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curled around these images
just enough to make us dangerous
8th-Jul-2013 11:00 pm
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I've just finished watching season one of Hannibal and I absolutely loved it. Now I have to share!

10 Reasons to watch Hannibal:

1. The acting is superb. Mads Mikkelsen is brilliant as Hannibal - he's the perfect psychopath. He sees himself above everybody else and yet comes across to those who meet him as completely charming and compassionate. Wonderfully creepy. Hugh Dancy as Will Graham is a man totally on the edge - barely keeping it together and yet manages to have brilliant insights. The acting for all the performers is top notch.

2. The chemistry between Hannibal and Will is electric. At times it feels like poetry between these two. They seem like good friends and yet we know Hannibal is totally playing Will. The manipulation creates an amazing tension.

3. The cinematography is stunning. The colouring, shot framing and juxtaposition is brilliant.

4. Its subject matter is intriguing (though highly disturbing). I suspect this would actually put many people off this show. But I love it (I have discovered I am drawn to the macabre). The crime scenes are gruesome and brutal. But they are also incredibly beautiful. It seems like a contradiction but because the show is about the artistry and the passion of the crime this is represented by the way the scenes are shot.

5. The score is haunting. It took me a while to realise that there is a constant low vibration running through all the scenes. Sometimes I found it a little overpowering but mostly I tuned it out. It enhances the underlying tension running through each episode.

6. ALL the characters are strong. I always love watching Lawrence Fishburne and he brings a lovely gravitas as Jack Crawford to the series. I LOVED watching Gillian Anderson as Hannibal's psychiatrist. So very different to Scully. And there's even a connection to Supernatural. The young girl in Sam's psych ward in The Born Again Identity (Kacey Rohl) plays a girl who spends much of her time in a mental ward. And then there's Eddie Izzard. Icing on the friggin' cake!

7. The story lines are compelling. There's a mix of MoTW and overall story arc. Most of the episodes ties into the overall arc (especially the character journeys) but there are also crimes to be solved each week.

8. There's food porn. I'm not a foodie but wow...I love watching the dishes that Hannibal prepares and serves his guests. Knowing what the dishes actually contain is totally creepy and disgusting - but I rather love that mix of artistry and horror.

9. There are connections to the film Silence of the Lambs. For anyone having seen that film will know Hannibal Lecter and will know what ends up happening to him. This all happens before that the events of that film and my understanding is that this is original material based on the characters created by Thomas Harris. There are some lovely moments during the season that I am sure are shouts outs to the film (I won't say too much for fear of spoiling).

10. Um...everything else! There's actually nothing I dislike so if there's anything I've missed then I like that too! Ooh...I didn't mention the psychology. I love all the psych discussions - especially surrounding the investigations of the serial killers. And the dream sequences - I didn't mention those.

Reasons for not watching:

This series will not be for everyone. It's very dark and there are very few light moments (er..if any). You are left feeling pretty drained after an episode. The crime scenes are truly gruesome and they seem to try and up the ante each week - getting more and more horrific. I felt so sorry for Will and just wanted to get in there and look after the poor man (um...also something I loved about it). The cannibalism will no doubt turn many a stomach - as it probably should. But for me it's this level of taboo that makes the series so engaging and interesting. It's heavy going though.

Images (none of these are mine)

Hannibal and Will

Food! Looks good but you wouldn't want to eat it...;)

Hannibal's place. The placement of the chairs are always used so effectively.

The recurring antler theme.

Horrific beauty.

Disturbing artistry.

If you're looking for something new to watch (and you like your tv on the macabre side) then I urge you to check it out.
8th-Jul-2013 03:17 pm (UTC)
I LOVE Hannibal, for all the reasons that you mentioned. It is such an evocative and provocative show. It truly fills me with anxiety just watching Will suffer and Hannibal manipulate him and all those around him. Great show!

