Cast of Hannibal: Hugh Dancy, Caroline Dhavernas, Laurence Fishburne, Aaron Abrams, Lara Jean Chorostecki, Hettienne Park, Scott Thompson and Mads Mikkelsen (Image Source)
I watch a fair amount of TV. Okay, okay, I watch a LOT of TV. Over the years I've developed a good sense of what I like to watch, and what I don't enjoy. Two things I rarely budge on: I don't watch procedural shows and I don't watch anything with serial killers. Sounds simple enough, right?
Enter Hannibal, a TV show that is essentially a prequel to Silence of the Lambs and follows and criminal profiler and a psychologist. For me, it should be a no brainer that I'd not be interested, but when I found out that the it stars Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy I went into confusing conflict mode because I'm a big fan of both actors and always want to see their work. Most people likely know Mads Mikkelsen as the villain in Casino Royale, but he's also formidable in After the Wedding, King Arthur (2004 version, he plays Tristan), Valhalla Rising, Pusher and Pusher II. I know Hugh Dancy best also from the 2004 version of King Arthur where he played Galahad, and he was also in Adam, Blood and Chocolate and Martha Marcy May Marlene.
If you've seen Silence of the Lambs, you will know that there is shall we say quite a twisted element to whatever the story of the show will be. I think it's assumed that the audience is suppose to be in on what's going to happen, which is a pretty gutsy choice, but in case there is any uninitiated reading I won't say more.
My curiosity got the best of me and I tuned in last Thursday even with my no-serial-killers and no-procedural clause. Hannibal's first episode entitled Apéritif was visceral, hard to watch but also had very good storytelling and acting (you can watch it online here to see what you make of it). I'm not sure where they are going with the characters or the story, but I already feel for the characters. Dang! Feeling for characters can definitely push a show to the 'to watch' list. But, I don't know what they are trying to say, and to be honest I was was so focused on the two character that I didn't pay that much attention to the crime of the week story. It's not clear if it will be a crime-of-the-week show, which again can slide it out of the no-procedural clause. I was also intrigued that it's a dual-protagonist show, and it's clear that's the choice here as when the title card and actors names appeared on the screen they did so together. That's a cool, bold move which I could support. And I almost jumped out of my seat with excitement when I saw Scott Thompson (Kids in the Hall, and I swear he's the voice of the Moose on Big Brother Canada). But it teeters on edge on uncomfortable, and even recognizes and acknowledges the danger of where it can go emotionally which is pretty horrifying.
I'm undecided. I think I'll have watch at least one more episode of Hannibal to see how I feel about it, and if it's worth breaking my own rules.
Do you have rules for TV watching? What could break them?
Hannibal airs Thursdays at 10pm ET on CityTV and NBC.