Didn't watch Hannibal this season? You missed out on so much. Despite its violent moments and creepy topics, Hannibal is brilliantly written, acted and directed, making it a stunningly and shockingly great show.
If you're a fan of characterization, great design and truly smart shows, you'll love this new glimpse into the Hannibal story. It's one of those shows that you can't stop watching once you've started, and you can't look away no matter what's happening. And it's not even so much about cannibalism (at least not yet…) making it a great story without the blatant gross and creepy aspects of the Hannibal story. It makes you think and keeps you wondering what will happen next.
Once you see why you've got to check out Hannibal, then catch up on the whole season at NBC.com and start counting down the days with the other “Fannibals” (yes, you must visit the wacky madness) until season 2 premieres in 2014. Here's what you missed!
It's familiar, yet different
The story and characters are familiar to fans of the book series by Thomas Harris and the movie series starring Anthony Hopkins as the title character. Yet, the TV series is original content that takes place before any of the events from the previous Hannibal story.
Show creator Bryan Fuller already has a full plan for the life of the show – and in his ideal world, it lasts for seven seasons! Including season 1, four of those planned seasons are all original content, with seasons 4, 5, and 6 being based on previous Hannibal works. It's nice to know that Fuller already has a master plan for the series. We can only hope NBC will keep the show around for that long!
It's aesthetically pleasing
Hannibal is creepy in the most elegant and vibrant way possible. Visually, it's unlike any other shows on TV–it's dark, but still sophisticated and stylish. The strikingly beautiful color scheme is comprised of mainly blacks with pops of purple, burgundy and deep blue.
And if you're not a fan of gore–don't worry. Hannibal is so much more than gory scenes. The murders are still intense, but because it's on a network, the kills and crime scenes are only quick flashes on your screen. I usually end up watching with my hands over my face, because the show is so good you can't look away, even when you know something unpleasant is on the screen.
Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy are superb
It's a huge task to take on a character as infamous as Hannibal Lecter–and Mads Mikkelsen takes his portrayal to the next level. At this stage in the series, no one knows what Dr. Lecter is up to, giving us a unique look at the show's bad guy as he hides in plain sight (and frames Will Graham).
Speaking of Will Graham, Hugh Dancy is equally as wonderful playing the FBI Special Agent. Will is brought back to the FBI by Special Agent-in-Charge Jack Crawford (played by Laurence Fishburne) to help solve tough cases, as Will has a knack for getting into the minds of serial killers. Dancy's acting skills are out in full force as he showcases 1) Will reenacting murders through the eyes of the killer, 2) Will as a person trying to be as normal as he can be, and 3) Will as a guy who is slowly losing all sense of reality.
Will Graham is good at what he does, but he's also losing his mind
As expected with anyone who can get into the mind of serial killers, Will Graham is not completely right. He's brilliant at his job of criminal profiling, but not without cost. Over the years, it clearly began to affect his thinking in more ways. During season 1 of Hannibal, we saw Will's descent from gifted profiler to an unstable mess being framed for murder. And it doesn't help that Will's also been unknowingly diagnosed with encephalitis, making him even more unaware of true reality.
Still, you can't help but love the crazed yet brilliant man who is always picking up stray dogs and taking them home. Plus, Hugh Dancy is undeniably adorable with his disheveled hair and scruffy face. Dancy plays his character so well that seeing Will slowly lose his mind makes you just want to reach out and give him a hug–and to tell him what Hannibal is doing to him.
Hannibal is a bad guy–in many ways
If you know anything about the Hannibal books or movies, you know Hannibal Lecter is not the nicest guy. He's great at hiding his true self–a serial killer who just so happens to cook, eat, and feed his victims to others. His sharp fashion sense and elegant way with words can only hide his dark ways for so long.
But even beyond his cannibalistic ways, there's another type of evil living within Dr. Lecter. Hannibal's been manipulating Will all season, and Will is the closest thing to a friend Hannibal has in his life. Hannibal is pushing Will down a dark path which led to a season-ending cliffhanger of Will behind bars framed for murder.
Tune in next year to see if anyone will actually “Save Will Graham,” to see what (or who?) Hannibal will cook next, to find out who's been taking care of Will's stray dog community, and what will happen next with Will and Hannibal's friendship.
See more at our TV Crime feature page.
London McGuire is a free-roaming writer and blogger at WeLoveTVMore.com. In addition to horror and thriller genres, she enjoys writing about great food and anything related to television or movies. Follow her on Twitter @londonmcguire.