NBC’s new ‘Hannibal’ has a look and a feel worth devouring
BY LORI RACKL TV Criticfirstname.lastname@example.org April 2, 2013 7:57PM
HANNIBAL -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: (l-r) Hugh Dancy as Special Agent Will Graham, Laurence Fishburne as Agent Jack Crawford, Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter -- (Photo by: Robert Trachtenberg/NBC)
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Updated: May 4, 2013 6:29AM
Pour yourself a glass of Chianti and buckle up for a ride on the cray-cray roller coaster.
NBC’s new serial-killer thriller “Hannibal” is a haunting, riveting — and yes, grisly — psychological drama that has the look and feel of a show audiences have become more accustomed to seeing on cable than broadcast.
This contemporary, reimagined take on characters from Thomas Harris’ novel “Red Dragon” comes from Bryan Fuller, whose previous creations include the quirky, dark shows “Pushing Daisies,” “Wonderfalls” and “Dead Like Me.”
Fuller’s latest project probes the budding relationship between talented and tortured criminal profiler Will Graham and diabolical Dr. Hannibal Lecter — pre-“Silence of the Lambs” and pre-imprisonment— whose bloodthirsty ways remain a secret, except to viewers. The two foils are brought together in the pilot by FBI agent Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne, “The Matrix”) as he tries to crack a case involving missing college girls.
British actor Hugh Dancy (“The Big C”) stars as Graham, a special investigator whose “horse is hitched to a post that is closer to Asperger’s and autistics than narcissists and sociopaths.” Graham’s uncanny ability to adopt the mindset of a killer makes him a valuable tool for the FBI. It also makes him a hot mess.
Calm, collected Lecter — a psychiatrist played with admirable restraint by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen (“Casino Royale”) — is enlisted to help crime-fighters Graham and Crawford, often over one of Lecter’s exquisitely prepared home-cooked meals. (Quite the epicure, Lecter would be a lock in a “Top Chef” quickfire challenge using human organs.) “Hannibal” boasts famed Spanish chef Jose Andres as the show’s food consultant.
Later “Hannibal” episodes feature a seductive female crime blogger who seems like she mistakenly wandered over from a CW set. But even her somewhat annoying presence isn’t enough to shake the sturdy foundation built around an intriguing triumvirate of male characters. (Gillian Anderson of “The X-Files” reportedly will come on board later in the 13-episode season as Lecter’s shrink.)
Bloody and twisted, “Hannibal” may be one of the goriest programs on broadcast television. It’s also extremely well executed, from the artistic visuals and haunting soundtrack to the stellar cast and sharp scripts peppered with the perfect amount of gallows humor. Deliciously disturbing, “Hannibal” is bound to leave viewers hungry for more.