Serial Killer Smorgasbord – Part 2
Desparate for some ratings traction NBC took a gamble with Hannibal and let TV show runner vet Bryan Fuller bring this grisly series to broadcast TV with the hope that the cachet that Silence of the Lambs – Hannibal the Cannibal Lectern has would bring some much needed eyes to the network. And for the most part that gamble paid off.
Hannibal the TV series is a prequel to the events that take place prior to those from ManHunter and Silence of the Lambs. The show has a great cast but no doubt the lion’s share of the credit belongs with Bryan Fuller. Fuller was a self professed Star Trek freak who won his way onto the show when there was an open call for scripts. From there Fuller has worked his way up to producer gigs on such shows as Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies, Heroes, a Munsters remake of the 60s TV series and rejected pilot – Mockingbird Lane. Throughout his various gigs, Fuller has shown himself a consummate story teller and all those skills come to play with Hannibal.
The lead 3 characters are all great with Mikkelsen having the juiciest role. The show’s motif of naming each episode after a culinary serving tied into dinner scenes of Hannibal serving his guests meals of questionable origin never became tired. They never failed to make me uneasy.
One of the pitfalls the show avoided that I expected was the episodes to be driven by stand alone murder investigations tied to an over arcing season long serialized thread. Instead the story was driven the other way around. Each episode was part of the gestalt of the season long story behind which stood Hannibal manipulating everyone especially Will.
Given Will’s tenuous hold on his mental state I pondered how the series would be able to go beyond this season with Will often seen in a state of not only mental but physical distress: disheveled and sweat soaked. The toil on his character was not sustainable in the long term. There seemed to be no plausible story line with any longevity.
But Bryan Fuller brings the close of the first season to the only possible end point that allows for a second season. A second season that I am very excited to see where the show goes next. Will Graham is locked away and viewed as insane by the world but Will knows that Lectern was behind it all. It’s a stunning reversal of all the previous incarnations of the two characters.
Brilliant Bryan Fuller! Brilliant.
In Part 3 we avoid the clutches of Mr. Slaughter.