Friday, April 12, 2013

Review: NBC's "Hannibal"

I didn't get a chance to review NBC's "Hannibal" from the pilot last week, so I'll pick it up from here and offer my two cents based on two episodes.

I rather like it. It's dark and creepy, and definitely not for the faint of heart. Those images of antler-gorged bodies and mushroom arms are not going to go away anytime soon.

It's also smart, in that it knows it has an established character in Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and doesn't waste any time in telling us who he is as an individual. Instead, it spends that time establishing who he is with FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), and already I'm intrigued by the dynamic of the two of them. The second episode was all about making connections, and while Will was trying to forge a link with a girl in a coma and the Killer of the Week was reaching out through body mushrooms, it was Lecter who got through with a mutual understanding of what it's like to kill someone. And it's fun to know that the bond he's forging with Will is just part of a cat-and-mouse game.

I'm also intrigued that the show seems like it will largely focus on Will and his mental state. Will, who is close to Asperger's on the autism spectrum, has the ability to get into the minds of killers and has a specific process of doing so. The effects for that are cool -- an orange copy-machine-light pendulum that reverses time and allows him to go through the killer's actions and thought processes. It seems like a process he needs to complete uninterrupted from start to finish. And after being stopped mid-process in the pilot, he's been off balance and unsettled, stuck in some sort of middle plane.

Dancy is doing an amazing job so far of showing the darkness creeping into Will and the struggle of someone who has a hard time empathizing coming to terms with how he's feeling. Mikkelsen, who played up the creepy a bit too much in the pilot -- so much so that I was frustrated that other characters couldn't pick up on it -- dialed it back in the second episode and lays on a coolness that works much better. And the man knows how to enjoy a lung. Laurence Fishburne, playing FBI agent Jack Crawford, who recruits Will back into the field to help investigate these murders, so far is just a transplanted Ray Langston from "CSI," but it's early yet.

I have a few small gripes here and there, but "Hannibal" is getting a regular slot on my DVR.

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