It used to be that to find all of television’s violence and gore, you’d have to travel past the network stations to the wily jungle of cable (and to get the really explicit material, you’d have to sneak down into the basement after your parents fell asleep to watch HBO. But the tides seem to be changing — Fox’s The Following has managed some pretty grotesque imagery thus far in its freshman season. NBC’s Do No Harm pushed the boundaries of propriety (albeit without risk of offending too many people, since almost no one watched that show). And now, the latter network is upping the ante with Hannibal. A new trailer for the psychological crime drama, developed as a prequel to the revered Silence of the Lambs film series, has some pretty volatile images for a Big 4 show.
In the two-and-a-half minute video, you’ll stumble upon a number of grotesquely mutilated dead bodies: men and women turned into trophes, impaled with the antler of decapitated deer. You’ll see severed limbs and eyes gouged out, people buried alive. For some, it won’t be an easy trailer to get through — so the show itself is setting up to be a visceral challenge.
Carrying the story is tortured special agent Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), whose ingenuity has made him “the only man for the job” of catching psychotic murder after psychotic murderer. But when he unwittingly teams up with psychoanalyst and secret cannibal Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelson), things set forth on a dangerous course.
Adding to the cable mentality is Hannibal‘s construction: with only 13 episodes planned for all seasons ordered and yet to order, the series is adopting a mentality closer to that of cable and premium cable shows like Breaking Bad, Dexter, Game of Thrones, et al. The whole deep-diving antihero character study also strays closer to the vein of these programs than it does to Hannibal‘s network company.
So why NBC? Why teeter the line of what can and can’t be shown (clearly, a lot more passes the censors’ test than many of us might have thought) and create schedule conflicts with an outlier formula? Especially at a time where NBC’s ratings tend to parallel those of many cable stations, how does Hannibal benefit from the peacock logo?
Our best guess: Brian Williams cameos. Maybe he’s the murderer…
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[Photo Credit: NBC]