By London McGuire
It’s been a while since NBC has had a hit show, and while the ratings might say otherwise, the first season of Hannibal really made an impact. While it’s debatable just what kind of impact that is, the fact remains that Hannibal, if nothing else, was bold and ambitious as far as police procedurals go. Below are five things you should probably know before watching this show.
1. It’s not for the faint of heart
Hannibal probably isn’t what many would consider a family-friendly show. For some people sensitive to the subject matter, it’s not even an adult-friendly show. If you’re going to watch a show about a brilliant profiler’s descent into madness while chasing down some of the most twisted tormentors humanity can produce, you need to be ready for it. However, for all the flak NBC got for the show, the gore is never what you would call senseless and it never lasts for long. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it any less visceral.
2. The acting is absolutely incredible (for TV)
You have two powerhouse actors – Dancy and Mikkelsen – playing two infamous, literary legends – Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter. Mikkelsen brings his own take on the legendary cannibal, and somehow manages to do justice to the idea of the character without competing with or depreciating Hopkins’s renowned performance. And then you have Dancy. You rarely find a protagonist with so much raw (and believable) emotion; it’s both actors that really make the show what it is – unforgettable.
3. It’s not just senseless violence
Hannibal has faced some challenges in its broadcast history from having one episode banned to an entire channel in Salt Lake City outright boycotting it. The thing to remember about Hannibal is that it really isn’t about the glorification of gore or senseless violence – it’s about facing those who would create it. It challenges the viewer and uses violence as a tool to tell a story about anything from the dark complexity of being human to the notion that some humans truly are capable of the unspeakable.
4. You might really like Hannibal (the character)
Honestly, Hannibal the cannibal would be a pretty great guy if it weren’t for that ONE thing – that ONE flaw. It’s true, though. Despite his interests and his “hobby,” Hannibal demonstrates time and time again to be a person with a tremendous capacity for compassion and understanding. As a therapist, it’s his job to empathize and listen, but Hannibal takes it to such a sinister level – to a point where it’s almost disarming. That’s what’s both intriguing and altogether dangerous about his character.
5. It’s not over yet…
NBC seems to have a hard time with TV programming and longevity which is why, despite all the potential, fans of the series were really worried after the finale Savoureux drew to a close. Thankfully, it has been renewed and that’s pretty great…especially when you consider how it all ended. We don’t want to drift too much into spoiler territory but fans of the original Red Dragon and the Will x Hannibal dynamic were pretty shocked not just at the cliffhanger, but the seeming role reversal, as well.
Hannibal is not an easy program to watch and it’s not just because of the gore. It’s a challenging take on dark subject matter. But if you can see past the surface, you’ll find a thought-provoking thriller and, arguably, one of the best shows to hit NBC in quite a while. Well, aside from The Office, but there’s no comparison there whatsoever.