When confronted with the name Hannibal Lecter, most people might immediately think of Anthony Hopkins in "Silence of the Lambs." While that movie is, in fact, excellent in terms of charming cannibals, my heart rests with Mads Mikkelsen and his portrayal of the fictional serial killer in NBC’s "Hannibal."
The show, developed by Bryan Fuller, premiered in April of 2013. It was renewed for three 13-episode seasons, but, to the misfortune of fans like me, "Hannibal" was canceled in August of 2015 due to low ratings. The series received critical acclaim and the lead actors, Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy, were singled out for praise due to their performance and visual style. The first two seasons won the Saturn Awards for Best Network Television Series, as well as Best Actor for Mikkelsen and Dancy. Laurence Fishburne won Best Supporting Actor for his performance in season two.
"Hannibal" is a psychological thriller-horror series based on the characters of Thomas Harris’s novel, "The Red Dragon." The show’s story line predates that of the novel and focuses on the development of the relationship between FBI special investigator Will Graham (Dancy) and the secretly cannibalistic forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mikkelsen). Although ambiguous in the first two seasons, the third season confirms that this relationship is, in fact, a deadly romance.
The series is especially eye-catching because of its gruesome violence and exquisite cinematography. Although graphic, Fuller manages to turn the most horrendous and horrific scenes into works of art with symbolic imagery, beautiful food plating, and poetic dialogue. Through the use of primarily red and blue lighting, Hannibal’s mood is dark, mysterious, and foreboding, leaving audiences tense and aching for the next series of events. The contrast of the gore and the sheer elegance leaves viewers intrigued. In addition, the complexity of all the characters and their development throughout the seasons only adds to the attraction. But for the major "Hannibal" fans, known as Fannibals, one of the greatest appeals is the dynamic, tumultuous love between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter, whom they have lovingly dubbed “Hannigram.”
As you might have already guessed, I am indeed one of these Fannibals. This show is by far my favorite of all time, and my heart races at the sheer mention of Hannibal Lecter. I watched each episode religiously, and I cried and screamed when the cancellation was announced. I grew attached to the characters, the storyline, the artistic cinematography, and even the gore. Therefore, I wanted to share a list of signs indicating that you too are just as obsessed as I am.
1. You start to tear up at the first notes of “Love Crime” by Siouxie Sioux.
This song, written especially for the passionate season three finale, brings back heart-wrenching memories of Will and Hannibal falling off the cliff, their fates left unknown to audiences. Just the first few notes can leave you sobbing, but you will suffer out of love while listening to it. And if you really hate yourself, you’ll re-watch the glorious scene where this song is played.
2. You named your succulents after the characters.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have succulents named Will and Hannibal; in fact, they share a pot because they are murder husbands. The round, doubled one is Hannibal because he’s polished and has two faces. The spiky, unruly one is Will because he is complex and disheveled. I have no shame.
3. Flower crowns have become a vital part of your wardrobe.
In the flower crown meme, you photoshop a flower crown onto an angry, disgruntled character. This meme became significant for Fannibals, because the cutesy flower crowns contrast so greatly with the dark, horrific tone of the show. The actors have caught on to this trend and wore flower crowns at a recent Comic Con.
4. You reblog something "Hannibal"-related on Tumblr almost every day.
Because of its cinematography and eloquent dialogue, any GIFs or photosets from this series work for both my personal and aesthetic blogs. It doesn’t help that I follow too many Fannibal blogs.
5. You have way too many "Hannibal" products.
All three seasons on DVD? Check. Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham Funko POP figures? Check. Season soundtracks from iTunes? Check. “Eat the rude” phone case? Check… well, you get the idea.
6. You spend too much time on Archive of Our Own.
Why put effort into actual assigned reading when you can be immersed in a Hannigram fanfiction from your favorite author? Bye bye good grades…Oh well, at least you’re reading.
7. In-depth, scholarly discussion about the show are your specialty.
You’re the first person to criticize the portrayal of the female characters in the second season, but at the same time you will make sure to argue that Alana Bloom and Margot Verger became powerful and dynamic in the third. Moreover, your analysis of Hannibal’s mind palace can blow minds.
8. You try to watch as many of the actors’ works as possible.
So what if "Blood and Chocolate" got low ratings? Hugh Dancy was adorable in it. And let’s face it: Mads Mikkelsen as Le Chiffre was the best part of "Casino Royale," anyway.
9. Mads Mikkelsen is a better Hannibal Lecter than Anthony Hopkins.
Mikkelsen was a far more terrifying Hannibal because of his snake-like charms and cunningly elegant demeanor. You will fight to the death to defend this opinion.
10. You can handle extensive amounts of gore and horror.
It takes a lot more than some blood and chainsaws to make you cringe. You need your violence to be intricate, psychologically intriguing, and laced with entrails. After "Hannibal," even the most horrifying Halloween maze can barely make you flinch.
11. You are travelling abroad to see some of the locations where Hannibal was filmed.
Yes, I am actually going to Italy this summer so that I can visit Florence and marvel at the Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Galleria degli Uffizi, Ponte Santa Trinita, and the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. I can't wait to gaze at La Primavera by Botticelli as Will and Hannibal did.
As you can see, I have become quite obsessed with this particular television show due to the complex storylines, dynamic characters, and mysterious aesthetic. I hope that you too can appreciate the series' intricacy as I do. Enjoy!