I watched the first couple episodes of Hannibal back when it premiered. It was good, but it got lost in the midst of a number of other shows I anticipated more. It’s now on season three and a friend of mine once pointed out that no television series makes it three seasons without having at least some interesting or redeeming factor. For the most part, I’ve found this to be true, so I decided to give Hannibal another chance. I wasn’t disappointed.
I’m halfway through the second season right now, and I have to admit that Hannibal is one of the best thought-out shows on television. It’s telling the story of Hannibal Lector and Will Graham, a highly intelligent psychopathic cannibal and the disturbed FBI profiler whose destiny is to catch him. It’s a reimagining of the back story to Red Dragon, which was the book that first introduced Hannibal Lector to the world.
There’ve been numerous iterations of Hannibal Lector, so many in fact that most people associate the name Hannibal with the fictitious cannibal without ever watching one of the movies or reading any of the books associated with the character. He’s practically folklore at this point, a story told from generation to generation. Some people even believe him to have been real.
The creators of the show clearly understood this from the get-go and don’t try to hide the fact that Hannibal is the true killer the FBI is searching for. However the show starts with Will Graham finding a different serial killer. It rides the line between your average serial series and something more. Almost each week a new serial killer is introduced for Will Graham to hunt, but it all ties together so perfectly towards telling the main story between Hannibal and Will that I’m not sure if the different killers introduced are more for the main plot than having any kind of episode-to-episode cohesion.
The tonal shift between seasons one and two is so different that it almost feels like another show. But in the end I think it’s best to relate the series as one long drawn out tease. You know Hannibal is behind everything right away, and every time you think the FBI and Will are finally going to definitively discover Hannibal is the killer they’ve been after for years he gets away in an incredibly clean and – most impressively – believable way.
That’s what really surprises me about the show – its believability. It’s not just someone screwing up and letting him get away, it’s not that the character has some supreme all-knowing intellect that keeps him from getting caught. It’s that the show is written so well that you can see how he’s getting away with it all without having to be told.
If you haven’t checked Hannibal out and you’re looking for a good thriller television series to get into, I highly suggest it. It’s clearly made it to season three for a reason, and I hope it continues for many more.