SCROLL TO END OF REVIEW FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A COPY OF THIS SEASON ON DVD
Oh, this is a tough review to write. I just want to say: “Whatever you are doing, if you haven’t seen this, stop doing it and go into the town right now and buy this boxset. And don’t even think of leaving the house until you have travelled from the jaw-dropping opening to the edge of the seat, screaming at the TV, awesome finale. But that wouldn’t be a great review. Honest though.
The first series of Hannibal was dropped on an unsuspecting audience – sure, we knew it was coming but feared it would either be a Dexter clone or, even worse, Hannibal: The early years, full of sexy young killers and blood-free deaths – we knew it was from Bryan Fuller, a man who’s had my respect ever since the fantastic Dead Like me and Pushing Daises, two shows that were darkly funny with a cast and bizarre journeys that were superbly realised. However, even I wasn’t sure Fuller could step up to the full adult level and bring Hannibal Lecter to life. Turns out I was wrong. Not only was I wrong, but I no longer see Brian Cox or Anthony Hopkins when I think of this character. Intelligent evil has an new name and it is Mads Mikkelsen.
After the events of last season, Will Graham knows that Hannibal is a very dangerous man. A man who almost ruined his career and, he suspects, is a cold-blooded killer. And this creates a relationship unlike any on television. The dynamic between two men who are both wary of the other, untrusting and at the same time share a respect, friendship and an underlying tension – sexual? Not quite, but it is dangerous, familiar and unique.
This dynamic is the lynchpin on which the whole season balances and oh my, it’s supremely handled.
After the first season, when the show and Fuller both found their feet and proved they could be unlike anything else on TV, Hannibal has come out in the season round swinging – from the bone crushing opening, right through to the final scene that turns everything you think you know on its head – this is arguably the strongest thing on TV this year.
The principal characters here, especially Fishburne’s Jack Crawford and Dancy’s Will Graham, go through an arc this time out that leaves them very different men than they were in the first episode. Changed, damaged and stronger, these men fight the whole way through the season, doing things they never thought possible and losing people – and finding people – that they never could have imagined. And it’s handled masterfully.
Not one slice of the blade, one mutton chop or one line is missed; the direction throughout is simmering and slow boiled. Dark, brooding and at the same time peppered with wonderful dialogue, moments of wit and character development that is sublime.
But at the heart, the removed and now finely sliced and fried heart, is Mad Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter. And he does not waste one scene, line or glance. His performance is perfect. He is entirely believable as a man who sees himself as, literally, top of the chain. He’s a genius; deadly and powerful – a ball of chained rage on the cusp of exploding. And when he does, it’s glorious.
Not for the faint-hearted, Hannibal never flinches away and just when you think it can’t get any better, the series introduces Micheal Pitt as Mason Verger (Gary Oldman played Verger in the Hannibal movie) a character who embodies the malice of both Mark Hamill and Heath Ledger’s Jokers with the untainted beauty of pure evil and chaos. His character comes very close to stealing the whole season.
But steal it he doesn’t, the show is an ensemble – every cog is well oiled and performs beautifully. But Mikkelsen, oh my, Mikkelsen. Trust me when I say that he now, above all others, owns the character of Hannibal Lecter.
With next season promising a very different feel, location and plot, this is essential to watch now. I don’t know if they can keep up this level of brilliant but if they can, we’re in for a very exciting time.
5 out of 5 Nerds
WIN ONE OF THREE COPIES OF HANNIBAL SEASON 2 ON DVD COURTESY OF FTN & STUDIO CANAL
Do you fancy winning a copy of this stunningly good – but gruesome season (scroll down for full dvd specs and extras)? Then simply answer the following question:
Jodie Foster may be directing an episode of Hannibal season 3, but what character did she play in the original Silence Of The Lambs movie?
Think you know? Then send us an email to email@example.com with your answer, name, address and date of birth and mark the email ‘Hannibal the Cannibal’.
Competition closes (UK) Midnight on Thursday, October 2nd and is open to UK & ROI residents over 18 years old only. Norman T&Cs apply. Judge’s decision is final; no cash alternative will be offered.
Starring Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy. Laurence Fishburne, Cynthia Nixon, Eddie Izzard & Gillian Anderson
HANNIBAL, THE COMPLETE SEASON TWO, featuring 13 episodes, is coming to DVD and Blu-ray on September 22nd following its EST release on September 1st.
The dark and haunting Sky Living series Hannibal returns for a second season, with more shocking revelations and games of psychological cat and mouse. Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) is locked in a mental asylum accused of Hannibal Lecter’s crimes (Mads Mikkelsen). Now that Will sees Hannibal for what he truly is, he faces a fight to prove his own sanity and convince those closest to him he is innocent of murder. Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne) is dealing with his own feelings about Will, and whether his protégé is in fact a cold-blooded killer. Looking for answers, Jack turns to a man he has come to trust: Hannibal Lecter. With Will locked up, Hannibal becomes Jack’s new consultant on cases. Hannibal is torn between self-preservation and his desire to keep Will close to him, despite advice from his psychiatrist Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson) to stay away.
The deadly dance between these characters continues to turn in startling and unexpected ways, in a season that will show nothing can ever be the same again…
HANNIBAL is a one-hour drama series, exploring the early relationship of Thomas Harris’ famous characters – psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter and his patient, gifted FBI criminal profiler Will Graham. From creator Bryan Fuller, Season Two is set to be even more explosive than the last!
Audio Commentaries with Cast and Crew
Featurettes: This is My Design, Bodies of Lies, The Style of a Killer, Killer Intentions
Post Mortem with Scott Thompson Webisodes
Combined Running Time: 559 mins approx. • Feature Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 • Region B
Colour • HD Standard 1080p • 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio • English • HOH Subtitles
The Box set containing both sensational seasons will also be available to own