Hannibal: Season One reviewed
It became the series of the summer, a surprising hit that emerged from the damaged psyche of a former FBI agent and a serial killer who is hiding in plain sight.
As Hannibal prepares to be released on DVD and Blu-Ray, Geekworld's Chris Gerrard takes a look back at season one...
Guests at the lengthy dinner table clap in praise at the row of stunningly beautiful cuisine laid before them.
Standing at the head of the table in a dark suit, glass of red wine in his hand, is Dr Hannibal Lecter. As the clapping stops he charmingly says, "Before you begin....I must warn you...nothing at this table, is vegetarian...Bon Appetite."
Enter the dark, twisted and horrifying spectacle that is Hannibal.
Created by Brian Fuller (Pushing Daisies), this premiere television series explores the events preceding Thomas Harris' Red Dragon, the book which introduced the world to Dr Hannibal 'The Cannibal' Lecter.
Plucking from strands of background information littered throughout the novel, Fuller has formed and fleshed out an alternate depiction of how Detective Will Graham meets the serial killing psychiatrist.
Quite bluntly, this 13 episode show had the potential to be awful.
In the wrong hands Hannibal could have been an unintelligent, cardboard representation of the iconic killer.
But, thankfully, this is not the case. This show is atmospheric, visceral and intelligent, consistently entertaining and while tipping knowing nods to the novels and films.
The casting is fantastic, with some particular standouts.
Hugh Dancy as Will Graham is a solid performance, strongly evoking the psychological trauma brought about by his skill to understand and empathise with the killers he hunts.
Laurence Fishburne's FBI Agent Jack Crawford is equally good, while Lara Jean Chorostecki, as the slippery Tattler journalist is compelling.
Gillian Anderson as the doctor's doctor Du Maurier, is excellent in the simple elegance of her role, conveying a mystique craving to be unveiled.
But Mads Mikkelson's Hannibal Lecter outshines all. His is a somewhat different incarnation than we are used to. Anthony Hopkins may have won an Oscar for his performance, but Mikkelson's Lecter is just as compelling.
His Lecter is a very different man, in age and circumstance. Mad's performance is more elegant, refined, noticeably more empathetic and appearing more in shades of grey than full force evil. The interplay between this new Lecter and Graham is enthralling, as Hannibal assists Will in catching serial killers performing acts of evil reminiscent of David Fincher's Se7en.
The series follows a killer of the week process to start (similar to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The X Files) but is actually handled more carefully and while it can sound off-putting to some viewers who dislike this method of TV, it works well and does provide the nasty visuals and scares.
What is interesting is how these disturbing 'killer of the week' scenario's initially appear as episode fillers, but are actually a plot device which culminates and ties into the key storyline very effectively.
Hannibal is a fantastically dark and sinister surprise, offering a clever conclusion which could only be rightly executed with the inclusion of the beautiful 'Vide Cor Meum' track (fans of the films will certainly recognise).
This show is a definite recommendation, from the subtle, award-worthy performance of Mads Mikkelson, to the insidious psychology of the killers and psychopaths; this is a brilliant assault on the senses.