By Gayle Sequeira:
When Thomas Harris first conceived of ‘Red Dragon‘, the first novel in his Hannibal series in 1981, little did he know that he had struck gold. A franchise so vast, it comprises of four novels, five films, including the multi-Academy Award winning ‘Silence Of The Lambs‘ and a 2013 television series, its eponymous character Dr. Hannibal Lecter has become one of the most striking figures in popular culture. With NBC’s ‘Hannibal‘ season 3 just around the corner, if hashtags like #EatTheRude and catchphrases like “This is my design” still confound you, I suggest you read the top 10 reasons you need to begin watching this darkly brilliant, visually outstanding show.
Note: The contents of this video are graphic in nature
2. The Fandom
The ‘Hannibal‘ fandom, or ‘Fannibals’ as they like to call themselves have already managed to carve out (pun intended) a niche for themselves in cyberspace otherwise dominated by the ‘big three’ – the SuperWhoLock fandoms. The fandom’s most noteworthy achievement till date was saving the show from impending cancellation after its first season. When NBC hesitated to renew ‘Hannibal‘, it sparked a frenzy of flurried activity from Fannibals who took to sending letters to NBC as well as tweeting #EatTheRude across social media urging others to watch the show. Other activities of this fandom include making Hannibal crackvids (hysterical mashups of scenes from the show set to hilariously inappropriate background music), and winning online polls on behalf of the show.
3. The Beautifully Grotesque Murder Tableaux
Murder in Hannibal is elevated to an art form. Aesthetic always trumps carnage. However, murders are not just used as superficial elements to add to the gore and violence of the show but instead, provide a deep and compelling look into the nuances of the human mind and the psychoses that plague even those who appear to be the sanest on the surface.
4. The Hilarious Puns
For a dark show about a murderous cannibal psychopath, witty wordplay and some truly laugh-out-loud puns dominate the dialogue. This verbal repartee helps to keep the show light-hearted while simultaneously keeping viewers on the edge of their seats as Dr. Lecter is probably the only fictional character who’d dare to make numerous, thinly-veiled cannibal puns in front the very man trying to catch him (FBI Special Agent Jack Crawford), leaving viewers in agonizing turmoil as they wait for Jack to finally catch up.
5. The Psychology
The show also boasts of a plethora of unhinged characters whose psychoses, including Cotard’s syndrome (a unique psychological disorder where those afflicted suffer from the delusion that they are dead), Prosopagnosia (a disorder characterized by an impairment in the ability to recognize faces) and Narcissistic Personality Disorder are a veritable treasure trove for students of psychology. In addition to this, it has been pointed out that Hannibal, Jack Crawford and Will Graham are perfect manifestations of Id, Ego and Superego respectively and it’s endlessly exciting to watch how their traits, mannerisms and the decisions they make embody the three parts of Freud’s structural model of the psyche.
6. Bryan Fuller
‘Hannibal‘ was the brainchild of showrunner Bryan Fuller, noted for his impressive resume consisting of shows such as ‘Star Trek: Voyager‘ and ‘Heroes‘ and his skill in dabbling in genres such as drama, science fiction, fantasy and horror with equal élan. Judging by his earlier shows, ‘Dead Like Me‘, a two-season show about an eighteen year old grim reaper, ‘Pushing Daisies‘, which features a pie-maker and his astounding ability to bring the dead back to life, and ‘Wonderfalls‘, whose protagonist possesses the unique talent of being able to communicate with inanimate objects, one can only imagine the cinematic explosion that is Fuller’s version of Hannibal.
7. The Food
Few shows have the capacity to make one’s stomach churn with disgust, and then a few scenes later cause particularly potent hunger pangs to strike as Dr. Lecter prepares delicious looking gourmet meals that will have viewers salivating even though they try their hardest to convince themselves of the distinctly unsavoury methods employed in preparing these meals.
8. The Cinematography
Hannibal’s stunning cinematography is what lead the New York Post to call it “the most beautifully shot and produced show on network TV”. The blurring of the lines between fantasy and reality in the show produce landscapes of exquisite cinematic beauty. Even the tiniest of details such as the swirling of coffee in a cup are artistically captured onscreen, making each frame a gorgeous work of art to be savoured.
9. Mads Mikkelsen
For Fannibals who hold Anthony Hopkins as the benchmark for his superlative performance as Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Mads Mikkelsen is a worthy successor to the role. His portrayal of Hannibal as a character whose suaveness, sophistication and expertise in psychology and the fine arts are simply part of his facade masking the pure sociopath within walks the thin line between being absolutely terrifying and yet so compelling viewers will be left hanging on to his every word long after the scene has ended.
10. Its Low Ratings Are Undeserved For A Show Of This Calibre
Despite critical acclaim and a cult fan following, Hannibal’s ratings remain dismally low. The reason most commonly cited for the same is its gratuitous violence which many viewers find difficult to stomach. Despite this, its outstanding choreography, brilliantly crafted plot and standout performances from both, the main as well as supporting cast do merit many more people tuning in to see this amazing show. For Bryan Fuller’s six season arc idea to pan out, it is important that the show continues to perform well on television, without the threat of it being axed hanging over viewers’ heads.
Hope to see you dine with us next season!