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  • Warning: Spoilers
    Thursday saw the premiere episode of NBC's new series, Hannibal. Directed by Bryan Fuller, based on the novels by Thomas Harris and following in the footsteps of filmic adaptations such as Manhunter and The Silence of the Lambs, we are now treated to a televisual adaptation. A prequel, one in which we see the delights of Dr. Hannibal Lecter before his trip to Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. We see him as a psychiatrist (... with a very nice office), a 'friend' to Will Graham (a relationship that inevitably turns sour) and we see him eat... a lot. I will tell you now, it is nice to have such a worryingly charming cannibalistic psychopath back on our screens.

    The first episode begins straight in the middle of a crime scene, introducing us to Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), an FBI criminal profiler. A man whom, we instantly become aware, has a mental ability to remove himself from the crime scene and into the shoes of the killer. This dark transition of empathy frequently haunts Will (symptoms include a profuse amount of sweating) and is no doubt responsible for his socially awkward sensibility. Unfortunately or not for him, it also means he is highly sought after in order to aid a new FBI investigation, one in which eight girls have gone missing. Will is recruited by Special Agent Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) in the hope that his special skills will help solve the case. His struggle to create a profile for the suspected "sensitive psychopath" causes Special Agent Crawford to hire forensic psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen). As the episode develops, Dr. Lecter's interest in the case and Will becomes increasingly evident, so too does his penchant for eating human organs. Lungs anyone?

    The first thing to say about this episode, and hopefully the rest of the series, is how wonderfully stylistic it is. In particular, the cinematography during Will's frequent transgressions into psychopathic territory is a wonderful platform to showcase technical flair and gory imagery. It immerses us deep into the dark realms of human psychosis, consistently effective with sequences short and intermittent.

    It is also great to see that there is no hanging around plot-wise. We have skipped the starter and headed straight for the main course. No time is taken in hiding the fact that Dr. Lecter is a cannibalistic killer. Conversely, it's flaunted. Preparing human lungs then frying them in a pan? You cannot get more obvious than that. Dr. Lecter and Will's relationship is also swiftly interjected. A wonderful sequence in which both converse over breakfast (including questionable sausage) is a nice taster to their relationship dynamic, one of psychological evaluation and latent commonalities. I look forward to its progression.

    Hugh Dancy performs well as Will, cleverly contrasting awkward social outcast and empathetic killer. Mads Mikkelsen lives up to expectations as Dr. Lecter, providing that sheer magnetism required. Laurence Fishburne is well... Laurence Fishburne. Always a joy to watch.

    All in all a thoroughly enjoyable first episode, teasing my appetite for what will hopefully be deliciously thrilling entertainment.
  • Hannibal is more of a "fill in the gaps" for the Hannibal series. We saw Will Graham in Manhunter and its remake Red Dragon. Whilst The Silence of The Lambs saw Hannibal's character on an all time high, and a rather degraded sequel as "Hannibal (2001)" and a prelude as "Hannibal Rising". So this series falls somewhere between "Hannibal Rising" and "Manhunter/Red Dragon". That means it isn't a 'messing with the plot' remake, but a gripping and excellent take on our favorite Cannibal.

    Will Graham (not yet retired) finds himself investigating psychopath murders (to his dismay), and looks avoid those as much possible. His eccentric ability to empathize with the killers finds him recruited by a senior FBI Officer Jack Crawford, who is our very own Morpheus (A pleasant surprise to me!). Jack seeing Graham's discomfort for his work appoints Dr. Lector to team up with him to release some of his stress. But Hannibal the Cannibal has separate plans for his new found friend.

    An Apéritif for a pilot is rather more about Will Graham than Hannibal or any crime investigation. It develops a little explored character into a gem. Coming to the performances, Dancy fits in a young Graham's shoes perfectly, where as I do miss Hopkins's intense and malicious glare. Don't take me wrong! I doesn't mean Mads was bad, he was extremely convincing. Now how can I explain this? Its like some one else playing Harry Potter, even if does play it better, he won't just fit in. Anyways I do hope we get to see Hopkins later in the series. Lawrence is average.

    The only problem I saw was the pace. The story progressed way too fast than a healthy pace. But I have to hand it to the writer director for not sacrificing character development for pace. Only thing sacrificed was detailing. I think its understandable as the series is more of a psychological drama thriller than a crime investigation drama. ANd just the right amount of fear topped with thrill.

    Direction: Great. Pretty surprising from Twilight's director.

    Story/Screenplay: Refreshing, thrilling and gripping.

    Acting: Dancy the best, Mads awesome. Lawrence Average.

    Music: Engaging, ear friendly and fitting.

    Overall a good start to an interesting series. I hope it lasts like this and doesn't lose content wise in times to come.
  • jetkot3 September 2017
    An excellent and stylish start to the series. I love the character Will Graham and his style of Investigation. He is portrayed beautifully by Hugh Dancy. I never thought that someone could match Anthony Hopkins portrayal of Hannibal Lecter but Mads Mikkelsen does a fantastic job. The show is very fast paced and I really enjoy such shows that do not waste time in slow build up. It has to move fast and keep me entertained. The first episode was brilliant.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A fantastic premiere. It manages to introduce and develop its characters and plot to such a great extent, which is an impressive feat for a 40-minute premiere featuring several deep characters.