Also - Tobias on Hannibal was Raphael on SPN. :)
9th-Jul-2013 12:12 am (UTC)
Oh yes, that's right! I knew I'd seen him somewhere before! :))
8th-Jul-2013 03:22 pm (UTC)
I can only agree with each and every one of your points. I am a fan of Bryan Fuller's shows, so I watched Hannibal right away when it started to air and I have been fascinated ever since. Each episode is like a piece of art, heavy with symbolism and double layers, it's amazing. ♥ It's the only show, though, where I can only ever watch one episode at a time. I can't deal with more than one, it's just too dark.
9th-Jul-2013 12:15 am (UTC)
Oh yeah - one episode at a time for sure. It's so dark and heavy. I usually need to switch to something light after an ep...;)

8th-Jul-2013 03:44 pm (UTC)
As a lover of Thomas Harris's "Red Dragon" and "Silence of the Lambs" (and the three movies that evolved from those two books), I suspected the series would be good. Alas, I watched only the first few episodes and then lost track.

Your thoughtful post has made me want to take it up again. :)
9th-Jul-2013 12:16 am (UTC)
I admit that I took a break after the first few episodes. It took me a little while to warm up to it. At about ep 8 I was totally sucked in and I could wait to see what happened in the end.
8th-Jul-2013 04:23 pm (UTC)
Oh no, you're not gonna make me watch another show, when I really don't have time for it. Uh uh. *shakes head* Totally not.
9th-Jul-2013 12:16 am (UTC)
HA!!! It's not quiiiite as pretty as Spartacus. ;))
9th-Jul-2013 03:22 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I wouldn't think so. Haha.
8th-Jul-2013 05:46 pm (UTC)
For me, the images are art but stomach-turning. The antler stuff is pretty interesting but I'm glad I don't know more details. I know I couldn't handle the violence. I actually have to filter the stuff on tumblr but I have to admit that the Hannibal fandom has a delightfully macabre sense of humor and they are fun to watch.
9th-Jul-2013 12:18 am (UTC)
Yeah - it definitely disturbing. And those images are the lighter ones.

I've been browsing the fandom stuff at tumblr and it can be pretty amusing. Also beautiful - some gorgeous artworks have come out of it.
8th-Jul-2013 06:42 pm (UTC)
I watched it, and am not planning on watching the next season.

1- Every character on the show is a sociopath/psychopath (they even come out and say it at one point). Even Will, in his own way. I can't empathize with anyone and dislike them all, except maybe Abby.

2- The show is populated by brilliant people who excel at their jobs... until they enter the same room as Hannibal, when they all inexplicably become idiots. I won't go into it here, because spoilers. :P

3- The show strikes me as not quite as clever as it thinks it is. Or else maybe it's just that it keeps telling the viewers how clever it is, which has the same effect on me. :P

4- I will say that it is visually stunning. The cinematography is brilliant, no question.

So, yeah. It's solid television, but the subject matter and the elements I cited above are the reasons I won't be watching more.
9th-Jul-2013 12:27 am (UTC)
Hee...clearly differing opinion then. ;)

1. If you dislike the characters then yeah, not easy to watch I suspect. I like the characters for exactly the reason you dislike them I think.

2. Hmmm..become idiots. I know a few times I've thought that they should have made the connection to Hannibal but I figure there wouldn't be much of a show if they worked it out too soon. Frustrating for sure I've enjoyed watching the ones who do work it out. Do you mean Jack? (just curious...) (the brain scan bit was the only thing that really jarred on me in terms of no one else knowing...)

3. Yeah - we'll have to agree to disagree on that one. I don't feel it tells us it's clever - actually, for me, I don't think of it as "clever" at all. Tightly written, with some interesting ideas but not exactly full of cleverness. (Hadn't considered that one, so still mulling that over...you could be right).

I can't wait for S2. Though I'm not sure I could sit through another season without him being discovered - so we'll see how they play that out.

Thanks for your thoughts. :)
8th-Jul-2013 09:56 pm (UTC)
I loved it, for all the reasons you cited above :)
9th-Jul-2013 12:27 am (UTC)
Yay! :)
9th-Jul-2013 02:19 am (UTC)
" Its subject matter is intriguing (though highly disturbing)"

THIS is while I've blocked Hannibal stuff on Tumblr. I just can't. Dexter was hard enough on me (I can't really watch that either.) I really very much dislike all the Hannibal movies (I recognize they are great and the acting is stellar, I just ... can't.)

I wish I could. But I just ... can't. I can't even bring myself to try an episode (which I was able to do with Dexter for a few eps.) And the photos I saw on Tumblr finally triggered me to finally learn Tumblr Savior. (Actually Hannibal AND that Mishapocolypse(whatever) that hit Tumblr many weeks ago; which was highly annoying even though I *like* Misha and Castiel.)

