Hannibal (Pilot)

Though this post is mostly about the pilot, there are also arguments from the second episode. Though, no need to be frightened, I kept it spoiler free!

This post comes with a slight delay (the pilot actually aired last week) since I wasn’t quite sure what kind of thoughts I had about Hannibal. One could say, after seeing two episodes, that I’m still indifferent with it. There’s something off about the show and yet, I can’t really put my finger on it but I will try to do my best when I explain my point of view and the still indifferent opinion about Hannibal.

I guess it is easier to start off with the negatives because once you get all that bad stuff out of the way, the good stuff suddenly appears. Well, when it comes to Hannibal the bad is the overall concept – and as I say this, I know that this is definitely my own personal opinion against this show. I absolutely love-love-love The Silence of the Lambs and the Red Dragon which means I’m a big fan of Hannibal. Now, the TV world is picking up a habit of making great things into shows (Bates Motel for example) which is a nice idea on paper but on screen it doesn’t seem to work. Then again, I can’t say that I’m an expert as Bates Motel just got renewed for a second season – I guess people aren’t as picky as I am. That being said, I’m quite certain Hannibal will also survive, as it doesn’t bother me as much but then again, I don’t think I will be tuning in for it much longer.

Personally, I don’t like the TV Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) – I think the actor doesn’t suit the role nor does the role exude that cannibalistic aura that I began to love about Anthony Hopkins’s character in the movies. In a way I know it’s unfair to compare the two but I have another example that’s much better suited. I find Hannibal Lecter much less serial-killer-esque than The Following’s Joe Carroll – in a criminal TV-show mash-up, I’d go for The Following every time! Even with the leading good-guys, Kevin Bacon wins over Hugh Dancy who plays Will Graham aka Edward Norton from Red Dragon. I think it’s to do with the fact that I already know the characters from the movies so Mikkelsen and Dancy have a certain criteria to uphold and for me, they simply don’t. I’m not saying it won’t work for everybody, I’m sure people will find it interesting and compelling but as I already watch so many shows, I’m now forced to dismiss the ones that fall short.

Another issue I have with Hannibal is the fact that the pilot was a bit dull. Not to sound all critical, I’ll add that the second episode was an improvement but I don’t know if I have the patience to keep watching for the hopes it will get thrilling. Yet, what keeps me intact to Hannibal for some odd reason are the cases, episode two featured an amazing mushroom garden of dead bodies (or should I say half-live) that looked awesome visually. Story wise, meh, visually – yes! And that’s my problem with Hannibal, I think it looks visually very well made but the story never lives up to that. Another blogger, who hasn’t even seen the show, pointed the following out and I must agree: the issue might be that Hannibal runs on the wrong network – NBC is not (allowed to be) as bold as HBO or Showtime which means it will never be as amazing as I would want it to be. And for Hannibal Lecter, most likely my favorite serial-killer, being on NBC doesn’t feel right.

What NBC can’t give to the story, NBC gives to the visuals. As I’ve already mentioned couple of times, the whole show looks A-class. There are great editing and CGI stuff going on, as well as the quality of the mushroom-bodies – I wanted to see them up close and dirty but I sadly, I never could. Which is a disappointment to say at least, me, who is a fan of criminals and serial killers (yes, I’m weird like that), seeing their handy work is thrilling but not when I never really see it. Sure, the mushroom-bodies were on screen multiple times but not really – I needed to be disgusted by those bodies up close and personal because that’s the whole point! Plus, now as I’ve started watching horror movies, I’m pretty much certain I can uphold a lot of disgusting things until I cringe and Hannibal sounds like something I should cringe about in a good way.

Eventually, as I’m still indifferent (I think deep down I want it to work), Hannibal stays in the middle of being great and being mediocre for the time being. Since it can most likely never be really great, as I expressed my dislike towards the choice of actor and the lack of gore, I think for me it will soon fall to the disappointing place of I can’t watch this show anymore. Which is sad because the story of Hannibal really allows a lot and yet, it has to be done in a manner of creepy-degree that I think NBC’s Hannibal can’t really obtain. Its Hannibal is not creepy at all, he might be tall and rough looking, but not creepy. I’m a bit pleased that the show kind of kept the European background with Hannibal by hiring a Danish actor, yet, it’s not enough to create the essence that his character needs to possess for the likes of me – appealing yet menacing, friendly and addictive-creepy.

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11 thoughts on “Hannibal (Pilot)”

  1. I know in the books Lector is European but thanks to Brian Cox I always think of him as British. Mikkelsen is a good choice though. I’m not convinced by the guy playing Will, but then I’m comparing him to how great William Peterson was in the role. This show feels about fifteen years too late, take away the characters and you really just have another murder of the week show.

    1. I’m not feeling Mikkelsen as much but I guess it’s just a matter of subjective opinions. And indeed, it’s just a murder show if you take away the context of the characters and it might be okay then. I just don’t like the context it’s in.

  2. Great review. I really enjoyed the first two episodes. As in, I thought it would be a lot worse so it caught me off guard. Plus I really like Dancy and Fishburne, I don’t really have a problem with Mads, kind of enjoying him.

  3. I haven’t seen it yet, but yeah the network thing is a huge mistake. Even when the show can depict gory stuff it’s not always working – The Following has such uninspired gore. But NBC? Huge red flag. And Dancy seems like a miscast to me.

    1. The Following isn’t much about gore to me, I think it’s more the psychological thing but then again, I would do a lot of things differently if I were to be writing The Following.
      I fancy Dancy.. but I mean, he looks good and the beard is just.. rawr. But other than that, no strong feelings towards him.

  4. I’ve watched both episodes (more or less – fell asleep quite a bit watching the second episode) and I’m not in love. There’s just no one like Anthony Hopkins. Mads Mikkelsen playing Hannibal is just…Mads Mikkelsen playing Hannibal. There’s no comparison to Hopkins’ version of the character. Which is great if that’s what they’re going for but I don’t really get the sense that Mikkelsen’s take on the character has anything going for it. I like the actor but not the character. Hugh Dancy is kind of meh. It is a fantastic looking show. If the acting and story can take off it might have a chance.

  5. Hannibal is my favorite new show on TV; it seems to offer a lot of suspense and action in every episode. I work at DISH with plenty of friends who are just as hooked as I am, so we usually gossip about it during breaks. I want to be able to watch the first season all over again once it’s done, so I’m saving it all to my DISH Hopper. The hard drive on the Hopper can store up to 2,000 hours of TV and entertainment, so the first season of Hannibal won’t prevent me from saving anything else on my lineup.

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