NBC's Hannibal and Playing With Canon

NBC’s critically-acclaimed but fairly short-lived television series Hannibal is an adaptation of Thomas Harris’s novels featuring the psychiatrist-cum-cannibalistic-serial-killer Hannibal Lecter. Although initially structured as a prequel to the first Lecter novel, Red Dragon, over the course of its three seasons the show became an entirely different animal, adapting pieces of all four of Harris’s novels about Lecter (Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, and Hannibal Rising) to form a whole that’s very different than the sum of its parts.

How does Bryan Fuller choose, combine, and discard very different plot threads from the books into one cohesive series? Does he? Are his methods effective, or is the show’s plot line a muddled mess?

  • Excellent topic! Fuller's alchemy on that series is easily one of the most remarkable artistic achievements in recent television. It's worth noting, however, that he didn't have the rights to include the Silence of the Lambs characters and storyline into the series, which is why the roles of Clarice Starling and Will Graham were fused into one character. Upon cancellation, there was always the hope that Netflix might revive them for a fourth season, and that the timing might coincide with obtaining the rights to Silence of the Lambs, but that prospect kept looking less and less likely as the major players began taking on other projects. However, interesting that you should bring this up now, given the recent announcement: http://tvline.com/2016/12/23/hannibal-silence-of-the-lambs-miniseries-bryan-fuller/ In any case, I'd be excited to read this article. – ProtoCanon 6 years ago
  • I think this would be a great topic considering the depth of source material and other adaptations of Harris's books. I would like to take a crack at it but I might have to spend a month or two just going over everything to write something worthwhile. – CoolishMarrow90 6 years ago
  • a few thoughts on some places to start: Miriam Lass and Abel Gideon as expies for SoTL Clarice and Lecter, the choice to adapt two books (Red Dragon and Hannibal) in season 3, the treatment of Hannibal Lecter's canonical but unpopoular backstory from Hannibal Rising. – Sadie 6 years ago
  • I would compare the show with the Anthony Hopkins movies to better understand the difference between the two takes on Hannibal Lector. – BMartin43 6 years ago
  • Love the show. And it is ripe for discussion, especially season 3 which incorporates so much of Hannibal and red dragon. Can't wait to see what someone creates with this topic! – SeanGadus 6 years ago

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