I have something to confess.
So… here goes.
I am a Fannibal.
And I unapologetically ship Hannigram.
If it sounds like I’m speaking a foreign language right now, I apologize for confusing you. Allow me to elucidate and perhaps bring you over to a twisted but delicious little corner of Netflix.
A lot of people measured their pandemic lock down by the TV shows and movies they binged. I definitely watched Tiger King (because I’d listened to the podcast Over My Dead Body and knew/loved the story already), but that’s about it. I’m just not much of a TV or movie watcher anymore — I’m either too busy, or can’t relax because I feel like I should be doing something productive. Part of it is ants-in-the-pants ADHD too. I can only watch about 20 minutes of anything at a time, but once I started watching a certain television show on Netflix I most definitely was able to sit still for at least a whole episode.
That incredible show was NBC’s Hannibal, which ran from 2013-2015 with three seasons and 39 glorious episodes. I watched the first five episodes when they were on the air and just finished the season finale (of course going back to watch the first five again to remember what was going on). What can I say? TL;DR — Hannibal is so good and you need to stop what you are doing and go watch it. Oh, and they NEED to make a season 4!!!
Hannibal is based on Thomas Harris’s book Red Dragon, the prequel to The Silence of the Lambs and is a delight for anyone who is a Hannibal Lecter fan in general. I’ve always adored the Jodie Foster movie — it was one of my like 10 VHS tapes I had when I didn’t have cable, so I watched it a lot. I still maintain that is the only horror movie to ever win Best Picture at the Oscars. I remember when the movie Hannibal came out, which is actually a pretty good movie aside from the recasting of Clarice Starling (though Julianne Moore didn’t do a bad job, I just missed Jodie). I read all the books when I was a teenager, though I’d really like to revisit them since I doubt I completely understood them at that age. So I came to Hannibal as a fan of the books and the characters already.
Little did I know that this series would seriously rival the movies, coming close (though not quite) to surpassing Silence of the Lambs. Y’all seriously. It’s SO GOOD.
Let’s start at the heart of the show — Hannibal Lecter. He is played gloriously by Mads Mikkelsen, whose entire motivation for the character has been to play Hannibal as Lucifer, the fallen angel. Instead of being evil in a classic “I’m a twisted killer” sense, there is a weird logic to everything the character does that makes him so complex and compelling. He’s more interested in setting people up to sin rather than doing evil for the sake of evil, manipulating them into situations just to, in his own words, “see what would happen.” Also, let’s not forget that Lucifer was once an angel, and not any angel — the Lord’s favorite, the most beautiful. Mikkelsen makes Hannibal so multi-faceted, a demon who is capable of great violence who is also an artist capable of creating beautiful things, and who also appreciates beauty — surrounds himself with it, craves it. The Devil is very lonely, and Hannibal spends a great deal of the show looking for a connection with somebody, anybody who might understand and accept his view of the world. As is usual with the character of Hannibal Lecter, the viewer is obviously aware that he is a murderer and a cannibal, but you really can’t help but root for him.
Mads Mikkelsen captures his nuances so beautifully, and in a second language! His mother tongue is Danish and his accent is just like… okay, so since we’re confessing things and being honest, I have to tell you… holy shit, Mads Mikkelsen is hot. Let’s be real, that helps explain this iteration of Hannibal Lecter’s appeal. The suits alone will bring you to your knees.
The show centers around FBI profiler Will Graham, played by Hugh Dancy, and his descent into madness as he gets closer and closer to the murderers he profiles, to the point where he feels a kinship with them, and realizes that he has must as much in common with them as with “normal” people — maybe even more. Hannibal sees Will as someone who has the capacity to understand his worldview, aesthetic, and darkest secrets, and begins to cultivate him with the intention of creating a partner for himself to fully share his life with. And man, all I wanted as a viewer was for it to work out for them! So funny to be rooting for murderers but here we are.
The first two seasons dance around the idea that Hannibal and Graham might have romantic (or even sexual) feelings for each other is implied through subtext and lots of longing glances, but in the third season there’s a (mostly) clear confirmation of the relationship we’ve all been shipping — Hannigram! Though we never get our kiss, it’s pretty incredible to have had a show this queer on a mainstream network. I mean, there aren’t a lot of straights on the show TBH! Dr. Chilton is definitely not heteronormative, Alana is bisexual, Jimmy is gay, Margo is bisexual, and at one point, Will asks and Bedelia confirms that Hannibal is in love with him.
Oh shit, Bedelia! I didn’t tell you that GILLIAN ANDERSON is in this show!!!!! I have loved her since X-Files and she is literally one of the most talented actors alive or dead.
I love crime shows. I love Hannibal Lecter. And I love food. Is it bad that all of the eating scenes I’m like, “Mmm that looks great” even if it’s like a cooked human leg? Okay, there’s something wrong with me. Any other Fannibals out there pretend that they’re Hannibal in the kitchen, wearing a classy apron and listening to Chopin, even though all you’re making is Hamburger Helper? Because that is quite literally me right now.
Hannibal is one of the most visually appealing, well-edited, musical, lavish, queer, and wonderful shows to ever be made. It’s a total travesty it was cancelled after 3 seasons, but now that it’s moved to Netflix, maybe they’ll bring it back for a season 4. Season 4 because we’re hungry for MORE!
Okay side note that doesn’t have to do with anything — you know a show is cool that has every character who ever gets injured use a jaunty cane instead of crutches or a wheelchair. Seriously! Dr. Chilton gets disemboweled? Give him a sweet-ass cane. Alana gets thrown out a window? Cane. Jack Crawford gets hamstrung? Cane. No less-than-classy rubber and metal crutches for these folks. Okay, that’s actually kind of ridiculous and I had to laugh when I saw the third freakin’ Bond villain/vaudeville MC cane come out, but hey. GO WATCH THE SHOW and please enjoy my pinterest board of Hannibal memes and sexy pictures of Hugh and Mads.