Hannibal : Season 1

  • Network: NBC
  • Series Premiere Date: Apr 4, 2013
Season #: 1, 2, 3
User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 794 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 29 out of 794

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  1. Aug 13, 2013
    5
    Hannibal delivers on the gore, but after about the tenth episode I found myself almost laughing at the heaviness it was trying unsuccessfully to achieve. The actors are quite good, especially Fishburne, but they have little to work with; the writing doesn't make me care about them much. Unrelenting dark mood, good acting, effective gore, and heavy handed music that has so little to backHannibal delivers on the gore, but after about the tenth episode I found myself almost laughing at the heaviness it was trying unsuccessfully to achieve. The actors are quite good, especially Fishburne, but they have little to work with; the writing doesn't make me care about them much. Unrelenting dark mood, good acting, effective gore, and heavy handed music that has so little to back it up that it becomes jokey (or grating, take your pick) do not a great show make. Hannibal is trying to be so heavy but it just isn't, and it is the worse for trying so hard and falling flat. This said, it has some appeal, and is not a total loss, mostly because of the acting. Hopefully the writers will study the definition of subtle and make the show better. As of now, the show is as subtle as a sledgehammer. Expand
  2. Apr 28, 2014
    5
    Hannibal is a TV show that offers stark contrasts. In the end, while it provides a vivid and highly-detailed vision, that vision is too sanitized and too focused. It lacks any of the intermediate shades between light/dark, good/evil, pure/tainted, or clear/blurry. Instead it can only present sharp distinction, or at best offer capitulation of one over the other. Unlike Silence of theHannibal is a TV show that offers stark contrasts. In the end, while it provides a vivid and highly-detailed vision, that vision is too sanitized and too focused. It lacks any of the intermediate shades between light/dark, good/evil, pure/tainted, or clear/blurry. Instead it can only present sharp distinction, or at best offer capitulation of one over the other. Unlike Silence of the Lambs, there is no transformation and no imagination, only characters locked in an endless and uninspired waltz.

    I will point out the good parts of the show (and some parts are EXCELLENT). Hugh Dancy's performance is incredible: he somehow channels the impressive performance given by William Peterson when he played this same character in the 1986 film "Manhunter," yet incorporates those idiosyncracies seemlessly into his own, more damaged, vulnerable and bitter version of Will Graham. The result is a character that shows hints of the more traditional hero hidden beneath a fragile exterior, a promise always on the verge of materializing but always in danger of shattering completely.

    The direction and photography also show signs of genius. The use of dream sequence (if a bit over-used) is perfect for keeping the audience on their toes, and some of the visuals seem to indicate just the kind of world Hannibal might imagine for himself.

    There are two major flaws in this show, and they magnify each other: the show's lack of variety, and its overstretched nature. In the introduction to this review, I talked about the overly-sanitized nature of the show and the lack of intermediate shading. This kind of world, especially with light and dark interacting but never mingling, is certainly a clear vision of Hannibal's mind, but without a dirty, down-to-earth reference point it just makes the entire WORLD look like a soap opera set. Will Graham's cabin, or shack, or house (depending on your social class) SHOULD offer us a contrast, but while its materials are cheaper and its decorations less ornate than Hannibal's home, it is nevertheless clean and sterile and perfectly, maddeningly ORDERED. This is supposed to be a character in the midst of a long nervous breakdown, we're told, yet there isn't a single misplaced item in the entire home, not one dirty dish or discarded jacket. Even when he has a fit of psychosis and demolishes his own chimney, there isn't a single cast-aside brick or even a speck of dust around the hole, they only manage to leave one of the left-in bricks SLIGHTLY ASKEW as if to say, "See, this brick is not perfectly aligned, is this character's world FALLING APART or what?!?!" Unconvincing.

    Then we have the overstretched quality. Here I refer to the plotholes and the show's length and the resulting sense of shallowness, altogether. We're only a good way through the second season and already I feel like the show is retreading and making desperate leaps BOTH. How on earth do you manage to be wrong in both directions in only 2 seasons? This show's plotholes and complete implausibility give even Dexter a run for its money. The sad thing is, much of this paragraph's whining would be inapplicable if only the series were shorter, say a film or single season mini-series. But because we are forced to rehash the same plot over again and stretch the story at the same time, nothing makes sense anymore. The FBI refuses to investigate. The instructor refuses to learn. And the villain refuses to be frightening in any real way. If anything the only character capable of frightening us in this show is Will Graham, because the performance is nuanced enough to make the character itself unpredictable, and because his is the only character moving between the light and dark (again, if ONLY there were anything interesting in between) over and over and over again. Even the most delicious dish, no matter how well presented, needs variety.
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  3. Feb 27, 2014
    4
    No need to mention what the series is about, mostly self explanatory, except to say there's a need to quell any qualms about the actors playing these characters as awful because they're not, unfortunately its the most solid thing in this show. Mildly "entertaining" as many of these shows are, but many users and critics seem to miss the point when it comes to the shows that are on networksNo need to mention what the series is about, mostly self explanatory, except to say there's a need to quell any qualms about the actors playing these characters as awful because they're not, unfortunately its the most solid thing in this show. Mildly "entertaining" as many of these shows are, but many users and critics seem to miss the point when it comes to the shows that are on networks such as NBC, CBS, etc..... there's almost no point in reviewing them in any traditional sense since the whole point of them is to create advertising revenue, almost makes it pointless going to work if your employed by one of the programs. The sex scenes are completely censored, there no swearing at all, so except for a period piece where speech patterns are different this seems to be incredibly unrealistic, zero nudity, the violence is like a cartoon, and where there does seem to be a shred of integrity in the writing its completely undone by treating the audience like morons and repeating themselves over and over. This is my review for most shows on the these networks, and, in my opinion, unless its on FX, HBO, Netflix, Showtime, etc, there's almost no point in tuning in. That's not to say every single show on these providers are television gold but at least they have a creative head start no? I could go on all day about the lines that separate "entertainment" and "art" but in the end if you choose guilty pleasures over mental sustenance, or at least something healthy in-between, then there's little left to say. Expand
  4. Apr 14, 2013
    4
    I really did not like the first episode. Too many flashbacks of Will Graham. I much prefer the Thomas Harris books and his first film, MANHUNTER. This tries too hard with blood and gore but needs a better plot.
  5. May 16, 2013
    4
    The imagery and murders have been interesting but so far I haven't seen any of the episodes wrap up nicely. They always seem to need a leap in logic to catch the killer. Also, this rendition of Will Graham is a bit aggravating. It'd be nice if the entire world didn't seem to revolve around him. The actor playing Hannibal is pretty good though.
Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 32
  2. Negative: 3 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Chuck Bowen
    Jun 18, 2013
    88
    Hannibal is richer and more ambiguous than prior Harris adaptations; it's an exploration of social decay that's rife with literal and figurative cancers eating everyone alive from the ground up.
  2. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Apr 5, 2013
    80
    By the end of the first hour, it has managed to make Dancy, Fishburne and Mikkelsen a formidable trio of characters, and each actor responds in kind with strong, engaging performances. Another sign of a good series is the fact that beyond the main three, the supporting cast is filled with solid actors and--more important--strong, vivid characters.
  3. Reviewed by: Rick Porter
    Apr 4, 2013
    70
    It's anchored by several great performances, and it's among the more distinctive and gorgeously filmed shows on the air right now.... What did turn me off a bit in the first couple episodes of Hannibal was the victims were all young women.