One of the creepiest characters of all time is coming to the small screen, as NBC has ordered 13 episodes of Hannibal, based on author Thomas Harris’ cannibal killer series. The show will be based on Harris’ novel Red Dragon, which was a prequel to arguably the best known book in the series, The Silence of the Lambs.
Bryan Fuller (Dead Like Me, Pushing Daisies) is in charge, which means the concept is coming from a fairly creative bit of pedigree. But one has to wonder how Fuller’s quirkiness with translate into a hard-boiled serial murder tale.
NBC describes the show as a “One-hour contemporary thriller series featuring the classic characters from Thomas Harris’ novel Red Dragon—FBI agent Will Graham and his mentor Dr. Hannibal Lecter—who are re-introduced at the beginning of their budding relationship.”
Most remember Hannibal from Anthony Hopkins’ iconic take on the character in the films based on the novels, which all began with 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs and featured Jodie Foster as FBI profiler Clarice Starling. The NBC series will take place before that, with FBI profiler Will Graham hunting for the famed cannibal.
It’s an interesting idea to adapt for television, but I still wonder how the structure can hold up week in and week out. Plus, casting will be huge—Anthony Hopkins left some big shoes, and whoever they cast as Hannibal has to have that creepy intelligence that he just exuded in the role. Heck, a part of me to this day still believes Anthony Hopkins might walk around with a fork in his pocket.
The series order comes as NBC continues to search for some new breakout hits—and is the second time in recent memory they’ve gone to the well of popular books from the late ’80s and early ’90s for inspiration.
Here’s hoping Hannibal fares better than the recent dud The Firm.
What do you think? Are Harris’ novels ripe for the picking, or is NBC just looking for meat on the bones of an old franchise?