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Bryan Fuller’s Design Elevated Television

The character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter is timeless even though it remains younger than the creation of horror icons such as Dracula and The Wolfman. The Silence of the Lambs was a groundbreaking film for the genre it called home, but not many would expect a television show done decades afterward would be as pervasive, if not more. The show Hannibal, running for 3 seasons on NBC from 2013-2015, focuses on the introduction of a character by the name of Will Graham who, as a behavioral analyst, reluctantly assists the FBI with a case involving murdered young women.

A Love Letter To Hannibal: An Artform On The Small Screen
A surreal courtroom scene from Hannibal. Source: NBC

Eventually, the assistance of a seemingly innocent Dr. Hannibal Lecter is provided to Will and Agent Jack Crawford. This would sound like any detective or murder mystery television show, so what was and still is in the intrigue into the show that has developed such a landmark fan-base?

A Love Letter To Hannibal: An Artform On The Small Screen
Still image from an episode of Hannibal. Source: NBC

Well, it’s not one singular thing that sticks out to me, instead, it is a combination of aspects that bring the series to cult status. From the visual genius of Jaro Dick who held the majority weight of set design to the eerie and mood shifting musical composition by Brian Reitzell, the individuals involved in this Bryan Fuller project show how well they’ve worked together. Hannibal becomes nothing without the addition of a stellar cast, from Hugh Dancy as Will Graham to Mads Mikkelsen who played Hannibal Lecter. The many pieces that put together the entire puzzle of Hannibal seemed to work so well, so many were surprised by the short run it seemed to have years ago. The cancellation after only 39 episodes was something shocking to those who looked forward to the twists and turns the story held for them.

Although many fans, such as myself, became disheartened by that news of cancellation back in 2015, the admiration seemed to simply grow stronger. Lately, while perusing platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, and Tik Tok, it is clear that the fans are still there and there are new ones showing up alongside them. From editing of clips, to fan art, to the discussion around character interactions like that of Will and Hannibal in the midst of perceived romantic tensions, all of it continues the story Fuller pushed for on NBC. If a series sticks with an audience this well, it becomes like that of a legend or a fantastical myth that stays with us who keep telling its’ story. Access to the seasons, currently all available to stream on Netflix, gives people a chance to see what the fuss is about and why people care about these characters so much.

A Love Letter To Hannibal: An Artform On The Small Screen
Dr. Lecter and Will Graham in an episode of Hannibal. Source: NBC

The writing and general craftsmanship of a show’s first season will stick with audiences the most. It makes sense that it stays this way for a lot of media, it was what you first fell in love with and is not too dissimilar to the first album by a band you’ve loved. Changes come along for all styles of media and it’s up to a lot of factors on whether or not it continues to see another day or another season. Hannibal may have not seen the fourth season that people hoped would come around, whether it was back on NBC or on a streaming platform, but it definitely set a precedent for the power of artistry found on television if done the right way. The way the show directs color, shot composition, acting, and intelligent writing is why it stands as tall as it does today. Let us know what you’ve liked about the series when it aired and what you might miss from it!

About Brittney Bender

Lover of movies, TV, art, and the abstract in life! Horror is a main passion of mine, but I could say that for most media in my life. You’ll find me writing recaps, reviews, TV news, “Top 5” content, and more.

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