Hannibal: Season 1 [Blu-ray] [Import]
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The plot centers around a FBI profiler named Will Graham (Hugh Dancy). Graham can literally get into the mindset of a killer, and the show stages vivid and brutal recreations as Graham uses these skills to analyze crime scenes. This innate ability to think like a monster has taken an emotional toll on Graham, and he is an absolute mess. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) is a brilliant psychiatrist who aids in an early investigation but is drawn to the darkness within Graham. Through the course of the episodes, Graham and Lecter become closer. Each seems to get something very important from the relationship. Are they doctor and patient? Friends? Or is Lecter playing a sick game of cat and mouse? It's a fascinating dynamic, one of the strongest components of this show. While some of the episodes are self-contained, more and more is revealed about Lecter as the season progresses. Anyone who is familiar with "Red Dragon" might know where this is ultimately heading, but it's the journey that is more important than the destination in this case.
Dancy is pretty terrific as the scarred and haunted hero. And Mikkelsen is the master of understatement. He underplays every scene to perfection, and this detachment gives "Hannibal" a chilling center. Other familiar characters from the books (and movies) are present like reporter Freddie Lounds (a female in this version), prison warden Frederick Chilton, and FBI Director Jack Crawford (played by Lawrence Fishburne). Gillian Anderson also pops up for a few episodes as Lecter's therapist and they play off each other wonderfully. "Hannibal" is generally well cast, although some of the smaller recurring roles have yet to be developed in any kind of meaningful way. But as long as Graham and Lecter remain in the center, you aren't really paying much attention to the peripheral cast.
The plotting in these 13 episodes is a mix of self-contained stories with several significant on-going threads. Not every individual case is a compelling as the central story strand, but that's to be expected. I always wonder why everyone in the world isn't dead with the number of serial killers that populate popular entertainment! What really distinguishes "Hannibal," though, is its tone. It is not played as an action thriller. Oftentimes, it is quiet and contemplative relying on character interactions to up the unease factor. It is smart, literate, and takes its time. That's what was so unexpected for me, and why the show might not be perfectly suited for someone looking for mindless entertainment. It requires and rewards patience. The actors are great, the staging is unsettling, and the effects are solid. This was put together by a team (led by Bryan Fuller from Heroes and Pushing Daisies) who wanted to honor the Lecter legacy and be true to it. One of the more unusual network offerings of the last year, and one of the best. KGHarris, 5/13.
This is strictly adult TV.
Intelligent, well developed stories and characters. It is a series that knows what it is and exceeds audience members expectations. If you like shiny crappy vampire TV this also may not be for you, because the characters aren't bed hopping blood suckers. Hannibal's characters are actually interesting and they actually have depth.
I can't even wait for Season 2. If you remotely liked Seven, Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, Shutter Island, or any psychological thrillers, be prepared to see a wonderful slow-burn psychological thriller, gorgeous, dark, and something that will stick with you after the finale. Get this on BLU-RAY!
Eventually we will view shows like this one not to be just a show, but rather a series of movies, each telling a story, where at one point a 2 hour movie will not be enough anymore to satisfy our palate for something as savory as this series.
This will become a classic.