Hannibal is a character who immediately resonates with viewers and fans as an awesomely titillating yet gruesomely menacing serial killer with uber-subtle ingenuity and a hint of class. Watching NBC's take on Hannibal wasn't impressive or awe-inspiring. At times, it was boring.
I wasn't impressed by television's willful minimization of such a grandiose character. Though Dr. Hannibal Lecter, played by Mads Mikkelsen, may be where the show's title derives from, he wasn't the star of or the most interesting part of the show: special agent for the FBI, Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) was.
A professor with a unique gift to get inside the heads of serial's killers, Graham steals the show through his social awkwardness and seemingly divine cunning that allows him to make leaps and connect dots within a case that mere mortals may not have. At times, his near telepathy seems a bit over-the-top and implausible, but somehow, coming from him, it's not as off-putting as it could be.
Conversely, Hannibal seems dreary: he's not at all exciting. A man who kills due to a love for the sport while practicing psychology should ooze excitement or at least a offer a witty portrayal of contrived control. Through his muddled accent, I could not understand all of the dialogue and that is an unforgivable sin on a television show. However, there were plenty of bursts of light through the dark cloud that cast by Hannibal's performance.
The tet-a-tet between Agent Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) Graham as well as the love-hate triangle forming between Crawford, Graham and Lecter is nothing short of amazing. Graham's admittance to being somewhere on the Autism spectrum closer to the diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome is something just shy of brilliant. To have a hyper-intelligent man with autism not used for obvious punchlines or cheap assertions like in Rain Man or Monk, fuel the plot is done in a spectacularly dashing form.
What's a little harder to digest are the jarring scenes where Graham is channeling the serial killer and actually showing the audience a first-person murder. These scenes are shot with such visual and emotional intensity, it's pretty scary ... in a good way.
It's hard to be a gentlemen and a eat someone's lungs at the same time. The character Anthony Hopkins created and mastered, oozed the sophistication and demeanor of a courteous serial killer, who could eat his guests' frontal lobe and at the same time offer a sense of civility. Hannibal, on TV, did not.