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Published at: Sept. 25, 2013, 11 p.m. CST

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New This Week

Hannibal FAQ

Who’s responsible?
Bryan Fuller, creator of “Dead Like Me,” “Wonderfalls” and “Pushing Daisies.”

Is this a prequel to the 1986 Michael Mann movie “Manhunter”?
In a sense. “Manhunter,” which introduced Hannibal The Cannibal to movie audiences, is based on the 1981 Thomas Harris novel “Red Dragon.” This series is a prequel of sorts to both “Red Dragon” and its sequel, “The Silence of the Lambs.” The series begins three or four years before the events of “Red Dragon.”

[Fun fact: Producer Dino De Laurentiis changed the title from “Red Dragon” to “Manhunter” because his Mickey Rourke cop movie “Year of the Dragon” had just flopped. Pretty much everyone else involved with the production hated the title change.]

Am I do understand Caroline Dhavernas (“Wonderfalls”) plays Alan Bloom?
She plays forensic psychiatrist and FBI consultant Alana Bloom, thanks to one of the Starbuck-ish gender switches this series employs. Episode two introduces tattlecrime.com blogger Fredericka “Freddie” Lounds. Male Freddie Loundses were played by Stephen Lang and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in the movies. They also worked for print outlets.

The big news?
The title character doesn’t show until midway through the first episode. The series’ central character, as in the book “Red Dragon,” is Graham, played rather differently in the movies by William Petersen and Edward Norton.

How does Dancy play Graham differently?
This Graham is far more socially awkward, which I understand is truer to the Graham of the novel. He may even have Aspergers or a another strain of autism.

What else is NBC not telling us?
Mikkelsen (“Casino Royale”) does not look like the movie Lecters played by Brian Cox and Anthony Hopkins, nor does he sound like them. The Danish actor brandishes a much thicker European accent. Again, this is consistent with the books, which explain that Lecter was raised in Lithuania and France and didn’t come to America to begin his residency in Baltimore until he was in his twenties.

[Fun Fact: Mandy Patinkin (“Ragtime,” “Yentl”), Brian Dennehy (“First Blood,” “Silverado”), John Lithgow (“Footloose,” “2010”), and William Petersen’s “To Live And Die In L.A.” director William Friedkin were all considered to play Hannibal Lecktor in “Manhunter.”]

How does it start?
With Graham recalling a particularly horrific crime scene. The opening introduces us to the lightsaber/windshield-wiper effect that helps show us how Graham enters the minds of highly skilled murderers.

What’s great?
There’s a level of detail here that, frankly, most viewers will miss the first time out – and most TV series would never bother with.

Somebody at the network realized “The Walking Dead” is now by far the most popular series on television and permitted Fuller to embrace Thomas Harris’ horror and make the goriest series ever broadcast on NBC.

Also? The brisk pace, which keeps the pilot fast-forwarding to “the good parts.” The surprisingly naked young corpses. (Remember all the shit “NYPD Blue” caught a few years ago just for showing a little buttcrack?) The torment that Dancy brings to Graham. Fishburne’s much more complex version of FBI profiling chief Jack Crawford. Hettienne Park’s perversely flirty hair and fiber expert Beverly Katz generally, and the way she smiles when she asks Graham if he’s unstable.

Graham’s roommates. The Quantico men’s room. The Evil Minds Research Museum. The towels. Lecter’s office. Lecter’s regard for Dan Folger’s tissue. “Kids in the Hall” icon Scott Thompson, surprisingly effective in a mostly dramatic role. “And this is when it gets truly horrifying for Mrs. Marlowe.” “That’s not exactly true, is it?” “She looks like the other girls.” “How’s the cat?” “I do when I’m in your company, doctor.” “So do forts.” “Who’s profile is he working on?” “I’m pretty sure she was alive.” “You will.” “The finest china used only for special guests.”

So much about the pilot’s final five minutes.

What’s not so great?
Candidly, Mads’ accent is thick enough that I have a little trouble understanding him sometimes. (The guy who plays Jaime Lannister on “Game of Thrones” is Danish too, so I’m hopeful this will resolve itself the longer Mikkelsen is in the states. In the meantime, I’ll be watching with the closed-captioning on.) Also, why the knots in Lecter’s neckties almost as big as his head?

