Bryan Fuller’s newest TV creation, Hannibal, is set to premier on Thursday, April 4th 2013 at 10pm. And although the show is about a serial killer and appears to be dark and stylized – in a creepy fantastical way, I’ve got a feeling that the show has more to be scared about than the audience.
NBC may have had a banner summer and fall season, courtesy of The Olympics, Sunday Night Football, Revolution, and The Voice, but ever since the new year the network has been in a ratings free fall (see: all Thursday night comedies, Smash, and Deception). NBC is clearly behind Hannibal in some capacity – I mean they did order it to series, but from my understanding, it’s only appearing on the schedule because they’ve basically run out of all other options (example: NBC is already airing re-runs of SNL on Saturdays right before new episodes).
In the fall, Rock Center with Brian Williams aired in the Thursday 10pm slot, but it was shuffled to Fridays in order to make room for the quickly cancelled Do No Harm, which is only memorable to TV nerds for having the lowest-rated in-season scripted premier ever. With Do No Harm disappearing off of the schedule after just 2 episodes, NBC has gone to their workhorse – repeats of Law and Order: SVU – to fill the gap.
Many mid-season shows on the other networks aren’t fairing much better. ABC’s new high concept series Zero Hour was just cancelled after 3 episodes. CBS’s Golden Boy premiered to modest ratings (keep in mind that CBS has much higher standards). The CW’s new show Cult was bumped to Fridays (airing repeats of other series on Tuesday night is apparently a better alternative) and even though season 2 of Touch has yet to air on FOX, I’d wager that it’s not going to see a third season.
Dr. Hannibal Lecter’s other problem: he isn’t the only serial killer / notoriously insane person on TV right now. Besides the standard murder-fare from CSI, Criminal Minds, and Law & Order, FOX has the new Kevin Bacon series The Following, which has not been the breakout hit everyone was hoping for, Bates Motel is coming soon to AMC, and from what I can tell The CW’s Cult is likewise going for the dark twisted tone. So the real question is, does America really want to see more murder and another iteration of Hannibal?
Of course with all of that said, I’m still really looking forward to Hannibal. If anyone can find a new take on an existing story, especially one involving death, it’s Bryan Fuller – creator of Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me, and Pushing Daisies. He also wrote for Heroes and was behind the one-off Halloween special Mockingbird Lane (aka the failed Munsters reboot).
There’s no question that Fuller can create quality TV, but longevity has yet to be his strong suit. Dead Like Me, which aired a decade ago on Showtime still remains his longest-lasting series with just 29 episodes (2 seasons). Hopefully Hannibal will be different. And on the up-side, NBC is in such a state of disarray that their definition of success is a bit more liberal than most.
So get in the cannibalistic spirit with the newest Hannibal preview: