It has been a long, long time since I took a risk by picking up a series that I had no preconception or even recollection that it existed. A trailer in a supermarket was all it needed before I found the Blu-Ray box set in my hands. A little prodding of some folk on Twitter just reinforced the opinion that I had already formed myself: this was a TV show I need to watch.
The premise behind Hannibal is just delicious! Set before the events of Red Dragon, we see the introduction of psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter to FBI Special Investigator Will Graham. They are brought together to hunt a serial killer that Special Agent Jack Crawford is struggling to stop.
By not knowing anything in advance about Hannibal it was nice surprise to discover that the skill Will Graham has of being ‘purely empathic’ with the killer is explored here in more depth than in Manhunter. Very unexpected. I thought the show would follow the formula of the movies, the cat-and-mouse manhunts and mind games. Hugh Dancy portrays Will Graham that adds a new dimension to the character. This younger Graham is far less at ease with himself and those he associates himself with. Mads Mikkelsen is wonderful at incarnating the younger Hannibal bringing the strength of his charisma to the forefront. The supporting cast are impressive also and it’s nice to see that Lawrence Fishburne returning to the small screen as Jack Crawford.
Two sides to a different coin
This first episode does give much to chew over. The scenes where Hannibal is preparing, cooking and then eating food is nicely suggestive. The filmography is very fitting for the subject matter at hand, very warm colours with great depth and excellent camera work. CSI this is not.
The very last scene of this first episode implies a symbolism of the opposing ends of the same spectrum that Hannibal Lecture and Will Graham both inhabit. It looks a very standard, simply dressed scene but there is far more going on than the silent bed vigil the pair undertake.
“Aperitif” has to be the best pilot episode I’ve seen since the promise that LOST had shown those many moons ago. Unlike the whimsy that particular show fell under my feelings for Hannibal are that this is a TV experience worth staying the duration for. The development of the unlikely dualism of Hannibal and Graham will be the hook that the show will spin its web from. What flies that web will catch are exactly what I’ll be picking over in the coming weeks.
We paid for our own copy of Hannibal season 1 box set.