Here's something you've probably never heard anyone say while watching NBC's Community: Yeah, that could happen.
And so it is this week, with an episode (8/7c) by Oscar-winning screenwriter/goofball extraordinaire Jim Rash (Dean Pelton), in which Troy and Abed go too far — what else is new — in their obsession with cheesy body-switching movies. Before you can say Freaky Friday, Troy is adopting Abed's dislocated mannerisms while Abed channels Troy's giddy swagger. Donald Glover and Danny Pudi are, as usual, a joy to watch, even if the message behind their madness is delivered with a heavy hand reflective of this uneven transitional season. And who could blame Rash for giving himself some of the best bits, as the Dean imagines he has pulled off his own body switch with his numero-uno obsession, the unamused Jeff Winger (Joel McHale).
Could it be that NBC has produced a keeper in the deliciously creepy Hannibal? We shouldn't break out the proverbial Chianti just yet; the early returns have been modest, to put it mildly, but in this tough-for-NBC time period (Thursday, 10/9c) that the network once owned, it's looking better than it has lately (with an insta-dud like Do No Harm or the below-the-radar Rock Center). And the media buzz, while understandably mixed, is stronger than for most of the networks' midseason yawns. With repeats on the other networks this week, and featuring one of the show's most relentlessly unnerving chapters to date, this is as good a time as any to sample Hannibal's unsavory wares.
In a year that's already given us Fox's The Following and A&E's Bates Motel, some might argue that we don't need another serial killer TV show. And they'd probably be right.
But NBC's Hannibal isn't just another serial killer show.
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Taking characters from the Thomas Harris novels that inspired a film series that includes Manhunter, The Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon, executive producer Bryan Fuller (Wonderfalls, Pushing Daisies) has created a sophisticated drama that doesn't glorify the violence of mass murder but rather examines the toll that hunting serial killers takes on the minds and souls of those who hunt. In fact, even though the show is named after Dr. Hannibal Lecter, who was immortalized as one of the greatest pop culture villains of all time thanks to Anthony Hopkins' Oscar-winning portrayal, the series — at least initially — isn't entirely focused on the cannibal in the three-piece suit...
You can't help but get a deliciously squirmy tingle when the infamous (to the viewer, anyway) Hannibal Lecter quips, "It's nice to have an old friend for dinner" while serving tongue to his guests, including an unctuous and chatty shrink whom Lecter sizes up by coolly noting, "Your tongue is very feisty."
This scenario takes place several episodes into the midseason run of NBC's feverishly twisted, fascinatingly macabre and visually remarkable procedural-with-a-twist Hannibal (Thursday, 10:01/9:01c), by which time I was completely creeped out and thoroughly hooked. In much the same way A&E's Bates Motel introduces a younger version of Norman Bates before he had his crazy mama mummified in the cellar, Bryan Fuller's Hannibal presents the mad Dr. Lecter before his secret identity as a cannibalistic serial killer is known to anyone but his victims. He is caginess personified, taking on the role of advisor and therapist to tormented FBI profiler/consultant Will Graham (from Thomas Harris' Red Dragon). Will has an ability to project "pure empathy" and see grisly crimes from the killer's POV, which Lecter describes quite accurately as "an uncomfortable gift."
Hannibal Lecter is coming to NBC, and TVGuide.com has the exclusive first look.
Hannibal, a contemporary take on Thomas Harris' Red Dragon novel, stars Hugh Dancy as FBI agent Will Graham and Mads Mikkelsen as the cannibalistic yet refined Dr. Lecter. In the sneak peek below, the cast and executive producer Bryan Fuller dish on the new series, which will show the origins of the infamous killer and his relationship with...