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The First Two Seasons Of NBC's 'Hannibal' Will Delve Into The Killer's Origin Story

Television
by Joe Cunningham
April 20, 2012 10:45 AM
6 Comments
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Some networks perform badly, some networks perform really badly…and then there’s NBC. Sure, there are a couple of solid performers hidden amongst their line-up, but for the most part even quality new shows seem to suffer because there’s not a significant established audience on which they can ride on the coattails of. Just look at their Thursday night comedy line-up – packed with excellent shows – but the ratings are so weak that there isn’t one amongst them that doesn’t look under threat of cancellation. But Fall 2012 looks like it could reinvigorate their primetime line-up.

One of the most high-profile new additions, thanks to its instantly recognisable source material, is “Hannibal,” a show that the network has so much faith in that they’ve already ordered 13 episodes of the series. Written and produced by Bryan Fuller, the show will tell the story of Thomas Harris’ famed “Silence of the Lambs” character, Hannibal Lecter, but hopefully from a perspective that we haven’t really seen before. The show will follow Lecter – prior to his incarceration and working as a practicing psychiatrist - solving crimes alongside Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), Lecter’s FBI partner. And that was kind of all we knew about it until Fuller got talking to Entertainment Weekly (via AV Club).

“It’s before he was incarcerated, so he’s more of a peacock. There is a cheery disposition to our Hannibal. He’s not being telegraphed as a villain. If the audience didn’t know who he was, they wouldn’t see him coming. What we have is Alfred Hitchcock’s principle of suspense — show the audience the bomb under the table and let them sweat when it’s going to go boom," Fuller said. "So the audience knows who Hannibal is so we don’t have to overplay his villainy. We get to subvert his legacy and give the audience twists and turns.”

Sounds like an interesting enough premise to us, and Fuller plans to run with that premise for two seasons – and he already has the first seven episodes mapped out too. After that, the plan is to shake up the show dramatically after Lecter is outed as a serial killer, which should fundamentally alter the structure of the show from there on in. Here’s what Fuller had to say about his ambitious plans for the show’s structure: “Doing a cable model on network television [13-episode seasons] gives us the opportunity not to dally in our storytelling because we have a lot of real estate to cover,” Fuller says. “I pitched a seven-season arc including stories from various [Thomas Harris] books.”

We’re intrigued. Please NBC, don’t screw this up!

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6 Comments

  • James | April 20, 2012 6:50 PMReply

    Glad to see the networks are following the lead of the UK and then cable networks, and making seasons that are a reasonable length. No quality show can sustain that quality over a season of 22 episodes or more, and certainly not for multiple years. This model should allow for better programming.

    I just worry about something so adult on a network, where it may get watered down.

  • Sean | April 20, 2012 5:50 PMReply

    Just hearing the idea and thing about the potential, I think the show would be better on a network like fx or even showtime.

  • Hannibal Rising - Awful | April 20, 2012 1:45 PMReply

    Hopefully they aren't too gimmicky with the reveal that Hannibal Lecter is a killer. Anyone who watches this show is going to want to see Lecter do his thing (hopefully involving more eating people while sprouting a British accent & less playing with swords while speaking with a lousy French accent) so they can't really play the reveal of Lecter as a killer like it's big SURPRISE. Everyone knows its coming & dragging out the reveal too long could piss people off. We've seen how fast people have turned on 'The Killing' after their endless games with the audience. Hopefully they'll dive into Lecter as a killer sooner rather than later.

  • right eye | April 20, 2012 1:36 PMReply

    I can’t wait till NBC start airing the origin to Hannibal with their new original TV series. I hadn't been this excited to see a new TV series since HBO's True Blood first started airing. I'm just glad that I got Dish's new Hopper, so just in case I'm not home the Hopper will still record my CBS, NBC, FOX and ABC prime time programming everyday in HD. I work for DISH and I can tell you the Hopper stores this PrimeTime Anytime shows for up to eight days on your Hopper DVR and this does not take away your 250 hours of HD recording time because the Hopper has a separate storage space for those recordings. Dish just introduced their Pandora app on the Hopper, where you can enjoy listening to your favorite artist on internet radio.

  • Kevin Klawitter | April 20, 2012 12:40 PMReply

    It really baffles me that as fine a network as NBC, who actually puts effort and imagination behind their original programming, often lags behind in the ratings while CBS, which consists entirely of generic, cliched shows like NCIS and The Big Bang Theory.

  • Lily | April 20, 2012 10:57 AMReply

    now, let's pray it won't ended like Pushing Daisies. Genius, yet cruelly butchered.

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