Hannibal (Season 1) TV Show Review

I was first alerted to Hannibal by Tumblr and saw a lot of screenshots of it and thought it looked like an interesting show, so I decided to give it a try. Warning that this post may contain spoilers.

Hannibal is based on characters in Thomas Harris’s novel, Red Dragon (which I haven’t read) and is set five years prior to the beginning of the novel. It was developed by Bryan Fuller and is produced by Carol Dunn Trussel. The main cast includes Hugh Dancy (Special Agent Will Graham), Mads Mikkelsen (Dr. Hannibal Lecter), Caroline Dhavernas (Dr. Alana Bloom) and Laurence Fishburne (Special-Agent-in-charge Jack Crawford).

The main thing that strikes me about this show is the cinematography. Unlike most other crime shows it doesn’t glamourise brutal crimes or work as an FBI agent, it also doesn’t glamourise mental illness like many other shows do. Everything is shown with a crisp and cold sharpness. When a character has a nightmare, you feel it too. You feel the fear that they feel. When a character has severe psychological disorders you feel their confusion and horror. There are no fuzzy lines and warm colours in this show. It’s all very cold and empty. This feeling progresses as the show continues. It leaves you feeling, almost depressed after watching it. It shows the harsh realities of life without making up for it with happy moments. The main character, Will Graham, clings to anything or anyone he can to make himself feel more stable, and while watching the show I feel like doing the same. It is not a happy show, but it is a fascinating one.

It probably sounds like a lot of doom and gloom so far, but not all of the cinematography is dark. Every now and then it also shows you something beautiful where you wouldn’t expect it. These gifs for example which show a cup of tea:

The psychological analysis in the show is also incredible. It actually makes Hannibal, a cannibalistic, serial killer, likeable. He’s portrayed as a refined and intelligent man, and you can’t help but like him just a little. There is a deep analysis of several characters in the show, including him, that will keep your mind alert.

The acting is pretty much flawless. To be honest, while I’m watching the show I literally don’t think about the acting at all which means that it’s just seamless. It’s good. It’s unnoticeable, just the way it should be.

As far as the storyline goes, it’s very different to other crime shows. Most other crime shows focus on the actual crimes (which usually aren’t linked) and the life of the characters who figure out these crimes, are usually just a side not. In Hannibal, however, the characters are very much the focus of the story. The actual crimes are just events that occur. Saying this, the overall storyline tends to be fairly slow, also the pace does quicken towards the end of the season. The storyline surrounding the crimes tends to be faster-paced, even if they aren’t the show’s focus.

The music was composed by Brian Reitzell and while it isn’t that great by itself, it plays an extremely important part in setting the scene and giving the show that cold and dark feel that I’ve been going on about. The opening title is very indicative of the kind of music in the show:

Favourite character/actor:

Least favourite character/actor: I don’t think I have one… It’s really hard to decide. Characters which I never used to like at the start, I like now and vice versa. They’re all also acted really well so I think I’ll leave this one blank for the first time ever.

Favourite episode/scene: Relevés

Least favourite episode/scene: Potage

Rating; 4/5 stars

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4 thoughts on “Hannibal (Season 1) TV Show Review

  1. Elaine says:

    Great review! Throughout the beginning of the series I thought Brian Fuller would be religiously dropping Red Dragon bombs. I’m so glad he did not. It makes the plot more interesting. So excited for season 2!

    • mandarox says:

      Thank you for that 🙂 I’m very excited for season 2 as well. I’m glad about the lack of references to Red Dragon, mostly because I wouldn’t get them (having not read the book) but also because it might announce some spoilers that it expects watchers to already know. I think he’s assuming we haven’t read the book which in this case is a very good thing 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

  2. I absolutely agree on your opinions on the show. I f***ing loved it! And it just kept getting better and better the further along it went, culminating in a truly awesome finale. i can’t wait for the second season.

    Check out my review: http://kenikkiscorner.blogspot.se/2013/06/series-review-hannibal-season-1.html#more

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