TV Blog: Hannibal Lecter hits the small screen

By admin
29 April 2013

Our local TV guru takes a look at the new Hannibal TV series.

Am I the only one who was intrigued to hear the new TV series Hannibal brought in a specialist food consultant to make the cannibal meals as authentic as possible?

My first thought when I heard about this series was “no, don’t try to compete with the brilliant 1991 movie Silence of the Lambs”. But after watching the first episode I wanted more – immediately. If you read the books by Thomas Harris or saw any of the movies you know how things will turn out for FBI criminal profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and cannibal killer Dr Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) yet it’s all so intriguing and deliciously dark. And if you don’t know what’s coming, well, you’re in for a gory treat.

And it’s the gory treats that intrigued me the most about the series. I came across a tweet from famed US chef Anthony Bourdain congratulating Spanish chef José Andrés for a “nice job on the lungs” and was fascinated. It was one of the more macabre scenes in the first episode where Lecter is seen dicing and sautéing a pair of lungs.

Show creator Bryan Fuller told he hired Andrés as culinary consultant to get “the food world of Hannibal Lecter specific and distinct”. Andrés is a Silence of the Lambs fan and was keen to be involved. Fuller added, “The lungs in the pilot, those were his idea. One of my first questions was, like, you know, what can you eat on the human body and he said, ‘Everything. You can eat everything.’ And he had very specific suggestions on what body parts to use and how to prepare them.”

That just adds a new dimension to the series, knowing the meals could be real, that each cannibal dish has been carefully planned. I still have the image of those lungs burned into my brain.

It’s the kind of detail fans can expect from the brilliant Fuller. In his previous series Pushing Daisies, the main character was Ned the pie maker who could make things come back to life with a single touch. It featured the most luscious-looking pies (well, they were more tarts) and guess what? They were all real. “There’s a chef that comes in and [makes] new pies every time we shoot [at the pie shop],” production designer Michael Wylie told TV Guide magazine at the time.

I still feel sad this wonderful show and Fuller’s other death-obsessed series Dead Like Me (about grim reapers on Earth) were both cancelled after two seasons each.

So my fingers are crossed US audiences are tuning in and Hannibal won’t be cancelled. And if you aren’t watching yet, that’s criminal and rude and it’s important to remember what Dr Lecter said about preferring to eat the rude . . .

Hannibal is on Tuesdays at 8.55 pm on Sony (channel 127).

-Natalie Cavernelis

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