Word of Mouth: ‘Hannibal’ is the Best Television Show You’re Not Watching

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Welcome to the 6th issue of ‘Word of Mouth’ with D-Rock!

HannibalThis week we’re going to have a major change in format. Reason being, because I want to delve into another creative medium which currently has a program worth promoting. The program I speak of is NBC’s television adaptation of Hannibal, based on the novel series created by author Thomas Harris. The show is receiving glowing reviews from critics around the nation but despite all its praise, you guys are not watching it.

 

 

Why are you not watching?

Who knows? My personal opinion is maybe folks already have too many other invested programs they’re watching right now. That being said, nothing overlaps the Thursday night 10/9 central time-slot to pull viewers away from checking the show out. Hannibal’s  biggest competition on Thursday is Glee, which airs one hour prior to the show. Also, from a marketing standpoint, there is absolutely no reason why the demographic audience of Glee would have any affect on Hannibal’s audience. My guess is the behavioral aspects of Thursday night brought the viewership down. It’s getting towards the end of the week; People are tired from working; Some folks are running out to grab a drink to unwind. Others are just ready to pass the hell out.

Then there is the whole notion of television remakes ending up as a catastrophic cash grabs for primetime. You remember the television adaptation of The Firm? Yeah, me neither. Most film adaptations to television have terrible livelihoods. Mainly because they are never as good as the original films themselves. So, when people hear there is a television adaptation of Hannibal, all they have is a clumsy history to stand by.

I’m here to enlighten the viewers though, Hannibal truly breaks the cycle.

Why you should watch?

HannibalOver the last decade we’ve been witnessing  a growing trend of franchise and property reboots. Hannibal is the best restart imaginable to the Hannibal Lecter saga. The television show completely ignores everything from the films and adds extra layers which did not exist before. For example, take Agent Graham- played by Hugh Dancy- who you probably remember from the Red Dragon film with Edward Norton. Graham in this version has an Asperger’s form of autism, which gives him the ability to think far outside the box when investigating. Not only can he envision how the murders took place, but he can place his mindset in a psychopath’s head effortlessly. The brilliance of this version of Graham is now we sense his vulnerability Now we actually have a reason to sympathize with him. Graham knows he is gifted but is frustrated with his condition, and it shows in his eyes.

Then enters the infamous Dr. Hannibal Lecter, played by Mads Mikkelson. Lecter is back in full style and is engaging in a way we’ve never thought possible. In the pilot episode, the FBI recruits Dr. Lecter to perform a psychological profile on the murderer they are investigating. Lecter ends up meeting Agent Graham during a case discussion with Agent Jack Crawford (Lawrence Fishburne). Dr. Lecter, being a psychiatrist, takes a peculiar interest in Graham’s condition. He claims he wants to help him- which is probably true- but it’s clear the good ol’ doctor sees the advantage he has over Graham. This is where the show exposes its reason for existing.  The focus is not about Hannibal “The Cannibal” at all. This is the story about the relationship between Graham and Lecter before the events of Red Dragon.

HannibalThe potential for this property is now at a level we have never seen. Due to magnificent writing, Agent Graham and Dr. Lecter are two sides of the same coin, much like Batman and Joker. That being said, imagine Batman with autism having to depend on the Joker as his sidekick. That is the initial setup and it is bloody fantastic.

The performances from the leads alone make it reason enough to check this out. The fact Hugh Dancy is a better Agent Graham than Edward Norton says a ton about his delivery. Mikkelson’s take on Doctor Lecter is completely his own and honors the character’s history. Trust me when I say this, but you won’t even think about Anthony Hopkins. On the technical side, this show is visually compelling. There are moments in the pilot where the imagery screams Kubrick. Some of Agent Graham’s nightmares are aesthetically creepy, yet effective.

Why should you care?

If you don’t start watching, then this is another quality show just waiting to be cancelled. Which means the establishment just might resort to replacing this with another shitty reality show. If Hannibal continues with episodes like the pilot, then show-runner Bryan Fuller has managed to make a NBC program on the level of Breaking Bad. Which is completely unheard of at NBC. If you did miss the show last week, then here is your chance to discover it for yourself. NBC has offered the first episode on Hulu for free. Check out the fantastic first episode below and be sure to tune in tonight for the next delicious offering of Hannibal!

 

Netflix Pick of the Week

untitledBrick

Every week I’ll recommend a film on Netflix Instant Streaming you may want to consider. This week is a unique take on the film-noir by director Rian Johnson (Looper). This was Johnson’s debut film and it’s incredibly impressive for a first outing. Brick was also the first of many films to elevate Joseph Gordon-Levitt into a demanding star. Here is a synopsis of the film below:

The lonely teenager Brendan finds his former girlfriend Emily dead in the entrance of a tunnel of sewage and recalls her phone call two days ago, when she said to him that she was in trouble. Brendan, who still loved Emily, met bad elements of his high-school trying to contact her, and when he succeeded, she told him that she was OK. He hides her body in the tunnel and decides to investigate the meaning and connection of four words, including “brick” and “pin”, that Emily told him to find who killed her. Using the support of his nerd friend Brain, he successively meets the small time drug dealers Kara, Dode, Brad Bramish, Laura and Tugger, to reach the teenager powerful drug dealer The Pin. Slowly, Brendan unravels the motives why Emily was killed and plots a revenge.

UPCOMING RELEASES TO WATCH FOR

The Place Beyond the Pines

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G07pSbHLXgg&w=450&h=253]

You’re Next

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRq1SmwJnN0]

S-V/H/S

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAYX3P4lZSE]

Upstream Color

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U9KmAlrEXU]

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2mvnu74Tfw]

Mud

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2m9IFlz2iYo]

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About the Author

John "D-Rock" Dotson
is a film critic and film-maker from Dallas, Texas. He attended Midwestern State University where he received a Bachelor's in Business Administration in the field of Marketing. He's a huge lover of all things cinema... except The Last Airbender. Follow him on Twitter @DRockDot
  • The pilot for Hannibal was easily one of the most well-directed episodes of any television show I’ve seen. David Slade all but made up for directing a Twilight movie. I feel like the writing and acting on the series still needs to figure itself out a bit, but other than that it’s a wonderful, intriguing and sublimely creepy show.

    • I really hope this finds its audience. I am tired of great TV shows getting cancelled

    • John “D-Rock” Dotson

      The acting I feel is pretty much spot on, but I definitely agree the writing as far as conflict goes needs to discover itself. Hopefully, now that the setup is done, they can finally raise the stakes.

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