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Feast your eyes on this, Fannibals. Here are eight reasons why the uncorrupted need to start watch Hannibal, immediately.

NBC’s Hannibal is a modern interpretation of the Hannibal Lecter literature. It focuses on the character of Will Graham, based on Thomas Harris’s Red Dragon.

It stars Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen, and was created by Bryan Fuller of Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls fame. David Slade (Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night) created the visual style, and the show looks like it belongs on HBO.

Still need more reasons to watch? Don’t worry, we haven’t chosen the eight most delicious cannibal meals (it’s not a spoiler, it his name literally rhymes with cannibal). But these reasons will have you (figuratively) salivating for more.

This is Hannibal as you have never seen it

Hannibal Lecter has entered the pop culture world as one of fiction’s creepiest villains. And Hannibal shows that eating people isn’t even the creepiest part (although, yeah, that bit is pretty creepy). But what is so terrifying about Hannibal is that he has the ability to act like a completely normal person.

Hannibal is about the mind games between Will and Hannibal, as the latter manipulates the former. We know Hannibal is the bad guy, the question is – when will he pounce? Showrunner Bryan Fuller has played a masterful move by making Hannibal the one who assists the FBI, and Will the one who, well, wait until the season finale.

It’s the role of a career for Hugh Dancy

Despite some brilliant turns in Black Hawk Down, Adam, and King Arthur, Dancy is perhaps better known for his work in Confessions of a Shopaholic and Ella Enchanted. Without disregarding that work, after seeing Hannibal, no one would have a hope of dismissing Dancy as anything other than one of the leading actors of his generation.

As Will Graham he is hyper-intelligent, while simultaneously awkward and vulnerable. The character could be totally unlikeable in the hands of a lesser actor, but it is clear how invested Dancy is in the role and in the show, and the chemistry between him and Mikkelson leaps right off the screen.

Mads Mikkelsen beat David Tennant for the role

Yes, you read that right. David Tennant, king among nerds, was up for the role of Hannibal Lecter. And he lost out to Mads Mikkelsen, which should tell you something about the caliber of acting and of the show.

Having Tennant attached would undoubtably have given Hannibal a huge promotional push before the show premiered, yet it is like Mikkelsen is made for this part (or more appropriately, it has been made around him). Watch one episode, and you will never be able to think of Hannibal Lecter the same way again.

Bryan Fuller has triumphed again

Fuller fans are well aware by now that Bryan Fuller shows are something special, and Hannibal is no exception. It is visually stunning (helped by direction David Slade), and the writing is razor sharp – drawing on psychiatric and cooking terms, and often (dare we say), pun-ibal?

Hannibal is different from everything else Fuller has done. Unlike the primary coloured Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls, it is dark and gruesome. It puts a twist on a well established character. It even makes food that we know is supposed to look, well, appetising. But it is still very evidently a Bryan Fuller show, and we love that.

The rest of the cast (and the guest stars, oh my!)

Mikkelsen and Dancy may be the stars of this chess game, but they are surrounded by some mightily impressive players. Caroline Dhavernas joins them as Dr. Alana Bloom, almost a mediator between the two, while Laurence Fishburne takes on the (often shouting) role of Jack Crawford.

The supporting cast is rounded out by Aaron Abrams, Hettienne Park, and Scott Thompson. And that’s not even to mention the guest stars of season 1 like Eddie Izzard, Gillian Anderson, and Gina Torres. This is a group of actors who know exactly what they are doing, and it’s a good thing, because with writing like this there is no room for error.

It’s real horror. Seriously, it’s terrifying

On television now, we either have the casual violence on shows like Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad, or the desensitised violence of CSI and Criminal Minds. But it has been a while since we had a show that could be legitimately terrifying. Hannibal is real horror. Like, watch with all the lights on, check under your bed for monsters or stags, kind of horror.

There is gore and there is violence – but once you get past that, the show also explores the terrifying realities of human nature. Just don’t blame us if you share Will’s nightmares for a few nights after you watch it. And expect more than one reference to classic horror (like The Shining), and to the previous Hannibal Lecter films.

It could go on for seven seasons

Showrunner Bryan Fuller has made no secret of his plans for Hannibal’s future. Granted, Fuller doesn’t have the best record with long running shows (Dead Like Me – 2 seasons, Pushing Daisies – 2 seasons, Wonderfalls – 1 season), but we like that he dreams big – and we like that he has a master plan for the show.

According to Fuller’s plan, the first three seasons will be comprised of his own original take on the Hannibal Lecter story. Season 4 will take on Red Dragon, season 5 will be The Silence of the Lambs, season 6 is Hannibal, wrapping up with a final season of original content. The show has been picked up for a second season of 13 episodes, and hopefully there will be more to follow.

There are only 13 episodes

As with any great show, this is both an upside, and a downside. For new viewers, catching up on Hannibal is going to be a lot easier than racing through Breaking Bad, or Mad Men. And once you finish it, you can join the rest of the fannibals in curing Bryan Fuller that the season was so short.

The 13 episodes are like a wonderful buffet (see what we did there?), both completely satisfying and leaving you tantalised for more. It’s only a weekend’s watching – although once you start, we wouldn’t be surprised if you raced through in a single day. And then re-watch the next day.

Hannibal season 2 will premiere in 2014 on NBC, and will run 13 episodes.

Why do you love ‘Hannibal’?

  • Mai

    Aaah, I’m so glad you finally made an article all about Hannibal! (Hopefully you’ll start covering it more? Even better – A PODCAST.)
    Those are great reasons, and I hope more people will watch it, because it’s definitely one of the best new TV shows of this year. I’d be very sad if it got cancelled.

