NBC has canceled Hannibal after three seasons… so what happens now?
On one hand, this comes as a surprise. On the other hand, I always knew in the back of my supple brain that Hannibal was in a league not in of its own necessarily, but certainly out of NBC’s.
While NBC gets credit for sticking with all sorts of artistically unique shows from Seinfeld to Community, Hannibal was a different animal altogether and it was definitely unusual seeing such gory, philosophically complex material from one of the Big Three networks.
From the beginning, Hannibal seemed misplaced, like it should have been on HBO or AMC or even FX, if The Americans is any indication of FX’s ability to support highly intelligent and often highly violent programming.
But I’ll give credit where credit is due, namely in the fact that NBC did stick with Hannibal for three seasons even though ratings were low. It also seems like they pretty much gave absolute freedom to the show’s people, like developer/executive producer Bryan Fuller, who envisioned an interpretation of Hannibal Lecter if it was told through the eyes of someone like David Lynch or even David Cronenberg.
When you watched the show and saw its hauntingly beautiful cinematography that oozed and flowed and splattered, and you heard the dialogue which was arguably deeper and more relevant (and less pretentious – very important) than the ramblings of True Detective‘s Rust Cohle, you knew it was something special.
We all know art is subjective to a certain extent. We also know that Hannibal garnered a lot of critical acclaim, with people generally agreeing that it was consistently one of the top ten shows every year. And while the visual and philosophical aspects were excellent, so was the acting, with Mads Mikkelsen’s portrayal of Hannibal Lecter being one of the most frightening things I’ve ever seen.
So the question is where does Hannibal go now?
In today’s era, death is never forever for a television program. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if the people at Netflix, Amazon, or even Yahoo! swoop in and give the show a new home. While the content of the show probably wouldn’t change dramatically, thanks to NBC’s hypothetically loose leash while they had Hannibal, it would be in a more lenient position in regards to ratings.
I mean, if Netflix still has Lilyhammer around, I’m sure they would be more than happy to acquire a show people actually watch, even if that number happens to be in the low millions or whatever. As for Yahoo!, I liked what they did with Community, but I feel like there’s still a general “meh” vibe associated with that brand.
Regardless, Hannibal is a show that deserves to live on. While we may say that about a lot of shows, this is one case where it is absolutely true.
Even if it costs an arm and a leg.