The very mention of the name “Hannibal” can incite fear or repulsion.
For more than 30 years, Thomas Harris’ creation, Hannibal Lecter, has inspired strong emotions.
Hannibal “The Cannibal” is much more than what is “seen” on the surface.
His cannibalistic tendencies and murderous intentions left no one safe in Harris’ books — apart from two individuals for whom Lecter seemed to have affection, Will Graham and Clarice Starling.
Even so, the Hannibal literature and movies are among my favorites.
So imagine my excitement when I heard about the creation of a new “Hannibal” television show.
Unfortunately, I waited too long to watch the show and it was canceled long before I finally got around to starting it.
The thing is, I am torn about this show — which I suspect also might be part of why it was canceled.
“Hannibal” was well received by critics and viewers, but overall viewership itself was lacking.
The television show took some pretty large liberties with both characters and story lines.
The show was filmed in such a way as to feel dark — not just through filters that made the video appear dark, but through other senses, as well.
The music used in the show somehow adds an element of desperation or unease.
In some tense situations, there is a sound that is vaguely reminiscent of a guitar string being stretched beyond its limitations.
There also are character hallucinations that make it difficult to tell where the reality of the show ends and Hannibal’s meddling begins.
Take care in watching, as this show is not intended for children or those who don’t like blood or who scare easily.
Not all change is bad…
Some changes in “Hannibal” were fine and average efforts were made to diversify characters.
For example, Jack Crawford always was a middle-aged white man who was authoritative in a way that was reminiscent of the 1950s.
In “Hannibal,” he is portrayed by Laurence Fishburne and is more aggressive than the books ever made him out to be.
Another example is Freddy Loundes. In the book “Red Dragon,” Freddy was a sleazy, womanizing man who worked for a tabloid and would do anything for a story.
But in “Hannibal,” Freddie has been transformed from a frumpy looking Phillip Seymour Hoffman to a stylish, red-haired woman who owns a gossip tabloid.
…but not all change is good
Such changes are somewhat commonplace in Hollywood, but there were more changes that, in my opinion, changed everything.
I won’t go into great detail, just in case you want to experience “Hannibal” for yourself, but I will highlight a couple of things that gave me pause:
- The timeline: It is wonky, for lack of better term. Nothing falls where you expect it to, according to the timelines of the books.
- Clarice Starling: In “Hannibal,” this character just does not exist. Don’t expect her to show up, either — you will be disappointed.
- Hannibal isn’t always in a cage: Be prepared — if you think Lecter was scary when he was taunting people from behind bars, just wait!
Despite its flaws, I would not have minded seeing this series continue.
But if “Firefly” fans have taught us anything, the impossible isn’t always that.
If enough interest was generated, I could see another network, or even Netflix or Amazon, eventually picking this series up and running with it.