Tonight, 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.