The first time I watched Bryan Fuller’s “Hannibal,” my first thought was “this show is too good for NBC.” My following thought was “this show will never last on NBC.” I thought that for two reasons. The first reason is NBC has a long tradition of basically running garbage TV. Their comedy bloc has dwindled to nothing after “The Office” and “Parks and Rec” went off the air, and they canceled “Community” only for the show to be revived over at Yahoo. Their drama shows are pretty much non-existent at this point (“Aquarius” is interesting, but hit-and-miss). The network is pretty much made up of reality TV shows now. It seems like there is not much room at NBC for well-written shows anymore.
The second reason was the obvious: The show itself. The graphic nature of “Hannibal” went over the line almost all the time, it was pretty artistic in how it was filmed and written (a lot of symbolism), it didn’t operate at a breakneck speed and played with uncomfortable themes. It wasn’t like sitting down to watch “Law & Order.” It was a show that you need to be ready to watch, not just to watch because it is on.
If you are unaware of the show, it is a modern take on the books/stories by Thomas Harris, which follows the relationship between FBI criminal profiler Will Graham and the cannibalistic murderer Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Stories made famous by their film adaptations.
So I wasn’t surprised when NBC decided to give the show the ax this week. It wasn’t a ratings juggernaut and at this point, I’m not convinced the network knows what it is doing anymore. There was also allegedly issues with getting the rights to use Clarice Starling from “Silence of the Lambs.” Which would be hard to have a world in which she doesn’t exist with Hannibal Lecter, but not impossible.
There is still hope for this show. As we have seen, streaming sites are reviving cult favorites (“Arrested Development,” “The Mindy Project” and “Community” come to mind). They have an interest in shows like these because they have a built-in fan base and binge-watching are usually associated with how the fans approach these programs. I binged the first season of “Hannibal” (like I do with most television shows) on Amazon Prime.
There are many petitions over at change.org for the show to be saved. I’m pretty optimistic that saving this show can happen. Fuller has started a social media campaign for it. There is enough interest in the show to sustain it on a streaming service. This is too good of a show to not get picked up again.