May. 25th, 2013

heron61: (Hat)
I've been watching the new TV series Hannibal, it's a very odd show. The first episode was horrific and violent in a way I'd not seen on network TV before and left me certain that wouldn't be able to watch more of it, if it remained like that. However, [livejournal.com profile] teaotter was really into it (being a big fan of the novels) and often shows are very different from their pilot.

This case was no exception, but I wasn't prepared for just how different it was. The second episode had one of the most laughably ludicrous serial killers ever found in fiction, and the trend continued – serial killers who grow mushrooms on their victims, who sculpt their skin and bones to make them look like bloody angels, one who turned his 17 victims from 4 decades of killing into a "totem pole" of body parts, and another who tanned his victim's vocal chords so he could stick a cello neck down the victim's throat and play him as a musical instrument (which is utterly impossible on several levels, as well as silly).

In short, the show went from visceral and grim to something far too bizarre to take remotely seriously. The writers and director also don't take the serial killers at all seriously – the killers merely exist to in some fashion or other highlight the main cast's emotional tensions. There a degree to which using mass murder as an emotional accent is morally bankrupt, but it's equally clear that this show takes place in a bizarrely stylized world (which seems the hallmark of all of show-runner Bryan Fuller's work.

Although the show superficially looks like it's about the FBI catching serial killers, the killers and their victims are pretty much entirely irrelevant. Also, in most episodes the FBI doesn't save anyone, and in some they only find the killer after the killer is dead - the police procedural part (like the killers and their victims) is a minor setting detail.

I've found other shows Fuller did completely unwatchable because they were too stylized, but perhaps because I'd find this show unwatchable is it wasn't so stylized, Hannibal works for me – the acting of the main cast is brilliant, the interactions between Hannibal Lector and Will Graham are wonderful, the visual treatment of the food is lovely (there's always at least one elaborate dish (and often and entire meal) prepared by Hannibal in pretty much every episode), and one the whole it's emotionally complex character-focused fun with a side-order of artistically shot, thematically appropriate mass murder.

The over-the-top stylization of the show, and the fact that Will Graham is gradually going completely insane and his "ability at profiling" is just as obviously some form of magic or psychic power also gave me a lovely fan theory about the show. Every PC in the wonderful New World of Darkness RPG Changeling: The Lost is a human who was taken off to faerieland as a pet or slave to some inhuman fae creature.

So, Hannibal Lector is clearly a Fae noble, and the stylized Virginia and Maryland of the show is his domain. Will Graham is a changeling abducted by Lector, and he, like the other humans, have been magically convinced that they are still in the real world. Hannibal is both interested in Will, and also enjoys using him to learn more about Fae nobles in other domains (at least some of the serial killers in other parts of the country that the show deals with). Also, Hannibal helps maintain control over his human pets by feeding them. This explanation works far too well, both [livejournal.com profile] teaotter & [livejournal.com profile] amberite agree.

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