How does the pilot end, spoiler boy?
“You said he wouldn’t get too close!”

Hitfix says:

... I went into "Hannibal" dreading it and came away five episodes later thrilled by it. … So what makes "Hannibal" so special? Start with Bryan Fuller … "Hannibal" is the last of this season's serial killer shows. It's also, by a very wide margin, the best.

The New York Times says:

... The titular cannibal is now played by the Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, who provides some all-purpose creepiness but is so spectacularly inexpressive that he’s practically the anti-Hopkins. The humor in his performance stems from that inscrutability. … It has free-flowing blood and some startling images — a naked woman impaled on a rack of antlers stands out — but the carnage is so heavily art-directed that it doesn’t have that much impact. …

The Chicago Sun-Times says:

... Bloody and twisted, “Hannibal” may be one of the goriest programs on broadcast television. It’s also extremely well executed, from the artistic visuals and haunting soundtrack to the stellar cast and sharp scripts peppered with the perfect amount of gallows humor. Deliciously disturbing, “Hannibal” is bound to leave viewers hungry for more. …

The San Francisco Chronicle says:

... Hannibal moves at a snail's pace to build tension. At the same time, there's an obvious attempt to counter its inertia with a lot of very intrusive soundtrack music.... Fortunately, Dancy's performance is terrific and more than enough to maintain our interest, with or without elks. …

The Washington Post says:

... it’s up to “Hannibal,” as conceived by Bryan Fuller (who created “Pushing Daisies” and wrote episodes of “Heroes”), to improve on and possibly advance the genre. In some ways it succeeds, mainly in terms of mood and pacing. … aspires to be something better than the average network crime procedural, and it shows. …

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:

... turns out to be a fairly serialized show with elements of tonight’s first case continuing into future episodes. This gives the show a welcome depth but it may surprise (and confuse?) viewers who have come to expect more procedural crime dramas on broadcast channels. … Fuller is a gifted TV writer whose past efforts include “Pushing Daises,” “Wonderfalls” and “Dead Like Me.” His attempts to build and deepen the characters in “Hannibal” – particularly Crawford and his wife (Gina Torres) later in the season – make “Hannibal” something more than a killer-of-the-week crime drama. But this show is also prone to gaping plot holes. …

The Boston Herald says:

... works in spite of the cannibal shrink, not because of him. …

The Boston Globe says:

... Really, there is nothing in the NBC series that isn’t rank and depressing. On that level, “Hannibal” is quite a triumph. …

USA Today says:

... if you stay, you just may find yourself captivated by a trio of strong performances from Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy and Laurence Fishburne — and entranced by the fevered-dream spell cast by creator Bryan Fuller, the brilliant TV auteur behind Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls. … Devour it while you can.

Variety says:

... it’s clear that showrunner Bryan Fuller has brought a semi-hypnotic quality to this prequel adaptation …

 

 

TV-on-Disc Calendar

Last Week
Adventure Time Vol. 5
Annoying Orange Vol. 3
Arrow 1.x
Arrow 1.x (Blu-ray)
Bates Motel 1.x
Bates Motel 1.x (Blu-ray)
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Dalziel & Pascoe 8.x
Doctor Who: Ice Warriors
Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka
Green Acres 3.x
Grimm 2.x
Grimm 2.x (Blu-ray)
Harbor Command: The Complete Series
Heartland 3.x
The Hollow Crown: The Complete Miniseries
Leverage 5.x
The Mentalist 5.x
Nashville 1.x
Sofia the First: Ready to Be a Princess
Top Gear: Worst Car in the History of the World
Vegas: The Complete Series
Waking The Dead 8.x
Wild Things: Creepy Crawlers
Wild Things: Deadliest Critters

This Week


American Dad Volume 8


Cagney & Lacey Vol. 4


DC Super Villains: Superman: Worlds at War
DeGrassi: The Next Generation 10.x-12.x


