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06 February 2014 @ 08:05 pm
Meme Day 3  
Day 3 - Your favorite new show (aired this tv season)

Cool!  Read the meme wrong!  So yeah, this show aired last season, whatever.  Maybe I'll do another picspam for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which is my favorite new show from this season, at some other point.

But today we're talking about Hannibal!  Not just my favorite new show, but as far as I'm concerned, the best show on TV right now.  If you're at all familiar with the Hannibal Lecter mythos, you know that a story about him is going to be dark, depraved and gruesome.  So it may come as a surprise to hear that Hannibal is arguably the most beautiful show at least currently airing, perhaps ever.

That's quite a claim, I know.  I have never seen such detail in production design, from the regular sets to location shots; the costuming is absurdly gorgeous; don't even get me started on the cinematography!  I have watched many a feature film with not even close to this amount of attention paid to shot selection, framing, color grading, lighting, etc.  For instance, Hannibal is often backlit, which causes a sort of angelic glow around him (also known as Rembrandt lighting).  It softens the edges of his silhouette, giving him a slightly-otherworldly appearance.  But he's often backlit without any kind of key light or fill light.  His facial features end up obscured, his expression ambiguous, his eyes dark and unable to be read.  The effect is to dehumanize him, but in both positive and negative ways - he is beautiful, and he is terrible.  Subconsciously, the viewer is both attracted and repelled.  Is there any better way to depict a character like Hannibal Lecter?

I could go on and on about how absolutely perfect this show is.  Actually, I will go on a little bit more.  Many wonderful, complex female characters - who are all different from one another.  I think a lot of shows have heard about having "strong female characters," so they write a couple iterations of the same 2D female character who is played by a physical waif but is shown beating people up.  Not so on Hannibal.  Bryan Fuller even took a male character from the books and made her a woman to make the gender balance more even.  (Speaking of Bryan Fuller's awesomeness: he has vowed to never have a rape storyline.  Ever.)  It's also a very smart show.  They will cut from A to D or sometimes even, like, F, and trust the audience to figure out the steps in between; after years and years of police procedurals, we know how these stories work.  So Hannibal cuts out all that stuff and concentrates on everything else: what kind of toll does investigating these kinds of crimes take on people?  In the very first episode, Will Graham must make a snap judgment in an incredibly difficult and tense situation.  He deals with that decision and its after-effects for the entire rest of the season.  It's not just glossed over, and it's certainly not glamorized.  As over-the-top as some of the murders and staging can be, there's a huge amount of attention paid to the psychology of murder.  Which makes sense, considering the title character...

As for Dr. Lector, what I found perhaps most astonishing is how well Hannibal was able to take a character who was so well-entrenched in the public consciousness, to the point that he wasn't even really scary anymore (who among us hasn't made the fava beans and chianti joke?), and make him so completely brand-new.  And yet still the Hannibal Lecter we all have come to know so well.  It's a testament not just to the writing, but most especially to Mads Mikkelsen, who is able to do so much just by the tiniest quirk of the corner of his mouth, just a slight tilt to his head, just a knowing look in the background of a shot as other characters speak.  He is, quite simply, a revelation.

I am going to put my picspam behind a cut, however, because I know Hannibal isn't for everyone.  It is an extremely dark and violent show.  I've selected a few compositions that I find incredibly beautiful, but they are disturbing, and I don't want to upset anyone who doesn't care for that sort of thing.

Day 3 - An unamused gif

cath822cath822 on February 7th, 2014 05:48 am (UTC)
Heh, I know someone who's attracted to Hannibal more than you would expect. (Hi, Holly.) (Okay, she's really just attracted to Mads.)

I really do love this show, and you've articulated some of the reasons why that I hadn't even thought about. For example, I agree that it's an absolutely stunning show, visually, but I'm not movie-knowledgeable enough to distinguish production design from cinematography. (I mean, I assume it's the set/environment of the show versus the ways in which shots are lit, framed, etc?) And yes, the female characters are just as compelling as the male characters, even though the focus of the show is supposedly on the latter. (I did a rant on Tumblr about that. http://cath822.tumblr.com/post/75729930359/so-i-started-watching-psych-recently-at-the ) I'm really excited for it to come back in a few weeks.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is wonderful too. OMG. So much fun. I can't believe I can actually say the words "Golden Globe winner Andy Samberg" without my head exploding from confusion.
cath822cath822 on February 7th, 2014 05:52 am (UTC)
Martine: Alice/Alicela_loony on February 7th, 2014 10:31 am (UTC)
Sorry to jump in unasked, but this is awesome^^
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on February 7th, 2014 11:25 pm (UTC)
Haha that's cute! (Although they spelled Hugh Dancy's name wrong, oop.)
cath822cath822 on February 8th, 2014 02:52 am (UTC)
Ha, no problem, la_loony. (My blog is theloonybin.blogspot.com - it's like we're internet-related.)

