Hannibal (TV series)

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Hannibal
Hannibal Title Card.png
Genre
Based onCharacters from Red Dragon 
by Thomas Harris
Developed byBryan Fuller
Starring
Composer(s)Brian Reitzell
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes21 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Carol Dunn Trussell
  • Michael Wray
Location(s)Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Cinematography
Running time42 minutes
Production company(s)
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Broadcast
Original channelNBC
Original runApril 4, 2013 (2013-04-04) – present
External links
Official website
 
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Hannibal
Hannibal Title Card.png
Genre
Based onCharacters from Red Dragon 
by Thomas Harris
Developed byBryan Fuller
Starring
Composer(s)Brian Reitzell
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes21 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s)
  • Carol Dunn Trussell
  • Michael Wray
Location(s)Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Cinematography
Running time42 minutes
Production company(s)
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Broadcast
Original channelNBC
Original runApril 4, 2013 (2013-04-04) – present
External links
Official website

Hannibal is an American psychological thrillerhorror television series developed by Bryan Fuller for NBC. The series is based on characters and elements appearing in the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris and focuses on the budding relationship between FBI special investigator Will Graham and Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a forensic psychiatrist destined to become Graham's most cunning enemy. The series received a 13-episode order for its first season and, unlike most U.S. network shows, any future seasons will also feature 13 episodes.[1] David Slade executive produced and directed the first episode. The series premiered on NBC on April 4, 2013.[2] On May 30, 2013, Hannibal was renewed for a second season of 13 episodes,[3] which premiered on February 28, 2014.[4]

The series has received critical acclaim, with the performances of the lead actors and the visual style of the show being singled out by critics.[5][6][7]

Cast and characters[edit]

Main[edit]

Recurring[edit]

Setting and storylines[edit]

Criminal profiler Will Graham is tasked by FBI agent Jack Crawford, the head of Behavioral Sciences, to help investigate the disappearances of eight young girls across Minnesota. The investigation weighing heavily on Graham, Crawford decides to have him supervised by psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter, who, unbeknownst to them, is a prolific serial killer himself. Graham and Crawford's team investigate several subsequent murders, while also trying to catch the Chesapeake Ripper, a prolific serial killer that is actually hiding among them.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

NBC began developing a Hannibal series in 2011 and former head of drama Katie O'Connell brought in her long-time friend Bryan Fuller (who had previously served as a writer-producer on NBC's Heroes) to write a pilot script in November. NBC gave the series a financial commitment before Fuller had completed his script.[11] On February 14, 2012, NBC bypassed the pilot stage of development by giving the series a 13-episode first season based solely on the strength of Fuller's script.[12] The series went into production quickly thereafter.

Promotional poster for the first season featuring Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen).

30 Days of Night director David Slade, who had previously directed the pilot for NBC's Awake, directed the first episode and serves as an executive producer.[13] José Andrés has been brought onto the project as a special "culinary cannibal consultant" and will advise the crew on proper procedure for preparing human flesh for consumption.[14]

Bryan Fuller discussed the limited episode order and the continuing story arc he envisions for the series. "Doing a cable model on network television gives us the opportunity not to dally in our storytelling because we have a lot of real estate to cover". Speaking specifically about the Hannibal Lecter character, Fuller said, "There is a cheery disposition to our Hannibal. He's not being telegraphed as a villain. If the audience didn't know who he was, they wouldn't see him coming. What we have is Alfred Hitchcock's principle of suspense—show the audience the bomb under the table and let them sweat when it's going to go boom". He went on to call the relationship between Graham and Lecter as "really a love story", saying "As Hannibal has said [to Graham] in a couple of the movies, 'You're a lot more like me than you realize'. We'll get to the bottom of exactly what that means over the course of the first two seasons".[1]

