The Highs and Lows of Hannibal
by Haylee Fisher (@haylee_fisher)
Hannibal aired its third episode last night, and while it was arguably the best one so far, the show is still suffering from ups and downs. This is a show I so desperately want to succeed, mainly because of the brilliant cast, but also because it comes from the mind of Bryan Fuller, whom I think is one of the most talented and creative people working in television today. I don’t think he gets enough credit for his innovative work and many of his shows have been cancelled before their time. I hope Hannibal doesn’t suffer from that fate, but if the good parts don’t outweigh the weaker parts soon, I’m scared that’s what will happen.
Audiences aren’t flocking to it as much as I, or more importantly, NBC, would like. While it has not been a ratings blowout, nothing on NBC is doing well this season. However, I think they would be wise to keep a show on air whose numbers remained the same through its second week, as opposed to dropping, as many tend to do. An audience of 4.3 million may not seem like a lot, but I think the reason it is experiencing low viewership is because it didn’t premiere before Fox’s The Following, A&E’s Bates Motel or even AMC’s The Walking Dead – it has too much competition from other horror shows already on TV. All have been renewed for next season, but it is still too early to tell what Hannibal‘s fate will be. But if it can hold on to those numbers, or even grow them, it should be okay.
Another reason I think Hannibal isn’t pulling viewers in is because it has been concentrating on secondary characters too much. The show is called Hannibal, but I feel like I know more about Will Graham than I do about Dr. Lecter! Yes, there is a certain amount of exposition to be expected, but I want to learn more about why Hannibal is the way that he is sooner rather than later. Granted, I have not read Thomas Harris’ books nor have I seen the Hannibal movies, so that may be a disadvantage on my part, but previous works shouldn’t be necessary to jump in to a TV show. Last night’s episode dug deeper into Hannibal’s backstory, though, which I appreciated, and I hope the show continues on that trend.
That is not to say Hannibal is a bad show. No, it’s quite the opposite. It employs complex storylines to keep the audience guessing. It teases the audience with violence without being excessive. It leaves the audience wanting more every episode. But don’t take it from me – take it from the critics who are reviewing it as one of the best shows of midseason. If you are a horror fan, a Hannibal fan, or even a Bryan Fuller fan, you must tune in to this show. The acting is masterful and the writing is ingenious. Prove NBC’s detractors wrong and show them a cutting edge show like this deserves to stay on the air for years to come.