I didn't even notice that, Shannon. They were trying to make him Mr. Darcy! That...is not even close. Except for the curly hair, I guess.
Shannonkungfuwaynewho on February 7th, 2014 11:25 pm (UTC)
Heeeee well from what I've seen of tumblr fandom, a lot of people are more attracted to Hannibal than a reasonable person would expect. Which, you know, it's TV. And he is devastatingly handsome.

Ha, yes, you are correct on the difference between production design and cinematography. Cinematography, generally, is anything that interacts with the camera and the film itself, which to me is the easiest way to distinguish it. I think what really sets Hannibal apart from so much else on TV is how cinematic it looks. We watched a couple episodes last night at a friend's house who has a ginormous TV, and it looked so amazing I could not.
cath822cath822 on February 8th, 2014 03:00 am (UTC)
So, there is one other recent show that manages to look really cinematic in every episode - Key and Peele. I mean, the two shows could not be more different, but K&P is hysterical, and every episode is just so beautifully shot and tightly written. It might be an acquired taste, but it cracks me up.

I don't know why I need to understand these things. When I was younger, my dad (who worked in AV and video production) would point out when a commercial, show, or movie was particularly impressive (like the scene in The Muppet Movie when Kermit rode a bike), and they always stuck with me. Or how you once said that, to make someone sound like they're on the phone, you just take out the low end of the audio track, I just find that all fascinating. I will probably never work in film/video, but it's just part of my geekdom, I guess.
Shannon: bicycle dadkungfuwaynewho on February 10th, 2014 05:08 pm (UTC)
Wow, I've never even heard of Key and Peele. I'll have to check that out!

Heh, yeah, I know what you mean. One of the reasons I even applied to film school was because of my love of watching behind-the-scenes things on like Entertainment Tonight. Sadly, my bachelor's degree has essentially turned into nothing but "hey fandom check out this cool thing I know about filters!"
cath822cath822 on February 11th, 2014 12:47 am (UTC)
Key and Peele is great; it's a sketch show featuring Keegan Michael-Key and Jordan Peele, who used to be on MadTV. Some of the humor is political/racial, but it they do a lot of pop culture parodies that are shot in very specific ways to look exactly like what they're parodying.

Vampire movies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXpxnxAL62A

80s PSAs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1g-s-pghtYQ

And Les Mis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__d2FMCtgi4

Ha, okay, I'm done now.

Edited at 2014-02-11 01:55 pm (UTC)
Martine: Hannibal/Will+Beverlyla_loony on February 7th, 2014 10:30 am (UTC)
Yes yes yes to all the things you said about Hannibal. I watched it out of curiosity because I heard a lot of good things and I was blown away. And tbh I haven't seen any of the films about Lecter. I think I saw the beginning of Hannibal and it scared the fuck out of me so I watched something else and never went back. But this show is everything.
Also I might be a little happy crying because your first paragraph is basically what I'm planning for an exposé for my MA application. I was thinkig about analysing how they portray the canibalism, but what you mentioned about the lightning sounds really intriguing as well. So that's inspiring and really encouraging that my idea is not too far fetched, thank you <3
Oh an because I never knew that, which character was a man in the books and is a woman in the show?

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is on the 'to-watch' list too, now that I'm almost through season 3 of Homeland I might get started on that.
Shannon: luther alicekungfuwaynewho on February 7th, 2014 11:29 pm (UTC)
Hannibal is not a very good movie; if you like Hannibal the show I definitely recommend Silence of the Lambs. Very similar in terms of tone, Jodie Foster is amazing. Essentially a flawless film (it won Best Picture!).

I definitely think the lighting/cinematography and other technical aspects could be combined with an analysis of a portrayal of cannibalism, especially considering all of the gorgeous shots of Hannibal's meals - which are mostly people. It kind of comes back to the idea of attraction/repulsion working at the same time. You want to eat that beautiful meal, but you know what that beautiful meal is...

Alana was Alan in the book Red Dragon, but he doesn't really play a huge role.

I need to make some Hannibal icons...
Martine: Hannibal/Will+Beverlyla_loony on February 9th, 2014 03:07 pm (UTC)
Will definitly do that!

That's kind of what I was thinking, have to see if I have to include other aspects to make sure it's enough for a potential MA. Mostly I have to make sure that they read it and see that I know what I'm talking about, I think that wasn't the case last timeXD

Not sure if I could read those books. I read a bit about how things turn out there after what happens in the movie Hannibal and I kind of checked outXD
Shannon: hannibalkungfuwaynewho on February 10th, 2014 05:09 pm (UTC)
I would definitely only recommend the first two books, Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs. I read Hannibal and didn't hate it, and actually kind of appreciated how crazy the author was to just go for it, but yeah. You can for sure skip that and everything afterwards.
dunderklumpendunderklumpen on February 7th, 2014 12:15 pm (UTC)
You know when there's a movie or a book you're sure will be good but you also know you will be scared shitless reading/watching it? This paired with my curiosity makes it really annoying if there are series like American Horror Story or Hannibal.