Makes me sad to think I'm missing out. But I just ... can't. :( I can't even bring myself to read 80% of what you've written here OR any of the other comments.

EDIT: I have to add that I have found my ability to watch a LOT of violence has increased over the years (see: SPN and ESPECIALLY Game of Thrones), but I once watched one of the Hannibal movies (all the way through) cannot remember which one. But there was this scene where he was feeding a guy's brain to the guy himself and the guy was eating his own brain. And I just ... Can't. That imagine STILL impacts me and hits me at random times out of the blue and it's been YEARS.

EDIT 2: I hope this comes across as me being sad I can't take part. Rather than me judging others for liking it. Which is not the case.

Edited at 2013-07-09 02:24 am (UTC)
9th-Jul-2013 11:46 am (UTC)
I totally get it hun! (and no it doesn't come across as judging at all. hee..and even if it did it would be ok..;D)

It's certainly not for everyone (as seen my a few comments here). I'm not sure why it doesn't bother me so much - possibly because I studied the horror genre and particularly slasher type horror at uni and that may have desensitised me a bit. There's still a lot I can't watch - particularly torture for torture sake, or sexual crimes. In the show we mostly get the result of the crime and don't see the actual act. Though the images make it pretty clear what happened.

I haven't seen the other Hannibal movies (and that scene you describe does sound particularly gruesome). I might check them out though...;)


9th-Jul-2013 01:15 pm (UTC)
You know, the scene I describe wasn't really "gruesome" in the sense of blood and gore or violence. I think perhaps if it had been, I may have been able to shake it off. lol. But it was done with quiet confidence and ... omigosh I can't even think of the words to describe how quietly EVIL Hannibal was during the scene. Anthony Hopkins was very wonderful in that role. Hannibal was confident, highly intelligent, egotistical, extremely sure that he could get away with anything. It was just ... *shudders*

So yeah, if it had been "traditionally" violent, I could have perhaps dealt. But it was so confidently evil, I just can't even.
9th-Jul-2013 01:17 pm (UTC)
I just glanced at a comment slightly above and yeah, one of the words I was looking for was sociopath. I think (although I've never really thought much on it) sociopaths must really squick me. Evil intelligence with no conscience. Like most people, they do fascinate me (because there is weirdly something mesmerizing about them), but they get under my skin in a way I just cannot deal with.

Edited at 2013-07-09 01:18 pm (UTC)
9th-Jul-2013 07:54 am (UTC)
I have to agree with you about the macabre and stunning visuals but it's not enough to get me past my dislike of all the characters - oh, except for the dogs, I lost interest around episode 5 and never bothered with it again.

I do love dark and disturbing but this one didn't grab me at all, I don't know why, I'm rather miffed really as I was looking forward to it.
9th-Jul-2013 11:49 am (UTC)
The characters grew on me I have to say. I stopped watching for a bit because I found it a bit too heavy and yeah, the characters were hard to take. But I went back a few weeks ago and I was hooked. I connected with the characters a lot more and i was intrigued to see where it was going.

I'm keen now to see what they do next.

10th-Jul-2013 02:44 am (UTC)
I am so fascinated by the nature of Hannibal's character. When he started talking about Will as a "friend" I wondered how much of that was real or how much it's the way he perceives friendship. I had thought he was beginning to care about Will but when he lied about the brain scan and the clock drawing I could see it was more about seeing him as some sort of experiment. I loved the way Mads goes from seeming genuine tears to a turn of his head and glance of his eyes to change that to pure intellectual thought - no emotion whatsoever.

I remember reading somewhere that Mads said his character reminds him of Lucifer - seeing humans as beneath him. I think that certainly comes across in his performance.
7th-Apr-2014 09:24 pm (UTC)
I just surfed over to read your blurb about the show from a friend of mine, flosix. She talked a little bit about the show and it got me curious. I, myself, am a Thomas Harris fan. Have been for over 20 years. Good stuff, but very disturbing at the same time. I tried to see if the series is on Netflix, but sadly, it's not. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled, though.
8th-Apr-2014 02:17 pm (UTC)
It's excellent. It's beautifully produced and acted. Certainly keep an eye out for it. I haven't read the books so I can't compare - but it feels like they are doing them justice.
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