I just finished the first season of Hannibal the television series. It’s dark, morbid, and probably one of the most gruesome shows ever on television. Hannibal is loosely based around the book The Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. The story surrounds FBI agent Jack Crawford, brilliant profiler Will Graham, and of course Hannibal Lecter, all characters from the book. For a good show, I found it hard to finish that first season.
The show starts out seemingly similar to Criminal Minds. Jack Crawford brings on special agent Will Graham to help profile and solve a string of murders. Will’s brain works a little differently than most people, and because of this he is a fantastic profiler, but is a bit unstable. Hannibal is hired as Will’s psychiatrist to make sure he doesn’t become what he hunts. From here, I expected an episodic show like CSI, or Criminal minds, but instead (and way better in my opinion) the show is all linked together, as one episodes events directly effect the subsequent episodes. This was great in the beginning, and my girlfriend and I binged through the first half of the season. However, as the season went on our interest began to wane, ending with me watching the last episode out of boredom as my girlfriend read a book through it haha. Why was this though? A few things come to mind.
First off, the serial killers become a little unbelievable. We start off with one that is killing girls that look like his daughter. OK, not too much of a stretch. Then we have one that carves his victims into angels, turning their flesh into angel wings. It’s starting to get a little far fetched here, but for this show, Ill still allow it. Next, a guy who keeps his victims alive, buries them in shallow graves, and turns them into mushroom gardens. There’s even a guy who kills someone, cuts open their throat, treats their vocal cords, and then shoves a cello neck down their mouth, so he can “play” them. You can see the writers in your mind having to think of ways to ramp up the killers methods to keep the show interesting and to differentiate itself from other serial killer catching shows. However, in doing that they lose my suspension of disbelief. I would not want to live in this State, that’s for sure. There are so many serial killers that FBI agents coming across these scenes are not even phased by them,. It’s as if they are in fact weekly occurrences. If killings like the ones portrayed in this show happened in our world, they would be international news. They seem to make little impact in the world the show takes place.
Another thing that starts to lose the viewer is the dialogue. Everyone seems to speak philosophically, and in long-winded, deep metaphors. I have friends that are psychologists. They do not talk like that. No one talks like that. Even some of the questions and phrases the psychiatrists use in the show, real ones would never say. Real psychiatrists and psychologists don’t say “and how does that make you feel?”. Every time I heard that in the show I would cringe haha.
Lastly, the lacklustre motivation, and omnipotence granted to Hannibal detracts from the show, and gives it almost a magical fantastical feel, rather than the realistic, gritty crime police procedural the the show is based off of. Why does Hannibal kill certain people, and mess with the main character? Is it something intelligent and logical? No, he does it just to see what happens. Now I get that a killer like this would be hard to catch, but not that interesting to watch. He’s also basically all knowing, and can get anywhere he wants in the show, as long as it’s convenient to the story. As well, not only is he a brilliant surgeon and psychiatrist, but hr is also an expert in hand to hand combat. Oh, and did I mention he also has mass wealth at his disposal, so much so that money seems to be no object to him.
There are some great things about this show too. The acting and cinematography are very well done. Although there is an over obsession with door shots. So many of the scenes are opening, closing and walking through doors… curious.
If you’ve made your way through Criminal Minds, and are looking for something similar to binge, definitely check this out. It is currently on Netflix. If you can get past some of the points I mentioned above, I bet you will love this show. After doing a bit of research for this article, people have mentioned that the second season is some of the best TV they have ever seen, so maybe I will have to give it a chance on a rainy day. Have you watched this show? What were your thoughts?