Something's been bothering me for about 26 years. With the publication of Red Dragon, Thomas Harris created one of the all-time most memorable villains in Dr. Hannibal Lecter, brilliant psychiatrist/serial killer. With a series of films running the spectrum from masterpiece to junk, we've all come to know the mannerisms, the catchphrases. Everyone can do a Hannibal Lecter impression. He even has his own Halloween costume. We've embraced him as one of our classic monsters. But have we ever questioned the audacity of author Harris in naming his terrifying creation "Hannibal," just because it rhymes with "cannibal"?? Seriously, who would we let get away with that today? People go on about Harris' ballsy ending to the novel Hannibal, but creating a character who is a cannibal and then naming the character Hannibal? And no one calls him on it? Holy shit.
Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. Anyway, in April we'll see another interpretation of the chillingly mannered Dr. Lecter when NBC unveils Hannibal, a weekly series set before the events of Red Dragon (or Manhunter if you prefer). Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) is a free man, helping FBI agent Will Graham (Hugh Dancy, looking disheveled enough to make William Petersen proud) and Graham's boss Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne). This quick trailer from NBC looks polished but predictable: Lecter at a dinner table, murder victims ritualistically displayed, and what's most likely some human meat going into a freezer. Honestly, it's a pretty promising cast, but Red Dragon had a stellar cast as well and that one landed with a thud. (Shout out to Brett Ratner.) The other worrisome variable here is NBC; they pulled the plug on Hannibal producer Brad Fuller's Munsters reboot before it ever aired, eventually running his not-terrible pilot as a one-and-done. And last week they canceled their other evil doctor series Do Not Harm after just two airings. What I'm saying is the Peacock is a fickle bitch, so it's tough to call how this will turn out. I'll give the pilot a watch based on the casting of Mikkelsen alone, as I pour one out for Macaulay Culkin.