NBC’s canceled-too-soon Hannibal is finally streaming on Netflix, and the three-season horror show will make you forget all about Anthony Hopkins' movie version of Hannibal Lecter.
Serving as a quasi-prequel to The Silence of the Lambs, the series follows FBI profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) as he hunts serial killers under the supervision of psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), not realizing that the good doctor is a killer himself.
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If that premise isn’t enough to hook you, read on. Below, we present our best arguments for why you ought to take a bite out of this series.
It’s Mads Mikkelsen’s finest work
You likely already know this Danish actor from his roles in Casino Royale, Doctor Strange, Rogue One, or maybe even the video game Death Stranding, but his portrayal of Hannibal the Cannibal is his defining role so far, in our books. His version of the character is that of a cold-blooded killer in the guise of a well-mannered aesthete, a man with impeccable style, precise handwriting, and—gulp—culinary mastery.
It’s one Bryan Fuller reunion after another
If you’re a fan of prolific TV producer Bryan Fuller, you’ll be glad to know he taps into his Fullerverse repertory for Hannibal, with appearances by Dead Like Me’s Ellen Muth, Wonderfalls’ Caroline Dhavernas and Aidan Devine, Pushing Daisies’ Ellen Greene and Raúl Esparza, and American Gods’ Scott Thompson and Demore Barnes.
It’s horrifyingly beautiful
Forgive us, but you’ve never seen crime scenes as artistic as Hannibal’s gory tableaux. The production design as a whole—the cinematography, the sets, the wardrobe, the visual effects—is all beautiful. The show even filmed in Palermo and Florence, Italy, for Season 3.
It’s food porn—minus the human flesh
Celebrity chef José Andrés served as the show’s culinary consultant, working in tandem with Fuller and food stylist Janice Poon. “José helped bring to life the sophisticated palate and meticulous gourmet setting of Hannibal Lecter,” Andrés’ website touts. “José provided inspiration, recipes, techniques and presentation ideas to the team to help create provocative stories and culinary scenes.”
It’s rife with homoerotic subtext
As Will pursues and becomes infatuated with Hannibal, many a fan’s ship sets sail. Fuller even admitted in a 2014 interview with NewNowNext that the homoerotic subtext between Will and Hannibal practically verges on text, though the characters’ relationship is never sexual. “[It’s] hard to deny an attraction between these men,” he added.
It’s chock-full of notable guest stars
The guest-star list includes Suits’ Gina Torres, Strike Back’s Richard Armitage, Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon, True Blood’s Rutina Wesley, Veep’s Anna Chlumsky, and NOS4A2’s Zachary Quinto. Plus, The X-Files’ Gillian Anderson plays Hannibal’s psychotherapist and gets bumped up to series regular status for Season 3.
It might just come back
Mikkelsen stoked revival rumors as recently as January 2019, three and a half years after NBC cancelled the series, when he told Bloody Disgusting that Fuller was “working to get the rights to Silence of the Lambs” and “still working on some ideas where we can find a new home for this.”