Fuller plans for the show to run for seven seasons: the first three consisting of original material, the fourth covering Red Dragon, the fifth The Silence of the Lambs, the sixth Hannibal, and the seventh an original storyline resolving Hannibal's ending.[15] He wants to include other characters from the book series (such as Jame Gumb and Clarice Starling) provided that he can get the rights to them from MGM.[16] Franklin Froideveaux and Tobias Budge were created because Fuller could not secure the rights to The Silence of the Lambs characters Benjamin Raspail and Jame Gumb.[17] Fuller has also stated that even though they tried to get the rights to Barney Matthews, an orderly at the Baltimore State Hospital, they were denied usage rights. A character based on Barney will appear in the second season.[18]

Promotional poster for the second season featuring Will Graham (Hugh Dancy).

Regarding the series' influences, Fuller stated: "When I sat down to the script, I was very consciously saying, 'What would David Lynch do with a Hannibal Lecter character? What sort of strange, unexpected places would he take this world?' I'm a great admirer of his work and his aesthetic and his meticulous sound design. Those were all components that I felt very strongly needed to be part of our Hannibal Lecter story. Between Lynch and Kubrick, there's a lot of inspiration."[19]

Casting[edit]

British actor Hugh Dancy was the first actor to be cast, taking on the lead role of FBI criminal profiler Will Graham, who seeks help from Lecter in profiling and capturing serial killers.[20] In June 2012, Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen was cast as Lecter, defeating David Tennant for the role.[21][22] Soon after this, actor Laurence Fishburne was cast as FBI Behavioral Sciences Unit commander Jack Crawford.[23] Caroline Dhavernas was also later cast as Dr. Alana Bloom, a former student of Hannibal Lecter's with Hettienne Park playing crime scene investigator Beverly Katz.[24][25] Lara Jean Chorostecki, Kacey Rohl, Scott Thompson and Aaron Abrams were also cast in recurring roles.[26] Gina Torres also has a recurring role as Phyllis "Bella" Crawford, Jack Crawford's wife; she and Laurence Fishburne are married in reality.[27] Ellen Greene, Raúl Esparza and Gillian Anderson were later cast in recurring roles and appeared later in season one, though Greene only actually appeared in one episode.[28][29][30] Other well known actors, such as Molly Shannon, Eddie Izzard and Lance Henriksen also guest-starred in the first season.[31][32][33]

Several of the actors on the series have worked with creator Bryan Fuller previously, including Dhavernas who played the lead role in Wonderfalls,[24] and Torres, Greene, Esparza and Shannon, who all appeared previously in Pushing Daisies.[30] Chelan Simmons reprised her role as Gretchen Speck-Horowitz from Wonderfalls in an episode of Hannibal.[34] Ellen Muth, who starred in Fuller's Dead Like Me, guest-starred as a character named Georgia, a nod to her original character and a "reinterpretation of that character".[35]

David Bowie was approached for the role of Hannibal's uncle, Robert Lecter, for the second season,[36] however he was unavailable for the role this season.[37] Gillian Anderson returned as Dr. Du Maurier in multiple episodes for the second season.[38] Eddie Izzard will reprise his role as Dr. Abel Gideon for the second season.[39] Cynthia Nixon joined the recurring cast as Kade Prurnell, an employee of the Office of the Inspector General, who is investigating Jack Crawford's role in the events of the first season.[40] Katharine Isabelle joined the recurring cast as Margot Verger, who was originally described as a potential love interest for Graham, but Fuller later clarified that, like the book, Margot "... is a member of the LGBT community!"[41][42] Michael Pitt joined the recurring cast in the role of Mason Verger.[10] Amanda Plummer guest-starred in the second season, playing a character named Katherine Pimms.[43] Jeremy Davies appears in two episodes and Chris Diamantopoulos guest stars in one.[44]

Filming[edit]

The first episode began shooting on August 27, 2012.[14] Filming takes place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[45] The series began production on the second season in Toronto in August 2013.[36]

