I admit to having my qualms about Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal. Thomas Harris’ books still remained in my memory, along with their adaptations. How much more can a show do?
I watched Manhunter, the first movie to feature Hannibal Lecter, at 16 or 17. I only knew it as the one directed by the guy behind Miami Vice, plus two thumbs up on an episode of At The Movies on PBS. The idea of a FBI agent thinking like a serial killer fascinated me. Later I saw The Silence of the Lambs, and started to devour the books. I read ‘Silence’ on a road trip to Fargo, even anxious to return to the book after day-long shopping bouts. I read Red Dragon afterwards, Francis Dolarhyde taking his place along with Jamb Gum as the antagonist. I had trouble with Gum, but Francis deepened the question about what makes a killer. What makes an ordinary man commit evil acts? Mason Verger had his introduction through the audiobook for Hannibal, keeping me company on my drive to work. He’s just thoroughly despicable, with Harris himself reading his parents in that gulp-y voice. It’s the first time, after getting information about the character, I ever thought hmm..Hannibal may have done something right. The rest of the novel, especially its twist on Clarice, left me cold.
In the fall, after people recommended the show on Netflix, pneumonia finally given me the time to watch its first two seasons on Netflix. After watching Pushing Daisies, Heroes, Wonderfalls,and Dead Like Me‘s first season, the name ‘Bryan Fuller’ usually means I will go for a heck of a ride.
He did not disappoint.
I feasted on the dark comedy, the elaborate tableaus, the equally elaborate meals prepared by Dr. Lecter, and the relationship between Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen). In fact I would call this show fanfic of the highest order. Everything in the first two-and-a-half seasons built itself towards a retelling of the Red Dragon story line. In the back of my mind I wished the actor good luck in trying to make it his own.
Then the news Richard Armitage signed on for the role made me squeak with excitement. Most of all it will finally bury the cravat for the time being. I like period dramas like the next woman, but from time to time performers need to shed the clothing, and his case he will do that literally, and go completely nuts. Guy of Gisbourne on Robin Hood gave people a taste of a sympathetic bastard. Francis Dolarhyde goes beyond ‘sympathetic bastard’ to a character inspiring understanding while inspiring numerous gasps. I will say ‘yikes’ a lot during the course of the run.
Lurking around the net, I did notice a few people yearning for a return to period pieces. I understand the plea, and its appeal, especially as Sam Heughan and Aidan Turn storm the air waves. I look for growth. I guess as someone on a quest for growth, I hope to look at people trying to do so in their own fields. From what I saw of the trailer for the upcoming arc, the Great Red Dragon may show the Master of Marlborough Mills who really can set a scene on fire.
I am looking forward to it.