NBC’s new show focused on Thomas Harris’ iconic cannibal Hannibal Lecter is a rare find in the course of television, as each episode in itself feels like a feature length film.

Hugh Dancy

Hugh Dancy as Will Graham.

Hannibal takes place a bit before the events of Red Dragon–Thomas Harris’ first book in the Lecter saga–and focuses on Will Graham, a gifted criminal profiler that’s inudcted into the FBI for his uncanny ability to hunt serial killers.

Hugh Dancy, who plays Graham in the show, does a fantastic job re-inventing the character from the quiet confidence that Norton portrayed in the film to a rash, realistic and witty criminologist who is hunted by the horrors of his occupation.

Right off the bat in the first episode of Hannibal viewers are treated with the visceral and grisly nature that’s signature to the series as Will re-creates a horrific murder with his mind, taking on the role of the killer–something that is quite unique and original for a TV show.

Throughout his daily life, Graham is haunted by the blood-soaked terrors he’s introduced to  everyday, and the show itself takes an intimate look at the psychological struggles and affects that this line of work has on a person.

 

Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter.

Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter.

Mads Mikkelsen quickly steals the show from Dancy’s sarcastic, extremely cocky attitude. Mikkelsen does his own part in re-inventing Hannibal Lecter for the series, making Lecter into a more refined sociopath who’s brilliance and elan hold his blood-thirsty nature in check.

Mikkelsen’s portrayal of Dr. Lecter is spot-on, and while nothing will ever beat Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of the brilliant cannibal, Mikkelsen does a great job in recreating Lecter’s persona and adapting himself to Lecter’s iconic personality.

Anthony Hopkins as the original Hannibal Lecter.

Anthony Hopkins as the original Hannibal Lecter.

If you’re a fan the novels written by Thomas Harris and the films based on them, you’ll enjoy Hannibal. The show is crafted by the same company that had a hand in the films–the De Laurentiis Company–so the show matches the stylish flair of the films.

One of the most enjoyable things about this show is its immensely ominous feel. It’s scary and disturbing without having to use gratuitous gore, and is fear-inducing on a psychological level. The show taps into the deepest and darkest fears of each viewer, making for an ominous experience that emphasizes terror on an intellectual level.

Hannibal has excellent cinematography and makes use of impressively original shots and elements to create an experience that adequately depicts the mystique surrounding Hannibal Lecter and his horrific crimes. It’s a show that you want to keep watching, even if it disturbs you to your core, because you want to see what happens next.

Hannibal

The show is engaging and gripping with its use of dramatic flair, which accompanies the psychological terror and graphic scenes–at one point, we see Hannibal cutting up a fresh pair of lungs in preparation for a nice bit of cuisine. Mads Mikkelsen’s depiction of Dr. Lecter is right on the nose, and Dancy’s character is just as compelling with his distorted but incredibly accurate nature.

Hannibal is not a show that’s for everyone–it’s definitely not for the weak of heart or stomach. If you loved the books and can stand a bout of psychological terror, then it’s a great fit.

The characters combine with the alluring cinematography to deliver an unparalleled television experience that enthralls viewers with every episode, bringing a new bit of delicious terror to nightly TV.

Hannibal airs on Thursdays at 10/9c on NBC. For more information please visit the show’s official website.