Posted: May 7, 2015 in drama, horror, Mystery, thriller, TV show


My first encounter with Dr. Hannibal Lecter was in the movie Silent of the Lambs (1991). There he was played by phenomenal Anthony Hopkins with also phenomenal Jodie Foster in the role of Agent Clarice Starling. Both of them won an Oscar for these roles, and the movie won three, for the main categories: best movie, director and screenplay. This phenomenal success was the springboard for other movies about Hannibal based on Thomas Harris novels: Hannibal, Red Dragon and Hannibal Rising. In all the movies Hopkins played Hannibal, except the last one where Gaspar Uliel played the young Hannibal. Before this series, in 1986, was recorded Manhunter, based on the novel Red Dragon, where Brian Cox played Hannibal. Six years after the last film about Hannibal (Hannibal Rising) NBC network started a TV show I’m writing about today.

Creator of show is Bryan Fuller, screenwriter and producer known for the series Star Trek: Voyager and Heroes. The production company behind the show is Dino de Laurentiis Company, which produced the last three films about Hannibal. It can be said that due to the production company, which is not an American, and the fact that show was filmed in Canada, series has a certain freedom over content that might have been heavily censored if the producer was an American company. Anyway, the series started on April 04, 2013, and so far show has two seasons with 13 episodes each. The third season starts in June 2015.

Hannibal is psycho thriller/horror based on characters from the novel by Thomas Harris, Red Dragon. According to the creator of the show, Fuller, the series should have seven seasons through which, all books from Hannibal’s opus, will be cover. However, new information is that show will have 6 seasons, and it will not follow the books strictly but will make some kind of fusion of same, with certain changes related to the origin of Hannibal Lecter and others. This will, at least for me, be even more interesting, because we will get the new adventures of the famous doctor. But let’s go back to seasons behind us.


The story goes like this. The FBI is investigating the kidnapping of eight girls in Minnesota. Team leader Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) calls Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), exceptional profiler who teaches at the FBI Academy, to help him. Graham has the capability of deep empathy, i.e. the ability to identify with the murderer and therefore to make reconstruction in his mind, of the homicide that has occurred. However, this ability has another side. Every time he does something like that, Will loses a part of himself, which leads to certain physical and psychological consequences.

To hold Will on the right track, Crawford hired well-known psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), to work with them, primarily to look after Will. Will also has to go to therapy sessions with Doctor Hannibal. Beside them, team member is Dr. Alan Blum (Caroline Dhavernas), Will’s friend, and Hannibal Lecter classmate. The case received a sudden turn when Will realizes that besides the serial kidnapper and killer, called the Chesapeake Ripper, another one appeared who is also a copycat. The team managed to catch a copycat, but it will lead to serious consequences for them, primarily for Will. While the Chesapeake Ripper case remains open, the team solves other bizarre cases, and Will is sinking into darkness, and the darkness will open new horizons for him and lead him to terrifying discovery.


Show the audience the bomb under the table and let them sweat when it’s going to go boom.

This Hitchcock’s principle of uncertainty and tension, according to the creator of the show, was the guiding principle for the show which is just like that. We all know, at least the vast majority, that Hannibal is super intelligent psychopath, cannibal, devoid of any empathy and compassion to victims. However, even though we know all this, in show all that is pretty, say, masked, and it slowly reveals itself, leaving us to listen the ticking of the bomb and sweat before explosion.

As I have already said, Hannibal is psycho thriller/horror and one of the best ever in genre. All parts of the show from technical, to the cast are in the service of the genre, i.e. of the general atmosphere that will, during the entire duration, make you discomforted, disgusted, shocked, and disbelieved. It keeps you under tension and one thing is certain, you cannot watch it calmly reclining in a chair. This incredible atmosphere is the result of its perfectly crafted parts, and that is the main advantage of this show and guiding line of its success.


Great script brings us extremely interesting, intriguing and completely unpredictable story based on characters from the novel Red Dragon, but the writers have decided to make of that a genuine content and depart from the novel which is a big hit. The story is dark and bitter, with a lot of violence and disturbing scenes that are directly, without embellishment, served to us. Through the story we meet the main characters and to each of them is devoted a lot of attention, and because of that a story gained depth and quality. As we watch their interaction, we enter into the darkest parts of the human mind and find discoveries that we think that are not part of our human nature.