Doctor Who 7.x


Doctor Who 7.x (Blu-ray)


Family Guy Vol. 11


Foyle's War Vol. 7


Gene Simmons Family Jewels 7.x


Hannibal 1.x


Hannibal 1.x (Blu-ray)


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Hawaii Five-0 3.x (Blu-ray)


In The Flesh 1.x


Law & Order SVU 14.x


Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers


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Modern Family 4.x (Blu-ray)


Mod Squad 3.x


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Scooby-Doo: 13 Spooky Tales Ruh-Roh Robot


South Park 16.x


South Park 16.x (Blu-ray)


The Tomorrow People Vol. 1


2 Broke Girls 2.x


Two and a Half Men 10.x


Zach Stone Is Gonna Be Famous: The Complete Series

Next Week


Arthur C. Clarke Collection: World of Strange Powers


Awkward 1.x/2.x


Beauty and the Beast 1.x
Beetlejuice: A Halloween Spooktacular
The Big Bang Theory 1.x (Blu-ray)
The Big Bang Theory 2.x (Blu-ray)
Cagney & Lacey Vol. 4
Cagney & Lacey Vol. 5
Charlie Brown Thanksgiving


China Beach 1.x
Diagnosis Murder 5.x


Doctor Who: Doctors Revisited 5-8
Donkey Kong Country: Raiders of the Lost Banana


Downton Abbey: 1.x-3.x U.K. Limited Edition (Blu-ray)
Glee 4.x


Glee 4.x (Blu-ray)
Heathcliff 1.x Vol. 2


Hell's Kitchen 10.x


How I Met Your Mother 8.x
Littlest Pet Shop: Pet-acular Escapades
Magnum PI: The Complete Series


Mod Squad 4.x
Murder, She Wrote: The Complete Series


New Girl 2.x
Phineas & Ferb: Mission Marvel
Snoopy's Holiday Collection
Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters: The Complete Series
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 3
Tom & Jerry's Winter Wackiness
Wings 1.x/2.x

October 8
Aaahh!!! Real Monsters: The Complete Series
Adventure Time Vol. 3
American Horror Story 2.x


American Horror Story 2.x (Blu-ray)


Avengers Assemble: Assembly Required


The Avengers: The Complete Emma Peel Megaset
Bones 8.x


Bones 8.x (Blu-ray)
Centennial: The Complete Series


Doctor Who: Terror of the Zygons
An Evening At The Improv: Best Of
Inspector Gadget 1.x
Inspector Gadget 2.x
Inspector Lewis 1.x-6.x
MacKenzie's Raiders: The Complete Series
The Middle 3.x
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: A Very Minty Christmas


90210 5.x
Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special
Power Rangers Super Samurai: A Christmas Wish
Psych 7.x
Robot Chicken 6.x


Robot Chicken 6.x (Blu-ray)
Scooby-Doo Mystery Inc. 1.x
The Secret of Crickley Hall: The Complete Miniseries


The Six Million Dollar Man 4.x


Super Friends 6.x
Super Mario World: The Complete Series
Totally Spies 2.x
Totally Spies 1.x-3.x
Transformers Prime: Predacons Rising
Transformers Prime: Predacons Rising (Blu-ray)
White Collar 4.x

October 15
Anger Management: Episodes 11-32
Anger Management: Episodes 11-32 (Blu-ray)
Arrested Development: Three Original Seasons
Beverly Hills Teens Vol. 2


Bewitched: The Complete Series ($38.99)
Defiance 1.x


Defiance 1.x (Blu-ray)
DeGrassi The Next Generation 12.x
Gentle Ben 1.x
Gravity Falls: Six Strange Tales
Hart of Dixie 2.x
Highway To Heaven 2.x
The Honeymooners: The Classic 39 Episodes (Blu-ray)


I Dream of Jeannie: The Complete Series ($31.99)
In Cold Blood: The Complete Miniseries
The IT Crowd: The Complete Series
It's A Spongebob Squarepants Christmas (Blu-ray)
Kung Fu Panda Vol. 2
Last of the Summer Wine: Vintage 2000
Monsters Vs. Aliens Vol. 1
The New Three Stooges: Complete Cartoon Collection