    • https://twitter.com/maramawhyte Marama Whyte

      I am a crazy big Hannibal fan (: As to more coverage, stay tuned.

  • DoyleHolmesFan

    Completely agree with “real horror.” I’m neither a big horror fan nor do I get too frightened during a horror movie but there were times that I watched this in the dark and had to turn the lights back on. What’s interesting is Fuller’s 7-season plan. 3 seasons of original content then a season based on Red Dragon means we get a lot more Will Graham than Clarice, which, is a plus for me. Will as a character is so much more interesting, especially (spoiler?) the conclusion of he and Hannibal’s friendship. Plus, if Fuller keeps each season to 13 episodes, I think he can totally pull it off. Mystery shows that have 20+ episode seasons (all the CSI’s, Bones, NCIS, etc.) always have filler episodes that lose the audience, so hopefully they keep it at 13 episodes to keep the story moving.

    • juarhela

      Agreed. The episode with the girl under the bed – I’m getting anxious just thinking about it.

  • Rebecca Fritch

    i kind of want to watch, but a) it’s not on netflix, and b) HE EATS PEOPLE. that kind of creeps me out, but i might be able to deal. i did manage to find all of the books at the library sale this summer, though, so i’ll read those and maybe we’ll see…

  • Miriam Glushakoff

    great production design and acting, food porn

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=522041810 Nickie Michaud Wild

    This show is so perfect, every episode is focused like a laser. It is scary as hell, brilliantly acted, beautifully/horrifically shot….to me watching it feel like I’m under a spell or in another world entirely. As a friend of mine said this weekend when I was describing it in glowing terms, “Tell me how you really feel!”

  • HloKty

    It’s the best show on tv period. Well written, brilliantly acted, stunningly beautiful. It’s a must see!

  • Stacie

    Hannibal is freaking epic! It is genuinely scary at times. And the acting is just…wow! No words. HD and MM are amazing.

  • http://blackrapture.tumblr.com/ thegoodshipdestiel

    This show is incredible – my husband and I both agree that it is the one new show that does not disappoint. My only concern is how graphic it is because it is on NBC – I’m afraid it is going to get cancelled purely on ick-factor. Hannibal belongs on a channel like Showtime or HBO. Love love love Mads Mikkelsen.

  • Marcia

    I really hope Hypable starts covering Hannibal!

  • Molly

    How scary are we talking? I’m super intrigued by this show, but I do scare very easily..

    Is it available on nbc’s website or Hulu for legal streaming?

    • Alexandra

      I get scared super easily as well and absolutely HATE horror movies, but I adore Hannibal! It’s mostly just terrifying in the ‘makes your brain hurt’ kinda way, as well as quite graphic crime scenes. But it’s still appropriate for NBC, so it’s not too bad, right?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=522041810 Nickie Michaud Wild

      It’s not all on Hulu, but all of them are on Amazon streaming. Also, it comes out on DVD in the US in less than 4 weeks, and the UK sooner.

    • Cuckoo

      It doesn’t really have any shock moments that make you jump. It’s more the overall atmosphere, the darkness, the dream sequences, the psychoterror, the fact that it deals with grusemore murders and cannibalism. I am neither a fan of horror movies nor do I like shows that feature too much violence or gore, but I haven’t been as intrigued with a show as I am with Hannibal in a really long time. You should definitely give it a try. I don’t know if it is available online but you can download the episodes via Amazon – or wait for the dvd which will be released in September.

    • juarhela

      It’s as horrifying as psychological horror will ever get. They describe it as “elegant horror” and that’s probably the truest description of the show there is. Fuller’s not one for shock value – everything done in Hannibal, every element of gore or violence you see, has a purpose and is part of the show for a reason. Somehow, it’s that deliberate intent that makes it even creepier.

  • Asad Khan

    This is easily one of the best shows I’ve seen recently. I don’t remember loving any other television show so much. The writing is perfect, the casting is perfect, the scenes have been shot well and the way the whole story wraps around to a single point in the finale still manages to give me goosebumps.

    It is a very promising show and I hope it completes it’s run.

  • Georgina Perez Santos

    Oh yes i am comprometed to see the second season because of Mads Mikkelsen performance have me on his hands, He drives me on great fear and he is the best actor by now, besides the enter show is amazing. Thanks to the genious Bryan Fuler this is an artistic show. but add, the bes show I ever seen since years ago. God¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡

  • Mercedes Olivas

    I am actually not worried about Hannibal if it does not get renewed by NBC. Cable channels were already putting offers on the table before NBC had even made an official decision. I would actually prefer it on a channel like AMC or FX, but I’ll take what I can get cause it is awesome already! :)

  • longliveUSA

    I hope Fullers vision for this show is seen through.


    I love to watch Hannibal as played by Mads Mikkelsen. Primarily, the acting caliber of Mads Mikkelsen is the crux of the show. I will continue to watch this NBC show in the near future, and in the hopes to enjoy Hannibal for years to come.

  • Jesse

    I love Hannibal because the show has so many complex, fleshed out women characters right up there with men! (Almost every Hannibal episode passes the Bechdel test.) I know that Fuller changed some characters’ genders in his modern day adaptation, and I love that! When Harrison wrote his Hannibal books, there were more men in the characters’ professional fields – doctors, journalists, etc. But in a modern context, that gender gap has shifted dramatically and I’m in love with the fact that Fuller chose to reflect that in the show. I wish more TV shows were unafraid to step outside the gender restrictions of the original content. :)

  • Rip Van Winkle

    I think I would’ve died if The Doctor had turned into Hannibal Lecter. I love David Tennant to death, but he’s absolutely not suited to fill the shoes that Anthony Hopkins left after the movies. I would never have been able to take this series seriously. Mads is PERFECT for this role!

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