HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Hannibal: Season 2
HTS Overall Score:88
It’s that time of year once more (has it been a year since we reviewed the first season?) and we are back for a couple of round two’s with more horror seasons. “Hannibal” was a surprise hit from last year, as I never expected it to get off the ground. Remaking or rebooting iconic film and book villains, especially successful ones, is a hard call in the TV world, as TV shows require more time and more “filler” than a movie or book provides, and people have already had expectations met with those previous incarnations. I watched the first episode of the series and was shocked how good it was; then I reviewed the Blu-ray set to finish off the series and was amazed just at what I was seeing. The anticipation for season 2 has been very strong, and I am happy to say that this follow-up season is just as good as the previous one, and in some ways better, as it concludes with a band that is even closer to the upcoming events of “Red Dragon” and will finally put some closure on the hunt that Will Graham has been pursuing for so long.
Hannibal the cannibal is back again, and just in time for Halloween. Last time we left off Hannibal (Mads Mikkelson) had just gotten Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) framed for the Chesapeake Ripper’s killings and poor Will is stuck in the asylum for the criminally insane. Starting back up this season right were we left off, we see Will dealing with his new found captivity and the certainty that Hannibal Lecter is the one who put him in there. Will has always been a bit shaky with his own mental state, but his incarceration and treatment by Dr. Chilton pushes him in the wrong direction. As he spirals downward, his hate and his instability meet in the middle and start to forge a new Will, one who’s even willing to go so far as incorporating the help of another serial killer in an effort to actually murder Dr. Lecter.
While Will is there as a result of Hannibal’s meddling, Hannibal also has a strange bond with his victim that causes him to try and “help” Will in his own way. After a series of murders that prove the Ripper is still at large, Will is set free and exonerated of the charges, but unfortunately, the scars remain the same. Will is way past the edge now, and he’s morphing into a truly frightening character; his obsession with Hannibal causes everyone around him to doubt the man’s sanity. Funny thing about coming too close to the edge: sometimes you fall right over. That seems to be happening to Will as his savage side, which Dr. Lecter has been carefully massaging, is fed and grows into a beast almost as horrific as the man he’s chasing. This all leads up to a shocking conclusion to the series that will have your jaw hanging on the floor and saying, “Oh, you better bring this back for a season 3, cuz we sure aren’t ending like that!”
What truly makes this series great is the characters. I will forever love Anthony Hopkins as the trapped and crazed Hannibal Lecter of the movies, but Mads Mikkelson has elevated himself to a whole 'nother level, playing the character as viciously brutal, but incredibly civilized and sophisticated. Mads can deliver entire scenes of dialogue with just a facial expression, the single twitch that changes from his calm and controlled exterior to saying whatever he needs to with an eyebrow raise or a smile. His chemistry with Will Graham is superb. Will is about as spastic as they come, with fits of psychosis and a rage barely contained underneath his semi calm exterior. As much as I like our two leads, both Hannibal and Will have a uniquely fascinating and intimate relationship with the head of the FBI unit, Jack Crawford (Lawrence Fishbourne). All three, plus the in and out relationship of Dr. Bloom (Caroline Dhavernas), create some of the best drama on television.
“Hannibal” runs a fine line between horror and police procedural all in the wrapping of a semi lucid psychotic episode. The series does a balancing act of trying to find the killer of the week (or sometimes weeks) along with the sheer repulsion and horror that you feel when another of Hannibal’s victims surfaces. It’s no more blood and gore than your average “Bones” episode, but it’s the way the deaths are portrayed that makes them gruesome and terrifying, especially watching Mads Mikkelson’s face during a particularly awful murder. Will’s dreams almost create an acid trip type of experience as his mental breakdowns fuel the plotline as well as create a beautiful and disturbing artistic flair to the show. Every once in a while I started to get tired of Will’s “visions”, but as the show ended I became aware of WHY he was having so many of them.
This seasons veered slightly away from the first season’s formula, moving from a “villain of the week” to a much longer arc, with the first half just sprinkled with a few deaths while Will plays his cat and mouse game from prison to exonerate himself, and the second half turns extremely dark when we see Will’s murderous nature come to the forefront as Hannibal exerts his will (excuse the pun) on the troubled man. It’s scary and it’s intriguing, but never a boring show in any way shape or form.
The episode rundown:
Ko No Mono
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=26265[/img]“Hannibal: Season 2” lives up to its predecessor’s high standards in the video department. Sharp as a tack and just as filled with clarity and incredible detail, season 2 comes out with a fantastic looking 1.78:1 encode thanks to Lionsgate. Detail is exceptional; you can see every line and wrinkle in Hannibal’s face and the gruff looking five o’clock shadow on Will Graham’s, along with every loose fiber on the clothing. Dismembered body parts look incredibly realistic and gruesome to the eye with very little need to stretch the imagination. Black levels stay impressively strong with only a little bit of banding in some of the darker scenes. The colors tend to be very natural with a hint of teal push and the resulting skin tones look beautifully accurate. It’s a fine transfer and one of my favorite stylistically shot TV shows to date. A definite win for Lionsgate.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=26273[/img]Right on par for the course, the 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is a VERY sonically pleasing experience with deep bass lines and lots of ambient noise to spook and intrigue the viewer as the plotline unfolds. The sound designers made this show a very active track with the score taking up a large portion of the audio. When the viewers are talking, or not talking, there is almost always this ominous trickle of sound keeping the viewer tense and focused on the action at hand, filling up the surrounds with a ton of immersive qualities. While the score is very prominent, the dialogue is still fantastically replicated with an enormous dynamic range in play, as the whispers infuse the front speakers, the rest are all lighting up with huge downbeats of the creepy and ever present sounds of the score, filled with deep LFE that goes well below the 20hz line at times. It’s impressive to say the least and a very welcome track in so many front loaded Television shows.
• "This is My Design: Documentary
• "The Style of A Killer" Featurette
• "Bodies of Lies" Featurette
• "Hannibal: Season 2" : Killer Intentions
• Commentaries With Cast and Crew
• Post Mortem with Scott Thompson
• Gag Reel
• Deleted Scenes
“Hannibal: Season 2” actually comes very close to being one of my favorite network shows of all time, and most certainly one of the best horror TV shows I’ve encountered in quite a while. It has a hauntingly beautiful and artistic style to it that mixes awe and amazement at the beauty in one scene with sheer horror and repulsion the next. The season finale alone makes up for any hiccups in quality that the second half of the season had, and the competent extras make this a set worth getting for collectors sake. Mix in the amazing video and audio and I can’t recommend this enough to fans of the first season. Must watch at the very least.
Starring: Hugh Dancy, Lawrence Fishbourne, Mads Mikkelsen
Created by: Bryan Fuller
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 561 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: September 16th 2014
Buy Hannibal: Season 2 Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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