As of June 5, hungry viewers will be able to gorge themselves on the series Hannibal via Netflix.
Netflix is currently streaming Silence of the Lambs, which is the film that introduced us to Anthony Hopkins’ version of Lecter in 1991. Hopkins later appeared as Lecter in both 2001’s Hannibal and 2002’s Red Dragon.
Actor Brian Cox also did a bang-up job playing the character in the 1986 version of Red Dragon, which was titled Manhunter. Confused yet? Well, there’s more. In 2013, NBC aired the first season of Hannibal (not to be confused with the movie of the same title), bringing us Mads Mikkelsen’s portrayal of “Hannibal the Cannibal.”
The series ran for three seasons, and network television had never really seen anything like it before. It explored the relationship between the enigmatic forensic psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter and FBI profiler Will Graham (played by Hugh Dancy), who seems to be able to crawl right into the minds of serial killers. Graham is able to actually imagine himself as the killers he investigates, solving crimes by visualizing himself committing them.
FBI Director Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) appreciates Graham’s expertise, but he is also wise enough to be concerned about his ability to identify with killers, so he assigns Dr. Lecter to supervise him. In retrospect, not a very good decision, but at this point, no one involved realizes that Lecter is a very intelligent killer.
Hannibal was beautifully filmed, and looked more like a movie than a tv series. The visuals were stunning, with close-ups of grotesque crime scenes as well as gourmet delicacies. As a viewer, it made me feel queasy at times, because you just never knew what (or who) was in those gorgeous, elaborate meals that were prepared by Lecter.
The main characters in Hannibal were all complicated and multi-layered. In addition to the three actors already mentioned, Caroline Dhavernas played Alanna Bloom, a professor of psychology who moonlights as a profiler, and Gillian Anderson appeared as Lecter’s psychotherapist Bedelia DuMaurier. There were also a host of other recurring characters, and all were well-played by talented actors.
The murders were elaborate and gory, the character relationships were prickly, and each episode left viewers wanting more. For fans of the source material, the series even delved into the Red Dragon storyline before finishing up what would be its final season.
The last episode of Hannibal was exactly what a last episode should be. It ended in a way that could have been either a cliffhanger or an absolute finale, so at least fans couldn’t say they were left hanging. There has long been talk about the series continuing on another network, and it’s been rumored that Netflix might just be the platform to bring back Lecter and company.
Whether or not that will happen remains to be seen, but in the meantime, treat yourself to the thrilling, engrossing (sometimes nauseating) delicacy that is Hannibal.
You can stream all three seasons of Hannibal on Netflix, starting on June 5. Red Dragon and the Hannibal movie can be seen on Hulu, while Manhunter is available on Amazon Prime. All of this can serve as an appetizer for upcoming CBS series Clarice.
Are you a fan of the Hannibal Lecter franchise? Are you hopeful for a continuation of the series? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.