Hannibal is a psychological horror television show which explores the relationship between the widely popular characters - psychiatrist, Hannibal and the FBI criminal profiler, Will Graham. The show was launched on NBC by the executive producer, Bryan Fuller, on April 4, 2013 and went on to complete three seasons. The third season, which premiered on June 4, 2015, is currently running. You can watch a lot of the previous episodes when you sign up for one of Comcast TV Packages right here.
The TV series is based on the characters appearing in the novel, Red Dragon, by Thomas Harris. The widely popular novel, its sequels, and their movie adaptations have developed a cult following of sorts in the recent times. In fact, the character of Hannibal has become an inspiration for a number of psychological horror and thriller movies and shows after its success. The TV series too draws inspiration from the novels and the movies that have gained so much popularity. The first season of the TV series goes a step back and focusses on the relationship between Will Graham and Hannibal during the days before Hannibal’s dark side was discovered.
Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) is a criminal profiler, who is gifted with a strong ability to empathize with people, including the likes of serial killers, psychopaths, and murderers. He uses his unusual abilities to understand the behavior of the criminals, track them down and place them under FBI’s custody. He visualizes and understands the behavior of the killers throughout the series and each case takes a toll on his psyche. Graham is unable to deal with the stress that his job is putting on him. This makes him an easy target for the psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen). Will visits the highly talented psychiatrist to help him reduce his psychological suffering.
The series premieres with Will Graham investigating a series of brutal murders across Minnesota. Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne), an FBI agent, heads the Behavioral Sciences, who has now sought the help of the psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter, in solving the murders and catching the Chesapeake Ripper. However, neither Graham nor Jack, have slightest of the idea that Hannibal himself is the Chesapeake Ripper. Hannibal uses his newfound influence on the case as well as Graham, to manipulate their lives and others according to his will.
There are many other main characters in the show, some of whom were not present in the original novel by Thomas Harris. Caroline Dhavernas plays the role of Dr. Alana Bloom, who consults FBI as a profiler. Special Agent Beverly Katz, the crime scene investigator is portrayed by Hettienne Park. The show introduces a new character into the scene, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson). She is Lecter’s psychotherapist. Jimmy Price (Scott Thompson) and Brian Zeller (Aaron Abrams) are crime scene investigators at the FBI. A number of recurring roles also appear in the series.
The show producers cancelled the series after the first 3 seasons. Unlike most shows in the US, Hannibal had 13 episodes per season. Almost all episodes of the series are named after different elements of cuisines. The names of episodes in the first season are part of French Cuisine. The names of the episodes in the second season are part of the Japanese haute cuisine. The first 7 episodes in the third season derive their names from the Italian cuisine, while the next seven are named after the The Great Red Dragon Paintings by the famed painter, William Blake.
Production and Development
Bryan Fuller was brought in by NBC to write a pilot script for Hannibal TV series in November 2011. He had previously worked with NBC on the series Heroes. NBC was so impressed by Bryan’s script that it decided to forego the pilot and instead, commissioned a 13-episode season. David Slade was brought in as the executive producer of the show.
With time, Bryan’s vision of the series has undergone a substantial change. Earlier, he wanted to make seven seasons. The first three were supposed to be original productions, fourth based on the events in Red Dragon, fifth based on the events in The Silence of the Lambs, and sixth on the movie, Hannibal. Bryan wanted to end the show on the seventh series by providing a fitting end to the saga of Hannibal. He even wanted to include a number of original characters from the novel. But he was unable to do so, because he could not secure the rights from the owners. In the light of this, new characters were added to the show, who were based on the actual characters from the novel.
After the completion of two seasons of the show, Bryan changed his mind and announced that he envisions six seasons for the show. He plans to incorporate the books in a completely new and interesting way.
In his own words Bryan describes the relationship between Hannibal and Graham as “really a love story”. He refers to Hannibal’s statements to Graham, in which he considers Graham quite like himself. Bryan feels that the audience never got to enjoy the depth of these statements made by Hannibal. Through this show, Bryan intended to take people on a journey that would make them understand exactly what Hannibal meant.
The series has been met with good response from the audience as well as critics. Although the series has received some criticism for being high on “gore fest”, the actors and story have been widely praised for their acting skills and doing justice to the roles.
The series, its cast and the production team members, have received a number of nominations and awards for their efforts on the show. The awards list includes the likes of EWwy Award, Saturn Awards, Satellite Awards, IGN Awards, Critics' Choice Television Award, and so on.
NBC cancelled the show after completing the season three of the show. The production of the third season is complete and the show is currently being broadcast. The latest episode was aired on August 6, 2015. However, NBC has given up the show for any takers. Bryan had some hopes that streaming services such as Amazon or Netflix may take the show under them. But both of them passed on the offer. Currently, there is no hope for the revival of the series.
The actors of the series have been released, once their contract expired this year. Actor Hugh Dancy, has even moved on to the cast of the drama series The Way, from the house of Hulu. Yet, just like other stars of Hannibal, Hugh expresses hope for the revival of the show, and says that he would like to return as Graham if the show survived. So far no other network has come forward to take up the show.