As I began writing this post (Why do we still say ‘writing’ when clearly I’m ‘typing’?!), I was acutely aware that I was in danger of sounding deranged based on what I was finding enjoyment in. You see, on Monday, I watched the latest installment of Hannibal, the series created by Bryan Fuller, that reworks the life of everyone’s (well my) favourite cannibal, Hannibal Lecter.
Should anyone even have a ‘favourite’ cannibal? Probably not, and personally, he’s my favourite by default, as the only one I could name (not counting characters who’ve had a nibble unknowingly). We’re three seasons in now and I love it, but a lot of the time I’m not actually sure what’s going on! Especially this season. Each episode has seemed like a fever dream that still needs the remnants shaking off after waking, and whilst I enjoy TV that makes you talk and discuss afterwards, having to check I understood the plot each week is no fun. And now, NBC’s recent decision to cancel it will hinder my understanding further, especially if another broadcasting outlet is not found to see the storyline through to fulfillment.
However, even without fully understanding the subtle psychological charades being played between the main characters, I am mesmerised by it on a weekly basis. I’ll happily just look at the artistry used in each shot, the surreal visual images that draw you into the dream state. Even the colour palette (Fuller always used hues well in Pushing Daisies) is strangely rich, yet muted – feeling similar to how in my own dreams I’m aware there are colours, yet nothing really stands out. Plus, everything seems very autumnal (the best season) and I’m a huge fan of stags… there’ s a LOT of stag imagery!
Hannibal himself is incredibly alluring, although I can’t decide whether it’s a fabulous portrayal by Mads Mikkelson that intrigues me or I just find the actor strangely hot! I’m entirely creeped out by him, yet I’m hypnotised audibly and visually whilst he’s on-screen – I would be completely lured to his web. Everything, from the way he dresses (elegant yet quirky), the way he conducts himself (self-assured and passively arrogant) to his interest in all things classical, makes for a very seductive watch.
But if finding a cannibal attractive is not bad enough, next we come to the kills. Now I’m not one for mindless, gratuitous violence – although I love horror, slasher films are not my thing and I’m generally quite squeamish – but the way victims are disposed of in this show are really quite clever. Each character’s actual demise is generally not the focus, but the different ways they are displayed after the act is intriguing. I feel a tad disturbed at myself for writing that. I shouldn’t take pleasure from seeing humans cut up and made into elaborate pieces of art. But that is what it is – art. They’re often beautiful, but that’s so wrong isn’t it? To be de-sensitised from it supposedly being a person and merely appreciating the bloodied sculpture they’ve been remodelled into.
Let’s move past the last few statements and on to the sumptuous banquets that are laid out each week at Lecter’s dinner parties. Ooh food, yes, everyone’s safe and normal talking about food…Until you realise the get-togethers are the ones where they serve humans in every connotation of the verb! Everything looks so delicious – it’s hard to remind yourself that each course was a piece of a character only moments before when you’re salivating! Clearly this is doing nothing to make me seem of sound mind – He’s in… Hannibal has infiltrated my psyche and I am becoming Will Graham. I’m sure the walls are sprouting antlers…
But fear not people, I’m not a psychopath in training as I’m fully aware it’s merely a work of fiction and surely that’s what we should want from our TV? Well crafted, multi-layered characters that seduce us, for better or worse. I’m not going to apologise for finding it aesthetically pleasing, I believe that’s part the intention – This is Fuller’s design. Yes, it’s graphic and moody and twisted, but it’s also bloody good (no pun intended) for so many reasons other than what I’ve mentioned here, so I sincerely hope we get another season, somehow. If you’ve not had chance to view it yet, go do it now and catch up!
Unfortunately, all shows come to an end at some point, so here are a few other series I’m currently watching / starting / finishing in case Hannibal becomes incarcerated forever.
Orphan Black: Clone wars without any reference to dodgy prequels (!). Tatiana Maslany is a superb actress playing ALL the main characters and this in itself is a pleasure to watch. When she begins playing a clone, played by a clone, it all becomes a bit Inception-esque, but is further tribute to how versatile she is.
Penny Dreadful: Ok, ok…there are some parts about this show that take half its title too seriously. There’s some incredibly cheesy dialogue and so many sub-plots that don’t appear to have a lot of cohesion. That aside, PD (being described by some as a more graphic version of the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) is full of Gothic, supernatural treats. And Eva Green is all out cray-cray and it’s brilliant! I would be so happy to be in a room with her and Helena Bonham-Carter…
Jackie: Sadly, after a seven season run, I only have the series finale left but it’s been such a great comedy drama. It’s a series that has dealt with some incredibly difficult themes as it follows an A&E nurse through her rapidly unravelling life, yet still remains fun and quirky, thanks to her sidekicks. Zoe, the ever faithful junior nurse, a crazy collection of doctors from English aristocrats to ones with inappropriate stress-induced fetishes, it even has a God and a hero from Asgard (kind of!).
The Good Wife: Yes, I’m very late to this party, but then I’ve still only watched the first season of The Sopranos and the pilot of Breaking Bad (hush!). Five episodes in and so far so good. If you too didn’t get the first invite, Juliana Margulies plays a scorned wife of a state attorney embroiled in (and consequently jailed for) a political and sexual scandal. Forced to make a living, she returns to her previous employment as a lawyer. My only concern with it so far is that it seems a bit ‘ case of the week’, but as it’s been running for so long (#6seasonsNOmovie) I’m confident there will be more overarching plot lines.
Things learned from this post? I’m slightly warped, watch too much TV and turn up late for everything. And I still have the new OITNB waiting patiently for me to check in! Is it winter yet? Binge watching is far more acceptable then….
Image credits: Variety.com