on March 28, 2014
The casting is on point, each actor-- including the extras-- excels at portraying their character in a realistic manner. Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal Lecter) vs. Hugh Dancy (Will Graham)? The most promising and exciting game of Cat and Mouse on TV I've ever seen. "Sherlock" is a wonderful show, but where Sherlock and Moriarty's genius is practically shouted about at the audience through a megaphone, the "Hannibal" audience will experience Lecter and Graham's. Hugh Dancy deserves an Emmy for his superior execution of Will's mentally tortured, neurotic, unconventional hero persona.
The cinematography is not flashy, it's elegant, beautiful, seamless. It's not "Saw" or "Hostel" mindless gore, it's a Francis Bacon oil painting, structurally wild, disturbing and intriguing to study. Discussable, not disgusting.
The writing isn't predictable, isn't corny, isn't unnecessarily drawn-out to see how many season's they can squeeze out of Thomas Harris's creation. The writing is respectable, clever, three-dimensional.
Watch this show.
on March 1, 2014
Season 2 begins with an exciting sort of preview of an eventual climactic battle then proceeds to pick right back up where season 1 left off.
If you're unfamiliar with "Hannibal" it's easily one of the more remarkable series currently around and has the distinction of being the only, domestically produced crime drama that rivals BBC's iconic "Sherlock" for sheer sophistication both intellectually and aesthetically. British actor Hugh Dancy (special agent Will Graham) possesses a presence and intensity that could easily carry a series on his own however the addition of Laurence Fishburne and Mads Mikkelsen dials up the dramatic intensity three-fold. I watch lots of scary movies (probably too much) and this little show from NBC is so adept at maintaining a prevailing atmosphere of dread combined with an added element of suspense, punctuated by moments of full-on lurid horror that it always leaves me a little shaken after each episode. Many have remarked on the exceptional cinematography displayed in Hannibal and it's this aspect, supplemented by a typically eerie music score and the fact the show is never lazy, careless or trite which all serve to set it apart.
This season represents some dynamic plot shifts as lines are being drawn while other relationships deepen, dark secrets are coming into the light and an even more insidious killer is on the loose all of which challenge viewers to stay on their toes. So if you're looking for mindless entertainment then find some reality shows but if you're in the mood for legitimately mature and psychologically provocative drama then check out Hannibal Seasons 1 and 2.
[Update 5/24/14 **marginal spoilers**] A brilliant theme of "A Tale of Two Will's" seems to have come to a spectacular conclusion, however according to the buzz, Hannibal will be renewed for a third season while NBC.com teasingly hovers "Returns Soon" over their episode links. One final thing I will add to my original review is that the shocking horror nature of this series is taken to disturbing new heights in episode 12 and I absolutely love the addition of beautiful Katharine Isabelle as a welcome female character able to keep pace with her male counterparts. Prepare for an edge-of-your-seat experience in the final episode as Dr. Lecter is completely let off the chain, culminating in a very cliffhanger ending all to the tune of Bach's sublime Goldberg Variations. Bon appétit. :o)
Having a conversation about Bryan Fuller's exquisite television adaptation of HANNIBAL, it became clear that this was one of the only occasions we could think of where two separate performers had taken the same character and created iconic performances of that character. Anthony Hopkins has the scenery-chewing in the films, and Mads Mikkelsen has his restrained, thoughful work on this show. And while the first season was gorgeous in its gore, amazing in its talent, superb in its writing, there was a restraint there because who could have thought that a show this mature and disturbing and intelligent would get a second season? Once they did, though, they must have thought there wouldn't be a third season, because they went for broke in this season, and it's breathtaking.
The season opens with its most bravura mission statement yet: A fight, possibly to the death, between Lecter and Jack Crawford (still amazingly portrayed by Laurence Fishburne), signifying that Jack finally believes Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) that Hannibal is indeed The Chesapeake Ripper and not Will. Then, at a climactic moment of that fight, the show cuts to several weeks prior to that, beginning a countdown that has viewers on the edges of their seats until that moment actually happens. It's a startling way to begin the season, but it gives the entire show for the rest of the season a sense of urgency for the audience as we asked ourselves, "When is this going to happen?" But so many interesting, provocative and terrible things are happening in the interim as this climax builds that soon we find ourselves forgetting about what's to come, and give ourselves over completely to what's happening in the moment.
If for some reason, any viewer thinks this idea seems like it wouldn't or shouldn't work, you'd be dead wrong.