The Partridge Family: The Complete Series ($31.99)
Rocko's Modern Life 4.x
Smurftastic Journey
Space Rangers: Complete Collection
Star Wars: The Clone Wars 5.x


Star Wars: The Clone Wars 5.x (Blu-ray)
Star Wars: The Clone Wars 1.x-5.x


Star Wars: The Clone Wars 1.x-5.x (Blu-ray)
Superhuman Samurai Syber Squad Vol. 2
Vikings 1.x


Vikings 1.x (Blu-ray)

October 22


Call The Midwife 1.x/2.x NEW!!
The Doris Day Show: Best Of
Family Affair: Best Of
Kindred The Embraced: The Complete Series
The Mothers-In-Law: Best Of
Nikita 3.x


Nikita 3.x (Blu-ray)
Primeval The New World: Complete Series
Primeval The New World: The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
Silk Stalkings 6.x-8.x
Transformers Rescue Bots Vol. 3
The Young Riders 2.x

October 29
Burning Love 1.x


Cook's Country 6.x NEW!!
Damages: The Complete Series
Family Tree 1.x
Inspector Gadget Saves Christmas


Spiral 2.x NEW!!

November 5
Absolutely Fabulous: The Complete Series Special Edition
Ben 10 Omniverse Vol. 3
Beverly Hills 90210: The Complete Series
Boy Meets World: The Complete Collection
Dexter 8.x


Dexter 8.x (Blu-ray)
Dexter: Complete Series


Dexter: Complete Series (Blu-ray)


Dexter: Complete Series Gift Set (Blu-ray)


Doctor Who 1.x-7.x Gift Set (Blu-ray)


Duck Dynasty: I'm Dreaming Of A Redneck Christmas
Family Ties: The Complete Series


Ice Road Truckers 7.x NEW!!
I Love Lucy: Colorized Christmas
Keeping Up Appearances: Collector's Edition
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Mad Men 6.x


Mad Men 6.x (Blu-ray)
Magical Smurf Adventure 2


Naked City: The Complete Series


Robotech: The Complete Set NEW!!
Saved By The Bell: The Complete Collection


Seinfeld: The Complete Series ($134.99)
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Weeds: The Complete Collection (Blu-ray)

November 12
Combat: The Complete Series
Grizzly Adams: The Capture Of
Mad TV 4.x
Merlin: The Complete Series Gift Set
The Paradise 1.x
The Paradise 1.x (Blu-ray)


Power Rangers 8.x-12.x
Power Rangers Zeo Vol. 1
Sesame Street: Best Of
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Stan Lee's Superhumans 2.x NEW!!


Super Friends 4.x

November 19
Doctor Who: The Tenth Planet
Here's Edie
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Peter Gunn 3.x


Star Trek The Next Generation 5.x (Blu-ray)


Star Trek The Next Generation: Unification (Blu-ray)
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Twilight Zone: The Complete Series (No Extras)

November 26
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Mystery Science Theater 3000 XXVIII: 25th Anniversary Edition

December 3


Doctor Who: Doctors Revisited - Ninth to Eleventh


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Hawaii Five-0: The Complete Series
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Mary Hartman Mary Hartman: The Complete Series
Transformers Prime 3.x


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December 10
Ancient Aliens: Best Of NEW!!


Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special: The Day of the Doctor NEW!!


Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special: The Day of the Doctor (Blu-ray 3D / Blu-ray) NEW!!


Futurama Vol. 8
The Game 6.x NEW!!
The Gene Autry Show: The Complete Series
The Universe: Best Of NEW!!

December 17
Shameless 3.x

December 31


Californication 6.x NEW!!

January 7
Copper 2.x
Copper 2.x (Blu-ray)


The Following 1.x


The Following 1.x (Blu-ray)

January 28
Downton Abbey 4.x


Downton Abbey 4.x (Blu-ray)

February 18
Game Of Thrones 3.x


Game Of Thrones 3.x (Blu-ray)


Game Of Thrones 3.x Limited Edition (Blu-ray)

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