Hannibal: Is the New NBC TV Series Worth Watching?

Hannibal TV showTonight, NBC unveils Hannibal, their latest attempt at finding a show that will attract decent ratings Thursday nights at 10pm. Will it be a success or will it be quickly cancelled like Do No Harm? Is it worth watching?

Hannibal is based on the novels by Thomas Harris and focuses on the partnership between FBI criminal profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Doctor Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), a forensic psychiatrist who’s also a cannibalistic serial killer. The cast also includes Laurence Fishburne, Caroline Dhavernas, Aaron Abrams, Hettienne Park, Scott Thompson, and Lara Jean Chorostecki.

Here’s what some television critics have to say about the show:

LA Times: “For fans of Silence of the Lambs there is some pleasure in gathering the canonical Easter eggs planted throughout the series, but for the most part Hannibal suffers from the same fatal flaw as its main character: It takes itself so seriously that it’s no fun at all.”

Star-Ledger: “It takes itself so seriously, yet is so far-fetched, from Lounds’ gonzo journalism to Graham’s intuitive leaps to the cavalcade of Grand Guignol crime scenes to the pretentious dialogue. (When asked what it’s like to put himself in the place of a killer, Graham answers: “It’s like I’m talking to a shadow suspended on dust.”) Ultimately, the artfully staged but repellent murders is what did me in. I just don’t have a taste for Hannibal.

Salt Lake Tribune: “I hated the pilot of Hannibal so much I watched four more episodes. (Ah, the trials of being a TV critic.) And I’ll admit I didn’t hate them as much… although that may have been because I was becoming accustomed to the carnage. But Hannibal remains the least pleasant network drama I’ve seen in a long time.”

Washington Post: “The corpses are flayed, filleted and fancifully splayed in NBC’s artful but excessively dour Hannibal, which is what’s for dinner Thursday night. You’d be forgiven for not really having the appetite for it. American culture has plenty of recent, real-life mass slayings to work with, mull over and reconcile — as well as a gun issue to resolve — but scripted television won’t go anywhere near that.”

NY Post: “The series is the most beautifully shot and produced show on network TV, with many scenes simply and literally breathtaking — especially, believe it or not, when they find a field planted with humans to act as mushroom compost… That being said, the thing that does give this show its grounding is the acting. Dancy is a perfect, tortured soul; Fishburne is everyman with a brain; and Mads Mikkelsen is perfectly named. What is lacking, though, is any respite from the darkness. Even the killing machine on Dexter (Michael C. Hall) has an absurd sense of humor.”

Newsday: “It’s easy, or at least tempting, to admire the artistry of his grisly craftsmanship until a thought slowly forms, then gradually takes hold: Hannibal isn’t quite the sum of its admittedly evocative parts. The story is often strained, or like that poor synth operator, overextended; the shocks tend to be operatic – oversold as opposed to a deft sudden jolt to emotional solar plexus.”

Boston Globe:Hannibal essentially follows the same blueprint as The Following, as the gang of agents run from crime scene to crime scene to hospital room wondering how the killer slipped through their fingers yet again. Both shows suggest that serial killers are a cult-like group of individuals — including charismatic leaders — and that the detectives who go after them are broken and obsessed. And both shows are compelling, shocking, gruesome, and, ultimately, hollow.”

So, what do you think? Do you plan on watching Hannibal? If you’ve already seen the show, do you plan on watching again? Is it worth the airtime?

UPDATE: Here are the premiere ratings.

Canceled and renewed TV show

9 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Lizabeth says

    “Hannibal” is exceptionally good. The acting is strong, and the scenes are beautifully constructed. I am hoping that the show will gain a following, as it seems that the creative team have an exciting plan for where the storyline will go. I will definitely be watching the series for its entire run–hopefully it will be a long one!

  2. Johnny says

    Chose not to watch given NBC’s propensity to cancel new series. I’m not going to invest any amount of time watching a new show that will eventually get the ax after a handful of episodes. NBC has already canceled some of my favorites and looks to be doing the same with a few others. So what’s the point in watching NBC programming? I will not be watching any more new series until they’re an established hit with multiple seasons under the belt.

  3. diane says

    I rather watch Deception before watching another show promoting violence etc..A show can never compare to the original movies.

  4. Alicia says

    NBC will most likely cancel it because they put it on a Thursday night wich no one really watches, not a whole lot of advertising I didn’t relize it was even starting this week, there’s no trace of it on demand and the first episode is not even available on their website. I thought it was good and maybe it will do better if they replaced some of the crappy shows like smash with it. Grimm did good cause it was around the same time as once upon a time and it was available.

  5. Christy C says

    As a fan of the films, I was really looking forward to this series. Surprisingly, I did enjoy the pilot and I don’t usually like pilot episodes. Was it a little gory for my tastes? Definitely. But it’s HANNIBAL, so the whole gore issue wasn’t really a surprise.
    I also really enjoyed the performances put on by Dancy and Mikkelsen, especially when they were on screen together. Needless to say, I’ll be watching this show as long as it airs. :)

  6. Barney says

    I just finished watching the pilot episode of Hannibal. I thought it was tastefully done. Yes, it was a little dramatic, but then again, it was the first episode of a mythos that is itself over dramatic. I enjoyed every minute of the show. Especially any scene with Mikkelsen. He did a phenomenal job of portraying Dr. Lecter.

    Put aside any preconceived notions about NBC. The show was great and had me wanting more.

  7. Rena Moretti says

    It’s on NBC, so even if it were genius, it’d have trouble finding an audience.

    People just don’t expect quality from NBC any longer (all those years of telling audiences it’s the “series you must watch” only to find a crappy show like The Office have taken their toll).

    Further, it’s a remake, and a remake NBC liked so little it didn’t want it in the regular season where it was laden with hideous shows like Whitney.

    It NBC thinks it’s worse than Revolution, why would people give it a chance?

    NBC needs to re-brand and start over with audiences before it’s too late (if it isn’t already), but the new owner are playing the same sick games with Late Night hosts as the old owners used to.

    It’s a horrible signal to send when you are the #4 network and looking to be passed by Univision soon if not for Football broadcasts…

  8. says

    I am a fan of all the “Hannibal” movies, films and “Thomas Harris” books. So I will be following the television show, one has to admit..the attempt alone in my book, should be applauded. So I hope it will take off….and hopefully do great!!!!

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