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.