Some networks perform badly, some networks perform really badly…and then there’s NBC. Sure, there are a couple of solid performers hidden amongst their line-up, but for the most part even quality new shows seem to suffer because there’s not a significant established audience on which they can ride on the coattails of. Just look at their Thursday night comedy line-up – packed with excellent shows – but the ratings are so weak that there isn’t one amongst them that doesn’t look under threat of cancellation. But Fall 2012 looks like it could reinvigorate their primetime line-up.
One of the most high-profile new additions, thanks to its instantly recognisable source material, is “Hannibal,” a show that the network has so much faith in that they’ve already ordered 13 episodes of the series. Written and produced by Bryan Fuller, the show will tell the story of Thomas Harris’ famed “Silence of the Lambs” character, Hannibal Lecter, but hopefully from a perspective that we haven’t really seen before. The show will follow Lecter – prior to his incarceration and working as a practicing psychiatrist – solving crimes alongside Will Graham (Hugh Dancy), Lecter’s FBI partner. And that was kind of all we knew about it until Fuller got talking to Entertainment Weekly (via AV Club).
“It’s before he was incarcerated, so he’s more of a peacock. There is a cheery disposition to our Hannibal. He’s not being telegraphed as a villain. If the audience didn’t know who he was, they wouldn’t see him coming. What we have is Alfred Hitchcock’s principle of suspense — show the audience the bomb under the table and let them sweat when it’s going to go boom," Fuller said. "So the audience knows who Hannibal is so we don’t have to overplay his villainy. We get to subvert his legacy and give the audience twists and turns.”
Sounds like an interesting enough premise to us, and Fuller plans to run with that premise for two seasons – and he already has the first seven episodes mapped out too. After that, the plan is to shake up the show dramatically after Lecter is outed as a serial killer, which should fundamentally alter the structure of the show from there on in. Here’s what Fuller had to say about his ambitious plans for the show’s structure: “Doing a cable model on network television [13-episode seasons] gives us the opportunity not to dally in our storytelling because we have a lot of real estate to cover,” Fuller says. “I pitched a seven-season arc including stories from various [Thomas Harris] books.”
We’re intrigued. Please NBC, don’t screw this up!