This season takes the ideas that were already turned on their heads from Fuller's adaptation of Thomas Harris' "Red Dragon" and turns them even further, which, like the wildly popular THE WALKING DEAD, works to the show's benefit because it leaves all sorts of room to deviate from the book. The main themes of this season are becoming and design. There has always been a duality between Will and Hannibal since the very first episode, but this season takes the duality even further into what the characters are becoming, usually by the design of Hannibal and to a much lesser extent by Will. As Will pushes Alana Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas) farther away, he pushes her right into the arms of Hannibal. This is Hannibal's design. Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) is becoming more and more of an interloper, and may have to be dealt with. This is Will's design. Dr. Chilton (Raul Esparza) is finding himself more and more prideful of his dealings with Will and then with Hannibal. This is Hannibal's design. Newcomer characters of the brother/sister team of Mason and Margot Verger (Michael Pitt and Katherine Isabelle, respectively) both have designs of their own, but are ultimately part of Hannibal's design. The fate of Miriam Lass (Anna Chlumsky) is revealed and is VERY much of Hannibal's design. Hannibal's psychiatrist Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson) is trying to help Will. All of these characters are becoming something, even Jack and his wife Bella (Fishburne's real-life bride Gina Torres) are becoming products of Hannibal's design. Every time you think that Will might finally have the upper hand, Hannibal is always several steps ahead. And when we finally do get to the finale, every moment of shock is piled on top of another until you realize that you probably haven't breathed for several minutes.
Under the very imaginative eye of Fuller, and with directors like Peter Medak, Tim Hunter, Guillermo Navarro and David Slade, this is easily the most visually arresting show on television. The composition, the lighting, the depth of focus; all of the intangibles that go into making a television show are all acting in perfect concert. The murders are more grand and more beautiful (which honestly, they really are, if you ignore how horrific they are). The scale of the show has grown, but the majority of all the scenes are either at FBI headquarters, Hannibal's home or office, Will's home and the Psychiatric Hospital, giving the show a very intimate quality.
However good the performances by the supporting cast might be, and they're all pretty damn stunning, the show lives and dies with Mikkelsen and Dancy, who have become so adept at their verbal chess game and seem so comfortable with each other that their relationship seems totally organic, which is something most shows aren't capable of doing. For me, the real tragedy in their relationship is that Hannibal really does care about Will. He wants Will to choose to be his friend. There's an innate sadness within Hannibal that Mikkelsen is able to flesh out and for the first time in this character's history, he's not just likable; he's sympathetic, and that's a huge testament to their relationship in the show.
This show really is a niche show, but it has been growing steadily in popularity because of how amazing the show is, signifying yet again that with shows like HANNIBAL, BREAKING BAD, TRUE DETECTIVE, THE AMERICANS, GAME OF THRONES, LOUIE, JUSTIFIED, SHERLOCK, MASTERS OF SEX, HOMELAND and ORPHAN BLACK, we are living once again in a new television renaissance. And HANNIBAL is easily near the top of the best shows currently of this age.
on March 9, 2014
After the way that season one ended, I was fairly convinced that it would be impossible to re-create the slow-burn, sinister feel of the show, but they've managed to not only do it, but make it better.
The thing that makes this series so interesting are the people involved. All are extremely fascinating, vibrant characters. Extremely well acted and surprisingly serious for a television show.
Unless you have an aversion to gore, or are one of those people that needs sex in a show to enjoy it, you're going to love this flick.
on March 29, 2014
Dark, Hitchcockian, and beautifully perverse. These are tormented men with serious issues in their lives. Love ,death food and life is fought here on all terms. It's all about the men: Will ,Jack,Hannibal& ,Dr Chilton. The women are secondary but part of the psyche of each man, morals & grounding. I love this show. It's deep, for the true thinker. This show is physically a work of art. Superb performances from all. Best show on tv period. I love this more than mad me.I know this will end. We all know the ending but oh what a trip to get there! This is the best film has to offer!
Yes! I've been waiting for this DVD release since the last episode aired, but I couldn't find any information about it all summer. And now it's on its way! According to Entertainment Weekly, it has a full gag reel (ironic term, considering), a documentary, deleted scenes, and episode commentaries. The Season 1 set was fantastic, and with Season 2 offering the same wealth of special features, I know I'm going to be binge-watching as soon as I get my hands on this.
This is a show I really can't get enough of. I wish the seasons were 20+ episodes instead of just thirteen, but I guess the quality might suffer with more quantity, so I'll find a way to be content. It isn't that difficult with a show this unique and magnificent. More than anything, the acting keeps me coming back to this show. On the small screen, it's unusual to have as many lead actors who are as superb as what Hannibal boasts. It's a strikingly cinematic show for TV, especially a major network. Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, Laurence Fishburne, and Caroline Dhavernas (Alana Bloom) are all fascinating, giving as much to their characters and this show as anything you're going to find on TV. Of course, Fishburne has had a prolific film career, but "Hannibal" is some of his best work. It's hard to believe a major network like NBC broadcasts such a dark, disturbing, and amazing show.
In Season 2, the show continues its propensity for truly shocking plot twists and deliberate viewer manipulation. It often convinces you that you know what's going on, only to have your understanding violently dashed before your eyes. So, add top-notch writing to the excellent acting. Top off this gourmet offering with the consistently stunning visuals, and you have a masterpiece of a show. No other TV show matches Hannibal's ability to make the sick and disturbing look elegant and beautiful. It makes you feel like being submerged in Hannibal Lecter's warped emotions and worldview, finding an artistic appeal in death.
After the unpredictable turn of events throughout this season, it's pointless to speculate on where the show will go in Season 3, but it at least seems to be wading deeper into the "Red Dragon" novel, and setting up future adaptations of the other books in the series. I'll be anxiously awaiting the show's return in 2015. A+, five stars, two thumbs up, highly recommended, etc., etc.