Scott Thompson Takes You Inside Hannibal

Scott Thompson has hijacked the Hannibal set to bring you three interviews with the show’s three leading men — Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy and Lawrence Fishburne*. The interviews are short, cute and fun for the average Hannibal fan, although now and then Thompson seems to need to be reminded that he’s interviewing and not being interviewed.

Other than that slightly snarky comment, the interactions are otherwise charming and Mads Mikkelsen refers to Hannibal in the first person, which makes this great evidence for his future court case.

Speaking of Thompson, one thing I like about Bryan Fuller’s shows is that he seems to cast well-known (but not super famous) people in parts you never would’ve pictured them in: Mandy Patinkin as a slightly worn-out Grim Reaper, Eddie Izzard as a serial killer and Kids in the Hall alum Scott Thompson as a random lab tech who makes morbid jokes with his co-workers.

Thompson is perhaps the only one that doesn’t totally work for me — less because of the work he does in the role and more because of the fact that the show doesn’t really accommodate the tone that he’s mean to set in his scenes.  The lab tech scenes aren’t funny enough, or aren’t obvious enough as  a “comedy moment” to defeat the overwhelmingly gloomy tone of the show. Especially when these comedy scenes are still underlined by the constantly humming score that doesn’t let you relax. Jokes played over an Inception braaaahhhhmmmm aren’t going to get big laughs.

My only other big turn-off is the show’s procedural aspect. Most of the side-cases that aren’t secretly Hannibal’s work come off as filler. And the filler isn’t necessary — there’s plenty of story there to work with and develop. Sure, the people in the show have jobs and they need to work them, but I think that investing us in a small weird sub-plot that will definitely be wrapped up at the end of the episode isn’t quite working. I don’t care about the mushroom man. The show is the characters — not the police work.

On a similar note, a lot of people have complained about the fact that apparently Jack Crawford’s team lives in a world where the most inventive serial killers in the world are all active at once, making people eyes and people trees and people mushrooms and people totem poles for the grotesque beauty of it all. I don’t know very many serial killers, but TV tells me that while they tend to “pose” their victims, they don’t take the time to weave their DNA into a flower arrangement every time.

But I will disagree with those particular arguments, even if I think the show could do with dropping the serial-killer-of-the-week motif. Fuller isn’t pretending to offer realism, he’s offering a show devoted to the disgusting beauty of the human body. It’s a theme, and it’s a theme that makes the show as unique and strangely beautiful as it is.

*The Lawrence Fishburne interview won’t embed, but you can watch it here.

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