So far, the Hannibal tv series is shaping up to be the most mind bending ongoing series. At first many were sceptical if we really needed another Hannibal. After all, we already had five movie adaptations. Plus, not only has Thomas Harris not published anything new on our favorite antagonist, but also he was nowhere near the production of this series. Regardless, Bryan Fuller’s reimagining expands on and is filling in a lot of the Hannibal world’s missing gaps. Currently, the series takes place before the events depicted in Red Dragon although the series still focuses on the Red Dragon protagonist Will Graham, played by Hugh Dancy. The series focuses on Graham’s ability to deeply connect with serial killers. This connection gives him the ability to figure out motivation and therefore intricately create a psychological profile of the killers. However, this series elaborates on how Graham can’t simply turn off his empathic ability, and we see Graham’s mental state slip his motivations into a psychotic abyss. The writers narrative use of the Unreliable Narrator storytelling beautifully emphasises Graham’s deteriorating sanity. This is actually what makes the series stand apart from the other adaptations. Previously, we saw Will Graham use this ability, but when the hunt was over, he would often return to his previous sane state of mind.
When Hannibal Lector, played by Mads Mikkelsen, meets Will Graham, Lector, being a cold-blooded sociopath, finds Graham’s ability completely fascinating. First, Lector tries to emulate Graham’s ability by duplicating the murders of serial killers, which leads him to being called the copycat killer. This is another creative reimagining. Although copycat killers have been used in countless psychological thrillers, this one definitely has its own unique flavor. Also, we watch Lector establish the same social and professional bonds of Graham. However, his main motivation is to finally find a person who can connect and understand Hannibal Lector. This is where Lector’s infamous Cat and Mouse interaction starts bleeding through. Throughout the series we see Lector manipulate Graham into not only understanding Lector’s twisted point of view but also carry out the same murderous behaviors.
The production’s mise-en-scene is similar to Swedish Noir style which dreadfully enhances the fact that Hannibal Lector’s cold shadow is cast upon all the players of this series. The murder scenes are elaborate macabre art shows which could’ve gained praise from Salvadore Dali. There are times I find myself scratching my head wondering how this show is being broadcast on NBC’s primetime. If Hannibal keeps up the momentum, Fuller has plans on devoting a season to every Hannibal chapter. I for one cannot wait to see the introduction of Clarice, the reimagining of Hannibal, and how he will tie Will Graham back into everything. The great thing about stories that already have a pre-established ending is that it gives the creators more time to focus on how to flesh out everything that came before. Right now, Bryan Fuller has convinced me that Hannibal Lector’s story is worth going back to.