "Hannibal" on NBC From The TV MegaSite

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"Hannibal" review by Sundi
Thursdays 10/9c on NBC

Scary is in…. more succinctly it seems like creepy, suspenseful, and provocative are in. Such is the case with NBC’s new hit drama Hannibal. Three episodes have aired thus far, and I am officially obsessed with the dreamy cinematography, the bizarre crimes and the thinly veiled malevolence each character seems to radiate. There are few shows on television that offer this type of deep emotional conflict with such subtly and grace and Hannibal handles these murky waters with deft and grace.

Set as prequel to the 1991 film Silence of the Lambs, the show features a youngish Dr. Lecter played by the deliciously sinister, Danish actor, Mads Mikkelson, known as the Bond villain Le Chiffre from Casino Royale.  While Dr. Lecter is the title character, he is set opposite Hugh Dancy playing the FBI profiler, Will Graham. Will solves crimes and produces profiles using his ability to see into the murderer’s behavior, and ironically suffers from a myriad of psychological problems. He is paired with Dr. Lecter, who perceives them to be of like-minds and a complex psychological relationship begins to develop.

The pilot introduces us to the title characters, including the gruff FBI boss, Jack Crawford, played by Laurence Fishburne and offers exposition to each character through the hunt for the Minnesota Shrike, a serial killer targeting young college women.  Visually stunning, the audience is allowed access to both Will and Dr. Lecter through cleverly filmed cut-aways featuring both at their daily lives. Will’s character is revealed, over the course of the first three episodes, as a complicated mess with demons he struggles to face down, while Dr. Lecter is chillingly portrayed as a collected master-mind and the audience is left wondering if we should fear him or love him.

Taking cues from other suspenseful dramas like AMC’s The Killing, Hannibal spares no psychological expense when it comes to engaging a cynical, desensitized viewer. Episode two, “Amuse-Bouche” shocks the senses with one of the most curious crimes this reviewer has ever seen. Burying live bodies, keeping them alive with IV fluids, and using their flesh as food for a mushroom bed, the murderer in this episode is meant to shed light on Will and Dr. Lecter’s relationship. As a result, we see it deepen as they share feelings about the shared experience of capturing this murderer and killing the Minnesota Shrike.

Episode three, “Potage” reveals Dr. Lecter’s true nature as he forms an alliance with the Minnesota Shrike’s daughter. Aside from his cool nature, and his detached likeability, thus far, this is the most we have seen from Lecter and this episode cements his place as a menacing presence in the show.  Even as he alludes to what the audience already knows about his cannibalistic habits, he emerges as one of the most prized assets, providing a foil to Will’s unnerved mad-savant routine. This show has the potential to do great things inside the genre, and I will be watching every second.

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Page updated 4/23/13

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