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally airedDVD and Blu-ray release dates
Season premiereSeason finaleRegion 1Region 2Region 4
113April 4, 2013 (2013-04-04)June 20, 2013 (2013-06-20)September 24, 2013 (2013-09-24)[46]September 2, 2013 (2013-09-02)[47]September 25, 2013 (2013-09-25)[48]
213February 28, 2014 (2014-02-28)May 23, 2014 (2014-05-23)[49]TBATBATBA

Broadcast[edit]

The series fourth episode, "Œuf", which revolved around kidnapped children who had been brainwashed into murdering their own former families, was pulled from the United States broadcast schedule at the request of creator Bryan Fuller. The episode was still shown in other countries.[50] This was not a result of the Boston Marathon bombings as some reports have indicated, but was actually decided just hours beforehand.[51] Fuller said of the decision, "With this episode, it wasn't about the graphic imagery or violence. It was the associations that came with the subject matter that I felt would inhibit the enjoyment of the overall episode. It was my own sensitivity... We want to be respectful of the social climate we're in right now".[52] In lieu of a traditional broadcast, a portion of the episode was broken into a series of webisodes, which was made available through various online media outlets.[53] The complete episode was later made available via iTunes on April 29, 2013.[54]

Removal from KSL-TV[edit]

The series was pulled by Salt Lake City, Utah's KSL-TV (Channel 5) as of April 29, 2013 after four episodes were aired, and will air in that market beginning with the May 4 episode during late night Saturdays after Saturday Night Live on KUCW, Salt Lake City's CW affiliate.[55] KSL-TV is owned by the commercial broadcasting arm of the LDS Church, and has refused several NBC series in the past due to violent or sexual content. Hannibal was pulled after Salt Lake Tribune television writer Scott D. Pierce criticized the station for refusing to carry NBC's sitcom The New Normal due to its sexual humor, while allowing the violence of Hannibal to air without any objections; the article led to viewer complaints to KSL over the series.

International broadcast[edit]

Citytv picked up broadcasting rights in Canada as a mid-season debut.[56]

In Europe, one year before originally airing, in April 10, 2012, the ProSiebenSat.1 Media Group acquired the rights to broadcast the series in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark beginning in 2013.[57] Sky Living started broadcasting the show in the UK and Republic of Ireland from May 7, 2013.[58]

In the South Pacific, the series is also broadcast on the Seven Network in Australia, late night Wednesdays from mid-April 2013[59] and in New Zealand, the show premiered on TV3 on January 25, 2014.[60]

The series is also aired on Latin America through AXN, late night Mondays.[61]

Reception[edit]

Critical reviews[edit]

Season 1[edit]

Reviews for Hannibal have been positive. On critic website Metacritic, the first season scored 69 out of 100 based on 32 reviews, which constitutes "generally favorable reviews".[62] Joanne Ostrow of The Denver Post praised the series as a "... well constructed, masterfully written piece," but stated "... this level of violent imagery is not my cup of tea..." She also had high praise for the characters, stating that they are "... so compelling, however, that you may give in to the gore-fest."[63] Paul Doro of Shock Till You Drop gave Hannibal an 8/10 and said of the series, "The stab at classy horror mostly succeeds due to excellent performances from the leads, genuine suspense and surprises, well-constructed short and long-term mysteries, and an appropriately disconcerting mood that permeates the action right from the start..." and praised Hugh Dancy in particular, saying he "... does an outstanding job of subtlety conveying how painful human interaction is for him, and despite being abrasive and unpleasant, you are always in his corner and really feel for the guy."[64] Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly gave the show an A- and called it "... finely acted, visually scrumptious, and deliciously subversive."[65]