So at one point, we see that there is a limit, a line in the human mind, where humanity stops and the animal starts and reveals predatory nature of man. In this world, just as in nature, there is only a hunter and prey and their endless hunting game, but not all predators are the same as it is not their prey. Some are harsh, brutal and rely on speed and power, while others are knitting network and makes conspiracies, manipulate and lure prey to the end the game. Some do it because of the pure need for survival, some of the excitement that comes with taking of the prey’s life, and for some, few and special ones, the biggest excitement is the hunting and game itself where killing the prey is only ending of the game.

Also not every pray is the same. Some are weak and helpless and to them end comes quickly, but there are those who do not surrender so easily. The latter, when cornered, could become dangerous and render. There are those few, special, who know how to adapt and engage in the game of manipulation and intrigue in order to replace the role with hunter.

wendigo_by_shewolf294-d6s0yzx The visual impression of the show is impressive. The colors are strong and clear, and yet they give a dark tone as the story itself. Great attention is given to details, wardrobe and set design. A special part of the visual impression are exotic dishes that are prepared by Hannibal, famous for its refined taste for the exotic, and also for, so we can say, obsessive need of everything to be extremely clean, precise and compositionally perfectly in tune.

The landscapes and locations are perfect and that perfection is particularly reflected in the bizarre and extremely realistically made bodies of victims who often look like works of art, beautiful in its bizarre and perverse, like the minds of their composers. Music is in perfect harmony with the story. The gloomy and heavy, eerie and tense, it gets under the skin, creates discomfort and makes your heart beat faster and faster. Considering all of the above, you can clearly see the high quality production behind the show which makes it to stand out from the other shows, most notably from the shows of the same genre.

Perhaps the most memorable and the most important detail in the construction of the show’s atmosphere is the cast, which is quite remarkable. Hugh Dancy is great in performing Will Graham. He clearly displays Will’s character, a man with special skills that leave the horrifying consequences to his mind and body. With his every facial expression Dancy shows all the agony of his character, all these struggles with himself, empathy with victims and mental war that is raging between him and Hannibal. Hugh is the ideal choice, as he proved, and it is not surprising that he was the first actor casted for this series.

On the other hand, for the extremely demanding role of Dr. Hannibal was elected Mads Mikkelsen, well-known Danish actor we watched in so many great movies. Although he had a thankless role to replace Hopkins, in minds of the Hannibal Fans, he absolutely succeeded. Not only that he succeed, but he gave a whole new dimension to the character, something new and original. His view is somehow colder, more perfect, more dangerous and a lot more sophisticated than other display of Hannibal. Probably his Northern heritage has a lot of credit for that. When we look at Hannibal in the series, it is the same as to look at a machine, perfect in its existence, where all he did was extraordinary, minutely planned so that there is no room for error.


His moves are like watching a chess match, but in this match he played all moves before the match even started, and all the moves of the opponents were read without he even moved one. His look and outfit is the perfect disguise. He is well-known doctor, always perfectly dressed, the famous art lover and an exceptional cook who often organizes dinners with exotic dishes. Behind that mask lays a killer, a psychopath, a predator, a cannibal, heartless machine for hunting and killing, manipulator who skillfully handle people as figures in chess, forcing them, that is, leading them to do the most bizarre things, and they are completely convinced that all that was theirs idea. The only worthy opponent to the great masters of manipulation is Will Graham, but Graham is not only the opponent. He’s someone, something, closest to a person that Hanibal could think of as a friend. He is someone for whom Hannibal, in the most curious way, could feel something, somebody for whom he could, perhaps, think as an even one.


These two characters and two actors provide beautiful, bizarre, brutal and dangerous dance in hall of manipulation, love and hate that is rarely seen in any other show. It is the creator of the series who said that their relationship is a bizarre and complicated love story with everything one such can bring. Other actors are also excellent, particularly Laurence Fishburne as Jack Crawford and Carolina Davernas as Dr. Alan Blum. Beside them some well-known actors appears in the very good roles such as Gillian Anderson, Eddie Izzard, Michael Pitt, etc.

To conclude, all these parts form one of the most special atmospheres that you have seen in one TV show which is the biggest advantage of this exceptional achievement. In my opinion the second season was better than the first, although the quality of both is unquestionable. The finale of the second season is fantastic, intense and exciting, and it certainly left all of them who follow a show, breathless and eager in expectation of the third season. The ending is such that no one with certainty could tell which characters from the previous two seasons we will find in the third, and why, see for yourself.


One thing is certain, the series will not leave you indifferent, whether you’re a fan of the genre or not, and it will leave a unique feeling to everyone who will watch this.

Final verdict: 10/10



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