NBC’s Hannibal, the most recent of many on-screen adaptations of Thomas Harris’ book series about the ghastly gourmand, Hannibal Lecter, begins its third season in June. While it’s not an exact adaptation by any means, it is a highly imaginative and engaging piece of work in its own right. If you haven’t yet sampled this delightfully deranged series, right now is the perfect time to binge on seasons one and two. What better way to catch up with the so-called “Chesapeake Ripper” than through your local Chesapeake library?
Hannibal is a highly stylized and visually arresting take on the Hannibal Lecter universe, which I first discovered through the movie Silence of the Lambs. Consulting detective, Will Graham (played by Hugh Dancy), is brought into the FBI to solve a series of grisly murders. Since the first two seasons take place before the events of the first book, Red Dragon, most of the characters don’t know yet that renowned psychiatrist, Dr. Lecter himself (played by Mads Mikkelsen), is the killer they’re looking for. However, the audience does know, and the writers know we know, so we’re treated to a hurricane of food-related puns and other clever asides throughout the show while Lecter winks sardonically across the fourth wall.
On that note, here’s something you might not expect in a TV series about a cannibal: it’s funny. And not just because of the food puns. Creator and showrunner Bryan Fuller (no relation–at least none that I’m aware of) has an intuitive understanding of how fandom works, and involves the “Fannibals” at every turn–posting fun behind-the-scenes facts on Twitter during the live broadcasts, storming the voting booths for contests like Hulu’s “Best In Show,” and encouraging people to create fan art and speculate on where the story’s going next. It’s a deeply engaging and vibrant culture that has kept the show going mostly on the strength of the fan community, not to mention the enthusiastic and macabre humor of the entire cast and crew.
The visuals, cinematography, sound design and acting are all excellent, which means there’s something to enjoy in the story even if you don’t get involved in fandom culture. So if you have a strong stomach and a taste for terror, don’t be afraid to try this out.
Place your hold for Season One here.
Place your hold for Season Two here.
Or start at the beginning, with Red Dragon, here.