Brian Lowry of Variety said Hannibal is "... the tastiest drama the network has introduced in awhile [sic]," and had particular praise for the central trio of Dancy, Mikkelsen and Fishburne.[5] Eric Goldman of IGN gave the series a 9/10, which constitutes a score of "Amazing". He said, "A prequel TV series about Hannibal Lecter has to overcome a lot of preconceptions... But guess what? None of that matters when you actually watch the show, because Hannibal is terrific."[66] Linda Stasi of The New York Post gave the series two and a half stars out of four, praising the performances and called it "... The most beautifully shot and produced show on network TV, with many scenes simply and literally breathtaking..."[67] Jeff Simon from The Buffalo News called Hannibal "deeply sinister" and "brilliant."[68] The Chicago Sun Times' TV critic Lori Rackl said, "Hannibal is a haunting, riveting... drama that has the look and feel of a show audiences have become more accustomed to seeing on cable than broadcast," and concluded that "It's also extremely well executed... bound to leave viewers hungry for more."[6] Alan Sepinwall of HitFix called Hannibal "creepy, haunting, smart, utterly gorgeous..." and the best of this season's serial killer shows.[69] Sepinwall also praised the character of Hannibal, writing he has been made into a believable supervillain without making the police force and others look incompetent.[70] Reflecting on the completed first season, The A.V. Club's Todd VanDerWerff wrote that the series acts as a corrective to the "empty" violence on much of television and "restores the seriousness of purpose to a genre long in need of it.... Hannibal is interested in death and murder as a means to glance sidelong at some of life’s largest questions. When not functioning as a cop drama, it’s an intricately twisted serial-killer thriller, but it’s also a surprisingly deep series about psychiatry and the state of the human mind." VanDerWerff concluded that Fuller had taken a series "that had every reason to be a cheap cash-in and has, instead, turned into one of TV’s best shows."[71]

Other reviews were less favorable. Glenn Garvin from The Miami Herald called it "a fast-food hash of poor planning and worse execution..." and called the writing "a mess of unmemorable dialogue and unworkable characterizations."[72] Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe was similarly critical, calling the series "rank and depressing," and concluded that it is "shocking, gruesome, and, ultimately, hollow."[73]

Season 2[edit]

On Metacritic, the second season scored 88 out of 100 based on 14 reviews, which constitutes "universal acclaim".[74] On April 10, 2014, Hannibal was voted the winner for Hulu's "Best in Show" online competition.[75] On Rotten Tomatoes, the second season scored a 100% "certified fresh" rating with an average rating of 9.2 out of 10 based on 23 reviews. The consensus reads: "With powerful imagery and a strong, unpredictable story, season two of Hannibal continues to build on the first season's promise."[76]

Accolades[edit]

Awards and accolades for Hannibal
YearAwardCategoryNominee(s)Result
2014IGN Awards[77]Best TV ActorHugh DancyNominated
Best TV Horror SeriesWon
Best TV VillainMads MikkelsenNominated
Best TV SeriesNominated
Best New TV SeriesWon
Saturn Awards[78]Best Network Television SeriesPending
Best Actor on TelevisionHugh DancyPending
Mads MikkelsenPending
Best Guest Star on TelevisionGina TorresPending

Nielsen ratings[edit]

U.S. television ratings for Hannibal
SeasonTimeslot (ET)Number of episodesPremiereFinaleTV seasonOverall viewership
DateViewers
(millions)
DateViewers
(millions)
1
Thursday 10:00 pm
13
April 4, 2013
4.36[79]
June 20, 2013
1.98[80]2012–132.90[81]
2
Friday 10:00 pm
13
February 28, 2014
3.27[82]
May 23, 2014
2013–14

Home media releases[edit]

The first season, including all 13 episodes, was released on Blu-ray and DVD in region 2 on September 2, 2013,[47] in region 1 on September 24, 2013,[46] and in region 4 on September 25, 2013.[48] The region 1 set includes two audio commentaries (by Bryan Fuller, David Slade and Hugh Dancy on "Apéritif" and "Savoureux"), deleted scenes, gag reel, pilot episode storyboards, four featurettes, and "producer's cut" versions of five episodes.[46]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]