Hannibal Blu-ray
Hannibal is a violent narrative that’s smartly written, looks great onscreen and offers well-written side characters that help to keep the show’s procedural scenes fresh and surprising. There’s a lot of great build-up throughout the first few episodes of the drama, leading into a psychological thriller with horror elements hinging on the relationship of Special Agent Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and his psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lector (Mads Mikkelson).

Anyone who saw David Slade’s pilot for NBC’s short-lived series Awake should have expected great visuals in Hannibal, but what is unexpected is the sharp dialogue, which gels well with the often dark and tormented bent of the narrative. A great example of this is found in the second episode when two doctors are talking about a murderer giving doses of sugar to his victims, forcing them to crave it, much like recovering alcoholics. The scientist who is talking addresses his colleague, saying “No offense” as he wraps up. His colleague responds, “Oh, I’m not recovering.” That sort of dark humor is wholly surprising and is a credit to executive producer Bryan Fuller and the writers on the drama.

We might appreciate a bit of comic relief throughout the series, but it’s also a heavy hitting drama, filled with gruesome portrayals of death and different perceptions of reality. A good chunk of the Season 1 narrative is told through Graham’s perception, which allows him to empathize with serial killers, but also makes it difficult for the young man to understand what is real and what is a hallucination. Anyone familiar with the character of Hannibal Lector knows he is a man not to be trifled with, but the Hannibal characters are not familiar, and watching Lector and Graham’s careful game of cat and mouse unfold is wholly compelling. There are only thirteen episodes in Season 1, but by the time you reach the end, you’ll be wiped out emotionally.

You can order Hannibal: Season 1 over at Amazon.

Best Special Feature: Hannibal is a show that probably would have thrived better on cable than on network television. Case in point: the extra “The FX of Murder” explains how the show had a money shot of a corpse that involved a bare bum. The network wasn’t cool with the amount of crack shown, and the show had to use special effects to go back in and “cover the crack with blood” to satisfy the network executives. And that’s why that show gets the 10 p.m. slot.

We’ve already given you a brief look at part of the special effects-based bonus feature, but the segment is actually extraordinarily lengthy and goes into detail about the main special effects used during the first season of the series. Everything from creating fungi to creepy stag and raven dream creatures is explained, and if you like behind-the-scenes looks at TV shows, it’s worth a perusal. It’s probably among the more exciting network TV show bonus features I’ve seen.

As a side note, the bonus features are spread across several discs and sometimes are laid out in the best way, but the menu is awesome and every time you click on a feature a creepy noise that almost sounds like a heartbeat goes off. Love it.

Other Special Features:
Audio Commentaries for specific episodes
“Hannibal Reborn”
“A Taste for Killing”
“A Symphony for the Slaughter”
Gag Reel
Deleted Scenes (across multiple discs)

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