    The very first scene is one that you remember for a long time even after the series' end. It ensures that, from the first moment, you know this isn't an ordinary crime procedural. The intense, dischordant music starts at once and our first sight of the protagonist is of him experiencing his perfect empathy. The weirdness of blood travelling in reverse, Will walking backwards from the house, making all the police around him go away in his mind, seeing the house as it was before the murder, and killing the victims in his mind. It immediately lets you know: this is not your standard network fare.

    Will's unique mind is a fascinating focus here, and how various characters use it. It's wrong to say that Jack doesn't care about Will's state of mind, but he definitely sees things in a more utilitarian way than Alana Bloom. If Will's fragile state of mind is put at risk in catching the killer before he kills anyone else, then so be it. Hannibal's relationship with Will is the most fascinating part. On the surface, the most obvious reason why Hannibal is eager to become Will's psychiatrist is so he can manipulate him away from any evidence pointing towards him. But of course it goes far deeper than that. He is interested in Will's empathy, as put simply it means he can see things the way Hannibal does. Will's empathy is also a source of humour at times, when he almost acts like he *is* the killer, even getting passionate about the fact that the killer wants his victims to suffer as little as possible.

    Atmosphere is set perfectly. The scene in which Will realises that Abigail is still in her room is incredibly creepy, from the realisation that she is there to the sight of her body to the moment of brutal intensity when he imagines strangling her. Will's surreal visions are also effective.

    Hannibal's desires with key role are a key factor in some of the plot twists. We have Will denying he is anything alike Hannibal but Hannibal saying they are very much alike. A similarity is definitely reflected in the final shot: they both care deeply about Abigail. Hannibal already intervening in ways that don't have a simple explanation. Killing the girl in such a savage way and leaving her body in plain sight was his first true assessment of Will. How would he react? But I guess it was also an attempt to influence Will, to use his perfect empathy to show him the attractiveness of killing. To show him how killing can be elevated to be a form of art. His phone call to Garret Jacob Hobbs is an even more complex intervention. Did it have something to do with where he wanted Abigail? Or Will? Or both? He definitely wanted Will in the line of fire, to experience violence firsthand. That much is obvious by how he lays back and lets Will walk into the danger. The climactic scene is intense and almost hyper realistic, Hugh Dancy wonderfully acting Will's shock.

    This premiere incredibly manages to both have a fantastic "killer-of-the-episode" as well as convincingly introduce Hannibal as the main antagonist of the series. Both he and Garrett Jacob Hobbs are fascinating characters explored to much depth.
  • So I never really had an interest in watching this. Not because I don't find a backstory of Hannibal Lector interesting, definitely not that. But, regular network dramas just aren't good enough these days. But I've already heard from several people how great it was, so I gave it a chance. Definitely atmospheric, very well shot, very carefully edited and precisely paced, with the right balance in tone and both Dancy and Mikkelsen have been fantastic so far. Network dramas do tend to be more self-contained than cable dramas, so I kinda expected this to be. In a way it's a crime procedural, but definitely not like any other on TV. Episode 2, while not as strong as the pilot, still confirmed that this show is definitely to look out for.

    Now, the problem is this- this is NBC, and this show doesn't seem like one that will stick with viewers from these regular networks. That's also been the problem with network TV the last several years. So many dramas get cancelled so soon, and because this definitely doesn't feel dumbed-down at all, I fear it won't find the right audience. I wish a cable network had picked it up. But so far, definitely really good.
  • Okay right off the bat you have Hugh Darcy who really shines in this show, reenacting his own interpretation of a murder. His GIFT, allows him to see into the minds of killers.

    +1 Star for the initial investigation

    +1 Star for the whackiness of Graham's gift.

    +1 Star for Fishburnes amazing presence

    And then, we are finally introduced to Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Played by the Incredible Mads Mikkelsen. This is undoubtedly what will be known as his signature performance throughout his career, much as Anthony Hopkins is known for the same character.

    +1 Star for Mads thoroughly convincing introduction to a great character.

    And +1 Star for a great line. 'Don't psychoanalyze me. You wouldn't like me when I'm psychoanalyzed. Now I have to go! I have to give a lecture on psychoanalyzing. ' Haha, brilliant.

    Will Graham also deduces that the killer, is 'eating them'.

    And we have the brilliant beginning episode to a great series. :)
  • Prismark104 May 2020
    Set before The Red Dragon. This is a strong and dark show for US network television.

    The focus is on FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy). A nervy academic who has been picked by Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) the head of Behavioural Sciences at the FBI.

    Graham can empathise with serial killers and recreate the crime scenes in his mind. Crawford wants Graham to help him with a case where 8 young women have been abducted in 8 months.

    Crawford also gets forensic psychiatrist Dr Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) to take an interest in Graham and help out with these abductions.

    The stories are original with characters created by Thomas Harris. Dancy's Graham is far away from the burnt out agent played by William Petersen in Manhunter who was badly injured when he captured Lecter.

    The first episode sets up the meeting of minds between Graham and Lecter with Graham as the potential prey but he does not yet know it.

    Of course Lecter gets all the delicious lines and the gourmet food. Mikkelsen laps it up.

    A very good first episode, of course the source material is very strong. You can relish the games these two characters will play.
  • hamoode-2009725 June 2020
    Nice EP good acting good effect lot of questions mark

    Good start to the show
  • That is how do an excellent precedural episode. We have a true mistery, a lot of blood, grey characters and a good final.