Take a Drink: for religious symbolism and philosophical conversations
Take a Drink: whenever Will Graham empathizes or hallucinates
Take a Drink: for each grotesque human tableau
Take a Drink: for each disturbingly delectable-looking meal
Do a Shot: if you start to salivate a little
By: Henry J. Fromage (Two Beers) –
Recently, one of the strangest, most disturbing, most thoroughly dark shows in TV history got its almost certain death sentence. This show was broadcast on NBC.
Where Coach qualifies as new ideas
I’m talking about, of course, Hannibal, a TV adaptation of the iconic Thomas Harris novels about everybody’s favorite cannibal, Hannibal (Lecter), played by Mads Mikkelsen, and his dangerous dance with the nigh-on supernaturally empathetic FBI Profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy).
The cast encompasses many more characters than these two, delivered with remarkably uniform aplomb. When you manage to overshadow actors like Laurence Fishburne, Gillian Anderson, Eddie Izzard, Gina Torres, Richard Armitage, and the delightfully, disgustingly bizarre double team of Joe Anderson and Michael Pitt, you know you’re diong some special work, and Dancy did just that. Mikkelsen’s achievement is even more impressive, as he’s forced to stand toe to toe with one of cinema’s most iconic villains, or characters, period. For my money, he knocks him down, if not out.
There’s a Mike Tyson joke in here, somewhere
Even more impressive, though, is how showrunner and visionary Bryan Fuller and his writers, music department, cinematographers, and production team create a darkly gorgeous, macabre, and operatic world for his characters to inhabit. The melding of elliptical, punishing storytelling and beautiful, incredible, skin-crawling imagery is unlike anything else on television, and most anything on film for that matter. The closest corollary is Under the Skin– yep, somehow NBC swapped out nudity for gore and ran Under the Skin on network television for three years.
While there is plenty more source material, Hannibal does feel like it has run its course regarding its principal themes and character interactions. Also, especially this season, the cinematography can sometimes shade so dark as to be impossible to parse what’s going on.
Hannibal and Will, discussing the existence of the soul
Hannibal, you weird, terrifying butterfly, you will be missed.