Hannibal Review: A Haunting Premiere

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Graham: What are you smiling at?
Lecter: Peeking behind the curtain, I'm just curious how the FBI goes about its business when it's not kicking in doors. | permalink

That small exchange between Graham and Lecter is an apt summary of Hannibal’s premiere, "Apéritif."

Mads Mikkelson as Hannibal

Hannibal is a brilliantly captivating show, and at times it’s difficult to describe just what is so captivating about it. When everything is boiled down, what’s left is an engaging and smart series that delves into the head spaces of the people who track down criminals and the criminals themselves; at any moment these men and women can easily cross the line. And watching the beginnings of the cat and mouse game between Lecter and Graham is already sharp and thrilling.

These themes are mired in copious amounts of blood and gore and it’s sometimes incredibly difficult to watch and sit through it. Add in some uneasiness as Lecter enjoys some fine dining or trimming a pair of lungs and it’s a wonder how I got through “Aperitif” without the use of antacids or a bucket.

However, the discomfort with the violence is completely necessary. It’s not there just to be there as some crazy, sadistic part of its charm like in The Following. All of the violence plays into Graham’s characterizations and how he empathizes with the victims and their killers. The violence is an outwardly expression of how Graham views his world and the how he’s able to get into the minds of those involved. The violence and gore gives him the complete picture.

Lecter, being the brilliant man he is, is able to pick up on this immediately. Lecter puts on a good show about wanting to help Graham and the FBI, but, like the quote above points out, he’s not there to help he wants to get an idea of how the FBI operates and catches their killers.

Lecter’s “professional courtesy” with the killer is demonstrative of this. He’s purely collecting information right now, and perhaps trying to coax Will’s battered and bruised mentality over to his side.

The rapport Graham and Lecter share is excellent, but also the biggest detractor when they’re not sharing the screen. As much as I love Lawrence Fishburne, at times Crawford and the rest of the periphery characters (particularly Alana) end up taking away from the sophistication that goes on between Graham and Lecter. But with writing so sharp, I’m not particularly worried; if Hannibal can establish Lecter and Graham so well so quickly, it shouldn’t take it long to develop the periphery.

Which brings us to Hannibal’s two biggest risks: being a serialized drama and airing on NBC. While The Walking Dead has shown that serialized dramas can be a huge hit, it’s more the exception than the rule; being on NBC Thursday nights at 10 almost spells certain doom as well. Hopefully Hannibal can break the misfortune.

What did you think of Hannibal’s season premiere? Grade it below!


Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (86 Votes)

I gave it an F for now. I'm going to watch least 3 or 4 more episodes and if it gets better then I will watch the whole season and if not I won't watch this show anymore.


I thought it was amazing, and I am usually not a fan of gore/homicide laced narratives. It was extremely compelling, and I was on the edge of my seat until the end. I thought the quality of the story/acting was almost good enough to have released this as a movie (with a little more footage and pacing of course). That being said, I have been burned before by shows like "Flash Forward" cancelled after a compelling first season, or as mentioned above, "the event", but hopefully this will not fall prey to that same fate as it is based on an almost universally recognized IP.


This show is a winner. Hannibal is so daggone creepy. Lord Iwas disgusted, fascinated, and horrified all by one character, in one hour. Its excellent. I'm so intrigued by will. I want to know the story bhind him so bad. I'm engrossed


I am always so fearful of liking a show on NBC. The Event. Awake. Two shows that were promoted like CRAZY that I was afraid to love, and then figured heck, they promoted it so much, no WAY they'd cancel it right away. I love Deception and now have no idea how it would end. They're so stupid - fans don't want to bother investing in a show that they know NBC will yank. So, even with that intense trepidation, we really did enjoy the show and I liked this reviewer's review - hate to say it but most of the ones I've read lately are more unnecessarily (read: being caustic to feign intelligence) critical than they need to be. Looking forward to seeing where this goes!


1 and done ..... POI and Elementary are enough to watch on Thurs night , during baseball season ....


I loved this. It was captivating, the acting was superb, and the characters are compelling. I agree with this review; it's GORY, but the gore is an integral part of the story, rather than something superfluous just for show. That being said - was anyone else screaming "don't eat that!!" when Lecter brought Graham breakfast?! One of the things that makes this show so interesting is the spoiler that every viewer is privy to; we know who/what Hannibal Lecter is. That makes the dynamic between Lecter and Graham even more fascinating - we know so much that Graham doesn't and the anticipation of him finding out is thrilling. It's too bad NBC's flailing so much - they could have put Grimm and Hannibal together and marketed it as "Freaky Friday" or something. On a personal note, it was very hard to get over Quantico being the University of Toronto Scarborough campus. I had many lectures in that very hall that Graham was teaching in.


Whew this episode was intense and slightly nauseating.I loved the set up and the great quality of acting though.Unlike the Following this show is realistic and the violence not made to be a rootable factor.I think it has the potential to be great and one of the best shows out there if you can get past the cannibalistic nature of each episode.

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Hannibal Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Lecter: What are we looking for?
Graham: At this stage, anything really, but mostly anything peculiar.

Graham: What are you smiling at?
Lecter: Peaking behind the curtain, I'm just curious how the FBI goes about its business when it's not kicking in doors.