WASHINGTON, February 28, 2014–There is certainly no shortage of serial killers on TV, and creating a compelling show based on a character as iconic as Hannibal Lecter only magnifies the formidable task. NBC’s “Hannibal” has accomplished this by discarding all the baggage Lecter and company have acquired since Anthony Hopkins delivered his Oscar winning performance over twenty years ago in “Silence of the Lambs.”
Hopkins introduced us to the finished product but left the back story of how Hannibal became Hannibal to our collective imagination. To tackle the task of telling the story of Lecter prior to the one revealed on the big screen NBC struck gold by enlisting Mads Mikkelsen to portray the younger Lecter.
Equally impressive is the performance of Hugh Dancy as Special Agent Will Graham, a gifted criminal profiler and hunter of serial killers. Because Agent Graham seeks help from Lecter in his pursuit of killers, the result is a relationship between the two that continues to evolve with each new episode.
The beauty of this interaction is the fact that Dancy’s character lacks the knowledge of Lecter’s proclivity for murder that the TV audience knows from the start. We see all the signs of an epic serial killer in the making while Dancy’s character is forced to catch up with us. This Hitchcock approach to story telling is a welcome relief from the standard serial killer format, and makes “Hannibal” one of the best new cop dramas in a long time.
“Hannibal” airs at 10 p.m. on NBC.
With the phenomenal success of “Game of Thrones” come the inevitable copycats, if only in name. This past Tuesday AMC’s new reality show “Game of Arms” posted the highest-rated unscripted series premiere in the network’s history.
Tonight another show capitalizing on the word play of the “Game of” popularity premieres on Discovery Channel. “Game of Stones” is a new show about searching for rare stones “from the most dangerous and lawless places on earth.”
Discovery has enjoyed success with its two popular series “Gold Rush” and “Jungle Gold” so it comes as no surprise that they have managed to come up with yet another get rich quick program.
The allure of quick wealth pulls the audience in, but the three shows rarely feature anything beyond the standard reality show nonsense. What we get instead is an endless series of equipment failures and contrived conflict with the promise of striking it rich always just around the next corner.
Just once it would be nice to see any of the cast members of these shows actually strike it rich and ride off into the sunset to enjoy their newfound wealth. Until then the only people getting rich are the creatively challenged networks that benefit from the cheap production costs that make these tedious shows so lucrative.
“Game of Stones” airs at 10 p.m. on Discovery Channel.