TV Review: NBC's 'Hannibal'

NBC premieres its prequel drama Hannibal, which re-introduces FBI agent Will Graham and his mentor Dr. Hannibal Lecter from the novel Red Dragon, on Thursday at 10 p.m. The following are reviews from TV critics around the Web, compiled by B&C.

“[Hugh] Dancy is a perfect, tortured soul; [Laurence] Fishburne is everyman with a brain; and Mads Mikkelsen is perfectly named. What is lacking, though, is any respite from the darkness. Even the killing machine on Dexter has an absurd sense of humor.”

– Linda Stasi, New YorkPost

“The expertly chilly atmosphere conveys enough hopelessness and random violence to send you into an angst spiral for a day or two. This is a show on which everyone speaks in a halting, mesmerizing meter about why killers do what they do, as the dissonant strains of the horror soundtrack waft in and out - and then in again with a vengeance, to accompany the lurch of a person or drops of blood from the rafters.”

– Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe

“For now, though, Hannibal is the tastiest drama the network has introduced in awhile. Although bearing some of the same hallmarks of more straightforward shows like Criminal Minds — with a protagonist uniquely gifted, or cursed, in seeing through a psychopath’s eyes — the program manages to incorporate some provocative twists as well, primarily in the interaction among its key players.”

– Brian Lowry, Variety

“In [creator Bryan Fuller’s] hands, what could have been just a Criminal Minds-meets-Dexter procedural turns into an odd rumination on the limits of empathy and the isolation of genius. Blood flows and shocks abound, but Hannibal seldom seems to be operating on shock value alone; like its namesake anti-hero, something else is always going on behind the eyes.”

– Robert Bianco, USAToday

“The story is often strained, or like that poor synth operator, overextended; the shocks tend to be operatic - oversold as opposed to a deft sudden jolt to emotional solar plexus.”

– Verne Gay, Newsday