Wednesday, April 3, 2013

'Hannibal' debuts Thursday on NBC

Ever since Anthony Hopkins scared audiences worldwide with his charismatic and blood thirsty cannibal Hannibal Lecter in ‘Silence of the Lambs’ three decades ago (yes, it’s been that long), fans have been clamoring for more and more Lecter.

The sequel, ‘Hannibal’ was a box office hit – if critical whipping boy – but the problems with that film actually stem from the source material itself. It just wasn’t a very good book.

 Since that time, Dr. Lecter has hit the big screen numerous times. Today, though, the diabolical villain is also hitting the small screen.

NBC’s ‘Hannibal’ explores the early relationship between Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and his patient, a young FBI profiler (Hugh Dancy).

The interesting thing about ‘Hannibal’ is that viewers are presented an interesting dichotomy: How do you root for  a character when you know he ends up evil and eating people?

Viewers were given a similar scenario with ‘Bates Motel’ earlier this year – with that show serving as a prequel to the popular ‘Psycho’ series.

So far, viewers have been responding well to ‘Bates Motel’ -- that show is a character study on
co-dependency, though.  I’m not sure that will be the case with ‘Hannibal.’ I'm really not sure what to expect from this show. It will all be a surprise.

While I love the idea of the source material, I’m not sure NBC was the network to carry it off. Do you really want to trust the network that brought us ‘Smash’? Yeah, me neither. Personally, I'm thinking 'Hannibal' belongs on cable, but that's just me.

Still, the premise of ‘Hannibal’ is interesting – and it has a dynamic cast. Dancy has made a name for himself over the years in a number of high-brow productions. He’s proven to be a capable actor.

The only thing I can honestly say I’ve seen Mikkelsen in is ‘King Arthur.’ There wasn’t much about that movie to like – but he was one of the few bright spots.

Rounding out the rest of the cast is Caroline Dhavernas as another doctor and Laurence Fishburne, as Agent Jack Crawford.

NBC is the big four network that is struggling the most, so if ‘Hannibal’ is even a modest hit – odds are NBC will pick it up. There isn’t much on its lineup that is buzz worthy – or even quality. Really, what does NBC have to offer besides ‘Parenthood’ and ‘Revolution’?

Sure, an argument can be made that ‘Law and Order: SVU’ used to be a quality television show – but that was like a decade ago. There is nothing else on the network worthy watching, though – unless you like ‘The Biggest Loser’ as a guilty pleasure.

I am happy with the ‘Bates Motel’ update – so I’m hoping I’m happy with ‘Hannibal,' as well.

The sad truth is, though, I don’t have any faith in NBC.

‘Hannibal’ debuts at 10 p.m. on April 4. The first season consists of 13 episodes.

What do you think? Do you think this show will succeed or fail?


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