Drama television shows on cable are such a drag. These days it seems like you have three options the NCIS franchise, the Law and Order franchise or the CSI franchise. There isn’t much wiggle room between these dopey procedures. I’m all for reality shows (as you can see from Dancing with the Stars and Survivor recaps) but basic cable has the ability to create some really great shows.
As opposed to channels like FX, USA or even TNT, basic cable has a lot more money to spend on television shows. The production values are sometimes much and sometimes you can even recognize the actors starring in the shows.
One show that I have stumbled upon which has been a really pleasant surprise is Hannibal, airing on NBC at 9 pm Eastern time. And as viewership has slacked I’ve decided to charge and tell you “Five Reasons You Should Be Watching Hannibal.”
1. It turns the crime procedure completely on it’s head.
Most crime procedurals have a simple formula. The viewer enters a crime scene, something is witty said by the main character. Cue theme song. The next twenty minutes has the characters trying to find their suspect. They find a suspect, their initial hunch is incorrect and the real criminal ends up being someone they had met in the first five minutes of the episode. The suspect is found guilty and goes to jail. Happy times. Cue credits. This would be how Hannibal would progress if it was a normal procedural, but it isn’t. It isn’t like Criminal Minds. Instead, it deals a lot with the mythology of the “Hannibal” as we know him today. It deals a lot more with the personal demons Will Graham grapples with, which turns to the second reason why you should be watching Hannibal.
2. It gives a lot of fun backstory on the Hannibal story.
Even though Red Dragon, the book by Thomas Harris gives a lot of insight into the history the dynamic between Will Graham and Dr. Hannibal Lecter. In this story, Will Graham plays a forensic profiler who teaches at an FBI training facility in Virginia. He gets called into the field to investigate a murder. After the murder proves to be psychologically damaging on Graham, Graham is only allowed to investigate more murderers if he “partners” with Hannibal. It’s an awesome partnership. You don’t know if Graham thinks Hannibal is a murderer or if he just thinks Hannibal is strange. The season so far is Lecter staying one step ahead of Graham. Graham thinks he is go crazy, but he is completely on track with his suspicions.
3. The character of Hannibal Lecter is given new life.
You would think that playing Hannibal Lecter would be really difficult to emulate because Anthony Hopkins has done such a great job, but Mads Mikkelsen does a tremendous job in breathing new life into the role. You might know Mikkelsen from the Casino Royale James Bond film. In Hannibal, Mikkelsen is subtle and understated as Hannibal that the viewer has no idea what he’s going to next. It’s actually really scary. Watching Mikkelsen play a cat and mouse game with Graham (played by Hugh Dancy) is really fun. Graham is under the impression that Lecter is his psychologist but he’s really fucking with him the whole time.
4. The supporting cast is excellent.
Even though Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen are great in their main roles, the supporting cast of Hannibal does a great job in creating the world these characters are part of it. Laurence Fishburne plays Jay Crawford Graham’s superior. Graham and Crawford has a rough relationship. Graham thinks that he should be given free reign to do what he pleases, while Crawford insists Graham see Lecter for psychological help. Fishburne’s wife is even in the show. Their marriage is put under trials when she finds out she has cancer. Lara Jean Chorostecki plays “Freddie,” a blogger who gives Graham a hard time when writing stories about his psychological issues.
5. Its damn scary.
It’s pretty crazy that a show aired on primetime on a basic cable channel could be this scary. There is tons of blood. The last episode’s serial killer was called ‘The Angelmaker,” and would remove his victim’s back skin and position them like wings. Real weird. There is so much blood and gore. The week of the Boston Marathon bombing happened NBC had to pull the Hannibal episode because it featured a serial killer using children to kill other children. Also I learned that today, that the NBC in Utah has pulled the show entirely because of how violent.
If these points might appeal to you and you enjoy scary, creepy, different procedurals, please watch this show tonight. It’s on NBC at 9 pm Eastern time.