Hannibal is an American television series of the thriller genre, developed by Bryan Fuller for NBC. The series is based on the characters and items that appear in the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris and focuses on the budding relationship between FBI special investigator Will Graham and Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a forensic psychiatrist destined to become the Graham’s biggest enemy.
Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) is an FBI crime analyst on the hunt for a serial murderer. Will has a unique way of thinking, which gives him the ability to empathize with the psychopaths that he hunts. This capability helps him to understand and know about what makes them commit these acts. But when the mind of the twisted murderer that he is searching for gets too complicated for him to understand, he enlists the help of one of the major psychiatric doctors in the country, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen). Together they form a team to help the FBI in hunting serial murderers.
Presented in 1080p AVC encode, the picture throughout the entire series is glorious. This is the first TV series I’ve had the pleasure in reviewing and I was blown away by the picture. The detail and clarity in the picture is probably some of the best I have ever seen, especially on a TV series. The defined detail on the faces is superb, everything is so greatly defined and look as fantastic what you would come to expect from a new age movie, let alone a TV series. The craters on Larry Fishburne’s face have never looked so prominent. Daytime scenes are superb, the bright colours really pop off the screen; greenery is lush and the blood really stands out when we see it on screen. The black levels add great depth to the video, whether that be for night time shots or when Will Graham is searching a crime scene and no detail is lost at all. The slow-motion flashback scenes of Will Graham re-living the killer’s moves were one of the standouts for me, especially during the first few episodes. A more grey filter is applied in the scenes and give off a very eerie feel to them, but when the blood shows it’s face it really jumps out of the screen and into your face. Very little motion blur and a slight amount of grain and noise from what I could see, especially in the more darker scenes. A top video presentation here that really surprised me.
There are two audio tracks on the series. One being English Stereo 2.0 LPCM and the other being 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, which will be the audio track I will be referring too in this review.
The overall surround mix is great. All speakers get used to full effect, with the rear speakers picking up the subtle background noises. The sub gets used very well pounding the floor when our serial murderer pounces on his next victim. Dialogue is clear and precise, and isn’t lost at all in the surround mix and comes across as natural as it should. The clarity on the track is great, with no loss in detail from what I could here. The score haunts the atmosphere on screen and lingers in the background, building up to the ultimate moment of impact. It isn’t an overpowering score but is strong enough to engage you into the series and leaves you in suspense. The quality of the mix is stable throughout the entire series. Like the video, it’s another top notch presentation.
There are also optional HOH English subtitles throughout the series.
All extras are located on disc 4 of this set, and disappointingly all we get are two featurettes
* Hannibal: First Look – A 3 minute brief NBC behind the scenes look at the series and the characters. Some very brief interviews with some of the cast and crew mixed with clips from the series
* Forensics 101 – Another brief 3 minute featurette with some more interviews with the cast and crew intertwined with clips from the series, as well as talking how the characters are also featured in the original literature and finishing off with how a real forensics expert came onto the set to teach the cast how to do things properly.
Overall very disappointing. No audio commentaries, no in-depth interviews with any of the cast or crew…..not even a TV trailer! I would’ve loved to have seen why Mads Mikkelsen was picked to fill the shoes of Hannibal, how they got away with some of the gore and look at some of the things they maybe had to cut back on so the show could get aired. Some commentaries would’ve been nice, especially on the pilot episode.
I’m quite a fan of ‘Manhunter’ and ‘Silence of the Lambs’ (and to a lesser extent ‘Red Dragon’) I was quite intrigued as to how a TV show could work so when this landed on my doorstep to review I was very pleased to have the chance to watch what is a very good TV show.
The TV show doesn’t follow in the same timeline as the original movies, but from the off you are thrown into Will Graham’s world of pursuing a serial murderer, and the TV series just storms ahead episode by episode and doesn’t let up until the very end which leaves you wanting more. I was very surprised at just how much gore was put into the show, lots and lots of blood that really doesn’t hold back and really is quite violent in places, with some great editing pulling away just before impact leaving more to the imagination. The TV series is intense and gripping, flowing very smoothly leading into the next episode with no lingering gaps. At the end of every episode it leaves you wanting to watch the next episode straight away, luckily having these review discs meant I didn’t have to wait a week until the next episode. The cast for me as a whole were great. Hugh Dancy stars as ‘Will Graham’ and does a very good job as the troubled FBI crime analyst, but the standout for me was the superb Mads Mikkelsen as ‘Dr Hannibal Lecter’. His performance was brilliant as the menacing genius. Laurence Fishburne adds a good supporting role to the series along with some appearances from Gina Torres and Gillian Anderson thrown into the mix for good measure.
Thirteen episodes spread over four discs this boasts both a superb video presentation as well as brilliant audio track. Let down slightly by very few extras, this is a great TV show that all horror/thriller enthusiasts will enjoy whether you’re a fan of the ‘Hannibal Lector’ universe. Needless to say I cannot wait for Season two to start, and I will be re-watching his first series again in preparation for it.
Purchase your copy from Amazon.co.uk