I can’t tell you the first time I watched Silence of the Lambs, but viewing it in my younger days I’ll always remember the unsettling sight of Buffalo Bill dancing to “Goodbye Horses” or the satanic eyes of Anthony Hopkins. For years I felt that Hannibal Lecter was the defining role of Anthony Hopkins’ career, even after sitting through the VERY disappointing Hannibal (More Prometheus Ridley Scott than Alien Ridley Scott) and Red Dragon (a Brett Ratner joint, nuff said).
While Hopkins won an Academy Award for his enthralling performance in SOTL, each subsequent performance as Hannibal became hammier and hammier. Nevertheless I stood by the series, hell I even saw Hannibal Rising in theaters. IN THEATERS.
Then on April 4th, 2013 everything changed.
Since the moment it debuted on NBC that spring I’ve been utterly obsessed with Bryan Fuller’s re-imagining of Hannibal, starring the magnetic Hugh Dancy as beleaguered FBI special investigator Will Graham and Mads Mikkelsen as the devil incarnate himself Hannibal Lecter.
How did a show like this get on NBC? How did Bryan Fuller turn well-worn, overwrought, and fatigued material into dynamic, must-see television? These answers I do not know, I merely bow to the altar of Hannibal and the delicious (pun) portrayal of Graham and Lecter and the romance between them. I mean these are two heterosexual men (at least in Will’s case. Hannibal only uses sex as a weapon of manipulation) but their completely fucked up relationship has such love and respect for one another you can’t help but root for them to just say fuck it and destroy the cannon and carve their own path Thomas Harris be damned.
I could go through all the wonderful characters, stellar cast, hauntingly beautiful imagery, and surprising twists but in the end I’d just be ruining the fun. In order to truly appreciate the world Bryan Fuller has created, you must–
WATCH. THIS. SHOW.
After the second season of Hannibal ended I immediately began going through withdrawals. I needed my fix. I went and bought Red Dragon to read cover to cover since Fuller’s vision of the series would eventually lead to The Tooth Fairy and because in the end I had grown to love Will Graham as a character just as much as Lecter himself.
I loved how the series took simple strands of dialogue and expanded upon that into full blown diversions while vastly expanding upon Will’s total empathy. I finished the book in a little over a week, but it still wasn’t enough.
I ended up buying Manhunter, the original Hannibal Lecktor film based on the Red Dragon novel starring Brian Cox as the imprisoned Hannibal and William Peterson as Will Graham. Directed by Michael Mann, I had a hard time getting over how 80s it was, despite me complaining about the lack of style from Brett Ratner’s direction of the same story.
I revisited Ratner’s version again after Manhunter, and the best thing to come out of that movie was Ralph Fiennes’ portrayal as Francis Dolarhyde by a country mile giving me hope for what Richard Armitage will do with the character when the Red Dragon storyline picks up in the back half of Season 3.
Oh yeah, did I mention that Hannibal Season 3 has FINALLY started? After last week’s premiere “Antipasto” I could honestly watch an entire Season of Hannibal living on the run with his gorgeous therapist/paramour/hostage Bedelia Du Maurier (the amazing Gillian Anderson), but even the late Dr. Abel Gideon knows the only person Hannibal truly wants to be with is Will Graham.
But don’t we all?