10:00 am EDT, June 3, 2015

A 6 course menu of why you should be watching ‘Hannibal’

Dinner is served.

If you’re not watching NBC’s Hannibal it’s time to make some changes to your diet (spoiler-free).

Hannibal has all the heartiness and garnishes needed for a killer show. The meat, potatoes, and dressings are well balanced to create a tantalizing palate. Need some convincing? Here’s a six course menu that’s sure to whet your appetite.

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Related: A newbie’s guide to Hannibal season 1

Cocktail Hour: The Murders

hannibal cassie boyle

What better way to get your taste buds tingling than with a hefty dose of murder. Did you expect anything else?

The first season of Hannibal plays out much like a cop show, with a kill of the week structure. Except these are some highly inventive methods of murder. Likewise, the approach to solving the murders is unique as well.

Meet Will Graham (played by Hugh Dancy), a forensics teacher brought back into the police force to help catch serial killers. But Will is not your average criminal profiler. He has a unique ability to empathize with killers, to put himself in their state of mind in order to recreate the crime. However, regularly altering his psyche to that of serial killers does put his own mind at risk.

To help Will cope is psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen). If you’re unfamiliar with Hannibal or Silence of the Lambs, here’s something you might want to know: Hannibal Lecter is a serial killer. Moreover, he eats his victims. That chicken leg you’re eating? Let’s just say if it looks like chicken and it tastes like chicken… Well it’s probably not chicken.

If you’re faint of heart, perhaps it would be best to watch with one eye closed. And maybe don’t eat too much before watching either. But if a disgusting and unique death really flambés your cherries, take a seat and enjoy.

Soup: The Suspense

hannibal lecter mads mikkelsen

Now that I’ve got your attention let’s add some flavor.

Hannibal is great at keeping you hooked from one episode to the next, one moment to the next, even one word to the next (don’t lie, we all hang off every word Mads Mikkelsen says). You can never be sure of what’s going to happen. It keeps you guessing and on your toes. Who’s the killer? Is it Hannibal? Is it Will? When will Hannibal get caught?

It adds a whole new meaning to ‘the suspense is killing me!’

Main Course: The Characters

hannibal cast

The best ingredients in Hannibal are definitely the characters. It’s hard not to love Will. He’s caring, just, enigmatic, and the right amount of flawed to be endearing (and he loves dogs, how can you dislike someone who loves dogs?). Even Hannibal the cannibal has a certain quiet charm.

Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) is a special agent in the FBI (as well as Will’s boss) who really plays with the love him/hate him trope. Let’s also not forget Brian Zeller and Jimmy Price, who add a much needed dose of (morbid) humor to the otherwise serious and dramatic tone of the show.

Don’t worry, there are some searing ladies as well. There’s the ever-shifting heart Alana Bloom; Beverly Katz, who’s not afraid to speak her mind; and naive yet tough Abigail Hobbs.

That’s not even including many of the captivating supporting characters like the Verger siblings, morally questionable Freddie Lounds, and sarcastic Frederick Chilton.

All characters blend together to create a very rich populace in the Hannibal world. You’ll find yourself loving some, hating some, and loving and hating some in equal measure.

Salad: The Cinematography

hannibal kaiseki

Let’s simmer down a bit and take a break from all the information. Not only is Hannibal terrifically written (in both plot and characters), it’s also beautifully shot. The cinematography helps push this show to another level of quality not often seen on network television.

The artistic shots of Hannibal cooking make your stomach ache for a delicious meal, which is strikingly contrasted with equally elegant shots of murders and crime scenes. You never know whether to be in awe or disgust, to eat a snack or toss your cookies. Either way, you’re sure to have a strong reaction to the grotesquely gorgeous images.

Cheese: The Dogs

hannibal will graham dogs

All you dog lovers are in luck! Your dose of furry cuteness is satisfied thanks to Will Graham. Our resident dog-lover adopts strays faster than you can say ‘Lassie.’ The big mystery here: how does Will not get those leashes tangled?!

Dessert: The Relationships

hannibal abigail hobbs alana bloom

Dear readers I have not forgotten the sweetest part. Yes, there are plenty of ships, romantic and platonic, to satisfy both the casual and hardcore shippers.

Jack and Bella show the complexities of marriage and the difficulties maintaining a relationship in trying times. For those of you who prefer to see a relationship develop, Alana and Will have the ‘will they won’t they’ flirtation. Of course there is also the ever popular relationship between doctor and patient Hannibal and Will if that’s more your thing.

Equally important to the progression of the show are the friendships. Abigail’s relationship with Alana, Will, and Hannibal is equally tender, as all three are protective of her for their own reasons. Beverly and Will’s friendship is as refreshing as Hannibal and Bedelia Du Maurier’s dynamic is complicated. Then you have Mason and Margot Verger who demonstrate a very strained and destructive sibling relationship.

Diverse characters lead to diverse relationships that are well developed and grow at a steady pace throughout the seasons. There is great heart and tension among the characters, some of which creates even more suspense outside of the main plot.

Cherry on Top: Netflix

hannibal netflix

No more sitting around stewing about watching Hannibal. This show is sure to keep you engaged, and guess what? Both seasons are on Canadian Netflix and Amazon Prime! So chop to it!

‘Hannibal’ season 3 premieres June 4 at 10 p.m. on NBC

Related: The Hobbit‘s Richard Armitage joins the cast of Hannibal

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