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.


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6 thoughts on “Hannibal: The Chesapeake Ripper Strikes Again

  1. Laurel,

    I am so happy to see a post on Hannibal which is one the best shows on television today (if not THE best). Red Dragon one of my favorite novels of all-time and getting to spend more time with Will Graham is a special treat, especially with the characterization that Fuller and actor, Hugh Dancy have given the character.

    Yet the real star of the show is clearly the titular character of Hannibal, who is played extraordinarily by Mads Mikkelsen. Slowly, he is becoming my favorite actor to have ever portrayed the infamous cannibal. Don’t get me wrong, Anthony Hopkins is an irrefutable icon in that role, but Mikkelsen is making it his own.

    You are so right in regards to the group effort on this one. Everything is on point and it pushes the boundaries of what Network television can achieve. It is absolutely delectable. I only hope it survives to achieve Brian Fuller’s full vision. At least we will see the “Dragon” this coming seasons, played by none other than Thorin Oakensheild himself, Richard Armitage.

    Fun Fact: Brian Fuller is considering heading a television series on Dario Argento’s Susperia (1977)! I can only imagine.

  2. Hey Joe,

    Definitely one of my favorites! In fact, it’s the only show I’m committed to watching as it airs, which I don’t always get the opportunity to do. It took me a while though, and several of my friends assuring me I’d love it, before I got on board–sometime after Season One came out on DVD.

    I heard about Suspiria! Can’t wait to see what he does with that, since it’s so visually interesting to begin with.

  3. YES! Hannibal is by far one of my favorite TV shows out there. Constantly decimating comfort zones for even today’s audience. I still can’t get the imagery out of the opening scene of the “painter” episode *shudder* The style and writing are absolutely stunning and can I gush any more about the raven feathered stag they use throughout the seasons?? I’m a real sucker for any sort of antler imagery/symbolism.

    I’ve always found Hugh Dancy to be super endearing, but watching his downward spiral into madness is my favorite performance I’ve seen of him yet. Gillian Anderson as the therapist was both welcomed and unexpected and I’m looking forward to seeing how they develop her story more in the third season. I totally agree with you Joe, it’s Mads performance that really captivates you. You want to find him despicable….and yet somehow he manages to charm you into insanity.

    I’m on my seat until June as well. I have some worries though as to how they can keep topping such a high bar they continue to ramp up for themselves. Every episode gets more gruesome and clever and I’m wondering if it’s sustainable?

    1. I have all the same hopes, and all the same concerns! I hope they can keep up the pace, but they sure set the bar nice and high for themselves right from the beginning. I’m annoyed that Michael Pitt isn’t going to be on board as Mason Verger anymore–he’s one of my favorite actors of our generation–but I’m SO curious to see where the story goes next. It’s going to be exciting, that’s for sure!

  4. Can we just talk for a minute about how FANTASTIC the first episode of Season Three was? Once again, this show looks to top and reinvent itself. I loved everything about it, from how it played with time up to how it left last years cliffhanger unresolved.

    Such a bold season premiere and further evidence for this being THE best show on television at the moment. Plus Hannibal has the best style on the face of the planet, followed closely by Gillian Anderson as Bedelia.

    I cannot wait to see where this journey takes us.

    1. I just watched this morning on the laptop and lets say that tiny screen did not do it justice. Every scene feels like it was cut from some fancy art film and it makes me feel like my life is incredibly drab.

      I honestly want to steal Gillian Andersons wardrobe in every scene.

      I’m still waiting for my WILL GRAHAM!

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