Everything that’s wrong with Hannibal (spoilers!)

This is a bit of a rant, I’m afraid. I wanted to write something positive and beautiful but before I can do that I have to get this blog off my chest. I’ve been writing it in my head for days now and it won’t go away so I’m exorcising it.

Since having my second daughter, my OH and I have been taking full advantage of the availability of Box Sets on Sky. Many have been great and have renewed my faith in TV drama; I’ve always hated TV dramas but recently TV producers have pulled their proverbial fingers out and there’s been some real corkers. Some… not so much. Spartacus was dreadful; I had to switch off after ten minutes. Once Upon a Time I managed the whole first episode but had no interest in watching any more. But Hannibal…Hannibal got me hooked and now I can’t give it up. Which is a problem because it is making me more and more angry every time I watch it.

For those of you who haven’t seen it it’s the story of Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter of The Silence of the Lambs fame. I am a big fan of TSotL – my sister and I used to watch a grainy old videotape of it over and over again as teenagers. It was great because it was different. I had never heard of serial killers before that point and, like many teenagers at the time, the subject matter fascinated me. In Hannibal Clarice Starling has been replaced by Will Graham, an intensely irritating and miserable character played by Hugh Dancy who really could do better. He has a “condition” that means he can mentally recreate a crime from the evidence at a crime scene alone, due to his “pure empathy”. This is my first problem with the programme. Basically – what a load of bull. He is always 100% right. ALWAYS. That is just downright impossible and for a programme that is set in the real world, it asks the viewer to suspend reality too much.

Anyway, despite this irking me from the very first episode, I stuck with it. Soon, though, I was becoming irritated with another flight of fancy – there appear to be more hours in the day in Baltimore, Maryland than the rest of the world. I have assumed this because it takes Hannibal a ridiculously short amount of time to find, kill, dissect, display, butcher, prepare, serve and eat just one of his victims. He doesn’t ever just kill his victims though. He spends ages setting them up like a work of art. Once he even preserved a woman in formaldehyde/plastic stuff and sliced her up and hung her like a bad Damian Hurst. Overnight. NO. And the food!! This ain’t no simple fayre he’s preparing and eating. Oh no. This is proper Michelin star food; food that takes hours to prepare and make and plate! I know, I’ve watched Masterchef. Hannibal whips that shiz up in minutes, all in his suit shirt without breaking into a sweat. Whatever.

It’s not just Hannibal that has extra hours in the day. All the (seemingly hundreds of) psychopaths and serial killers in the north eastern United States seem to have endless amounts of time to create mushroom farms from the slowly decaying bodies of their victims that they’ve buried in the woods. Or to create a huge sculpture out of dead bodies on a beach with no one seeing them. Or to create a collage in a corn silo out of dead bodies, again without being spotted ever. Or sewing their victims up inside the cadaver of a horse with a live bird in their chest cavity (no mention as to how the heck the killer got that in there!). None of them ever just shoot or stab or strangle their victims. Pfft.

Many of the storylines/scenarios are completely ripped off from the film too. As a Film Studies graduate this seriously ticks me off. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – well, the makers of Hannibal obviously LOVED TSotL. Each episode I play “Spot the rip off”; whether it be the mask and cage worn by Antony Hopkins in the film, the way another serial killer escapes his chains in an ambulance, the cells in which the psychos are kept in the Baltimore Hospital for the Criminally Insane, the well a victim is kept in….to name but a few. I know nothing in life is original but purlease!!

All the characters need to lighten up too. There’s no smiling in Hannibal. None whatsoever. Zip. Nada. Everyone is perpetually miserable; even during a game of hide the sausage! What’s the point, I ask you?! And the language! Jeez!! No one ever just says, “OK” or “Yes”. Each question or response is a monumental intellectual discourse involving an abundance of wistful or indignant gazes and “clever” hints as to what they are actually saying using a profusion of psychobabble. This is particularly challenging to deal with when Mads Mikklesen (Hannibal) is talking, as he seems to have learnt to speak without opening his mouth or using any facial muscles. Humpf.

Finally, like Narnia, in Baltimore it’s always winter but never Christmas. I understand that this is supposed to create “mood” but it just ticks me off. Grr.

So, I hear you ask, why am I still watching this steaming pile of horse manure?? Well, to be honest dear reader, that despite all my griping and whining I actually do like the blasted programme. The finale of Season One was a real doozy and I’m hoping beyond hope that Season Two picks itself up and gives itself a good shake soon. So, I’ll keep watching…for now.


Superlucyj xx


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