I actually waited until last year to watch "Silence of the lambs" because I expected the worst. It was creepy and the whole skin-sew thing still let me shudder but it wasn't half as bad as I thought. The same with "The Walking Dead". I love the series although I'm scared of zombies... I know it's ridiculous.

So what I actually want to say is that sometimes things turn out to be less scary than I imagine in my head (like TWD or World War Z) but sometimes it's worse (like the movie Halloween which I NEVER will watch again EVER in my life!).

Where's Hannibal on that scale?

Shannonkungfuwaynewho on February 7th, 2014 11:34 pm (UTC)
Well, I think what scares people is so subjective. I personally only got scared/creeped out by one episode, but that's because I find the visual image of a Glasgow smile, and the way I associate it with the Black Dahlia, to be so scary; but it didn't bother my sister at all.

I would put Hannibal the show on par with Silence of the Lambs. Some disturbing imagery, for sure, and generally pretty dark, but it doesn't really go for cheap spooks or jumps. It doesn't bother me to watch it, and nothing really stuck with me afterwards (in that, "I heard a noise, something's in my house and it's going to kill me" late-night way), but I'm generally not very scared by true crime/serial killer stuff.

Like with The Americans, I'd say if you're interested, take a look at the pilot. If that particular episode isn't your cup of tea, then I'd skip the show, because both shows really don't depart from the tone/style established in their pilots much if at all.
dunderklumpen: Miss Marple_En Garde!_NONSHARABLEdunderklumpen on February 7th, 2014 11:51 pm (UTC)
I stuck to Criminal Minds all 9 seasons and let me tell you.. especially in the last 2 seasons they started to show more than ever (which IMO was the absolute wrong way to go). But nothing really bothered me after the episode. Except for the one episode about the canibale in one of the early seasons. But more becuse I was grossed out.

So if it's a bit like that I think I can handle it.

Hmm... gonna look for the pilot.

"I heard a noise, something's in my house and it's going to kill me" late-night way"

*lol* I don't need a series for that... depending on the mood I'll get there all by myself without any help.:)
Shannon: hannibalkungfuwaynewho on February 10th, 2014 05:10 pm (UTC)
I've heard that Criminal Minds can be way over the top in what they show and the victimization of women; isn't that why Mandy Patinkin left? I've never really wanted to watch it for that very reason, tbh.

Yay that you liked the pilot! I'm very excited. XD
dunderklumpen: CM_My fandom got's your backdunderklumpen on February 9th, 2014 10:12 pm (UTC)
Okay... I'm hooked. I just wanted a sneak peek after I downloaded it and ended up watching the pilot at 23h in the night!
It was bearable although I'm still grossed out by the idea of cannibalism in general.
But the series started great and I will continue watching.
Iris: [asoiaf] kingslayerpierhias on February 7th, 2014 06:47 pm (UTC)
The only criticism I have at the point I am at (9 episodes in) is that the rest of Crawford's team isn't particularly fleshed out? Like I know next to nothing about the two other people working the crime scenes with Will and Jack. I don't actually even know their names without looking them up, lol. Maybe I'm just not paying enough attention to anything that isn't Mads in those fabulous waistcoats.
Shannon: got jaime briennekungfuwaynewho on February 7th, 2014 11:30 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I kind of felt that way a bit my first time through. I'm assuming we'll get a much better idea of those two guys in S2. Rewatching S1, and not having to pay attention to the plot, I did get some more characterization from them - though I couldn't tell you their names off the top of my head right now either, oops.

I think one is Jimmy! Maybe...
vjs2259vjs2259 on February 8th, 2014 01:18 am (UTC)
I once went to a Halloween party carrying a bottle of chianti and a can of fava beans. So there's that.
Silence of the Lambs freaked me right out. I had to walk home through a deserted cityscape after watching it...come to think of it, I had to walk home alone after watching the original Halloween on VHS. I don't plan well sometimes.

Haven't watched any Hannibal, as of yet anyway. But is that Alice in your icon?
Shannon: luther alicekungfuwaynewho on February 10th, 2014 05:11 pm (UTC)
I had seen Silence of the Lambs edited on TV, but watched it for the first time in its original splendor on the big screen in film class...and had to walk home alone through a dark and mostly-deserted campus. It was an experience, for sure.

It is Alice! I still haven't watched S3 of Luther, but I adore the first two seasons. And Alice is the best (and, I think, a pretty good counterpart to Hannibal Lector).
vjs2259vjs2259 on February 11th, 2014 12:40 am (UTC)
I watched Psycho at a night film class then walked home. Brrr. And I shared a bathroom in the dorm with three other girls. We weren't supposed to lock the door (because hey, toilet) but I did for weeks, months, afterwards whenever I took a shower.

I am Team Alice all the way. S3 had some bad, bad moments, including one scene that still stalks my dreams. But Alice was awesome.
Shannon: bsg duck mirrorkungfuwaynewho on February 11th, 2014 12:58 am (UTC)
That's how I was after I saw The Ring. Except I couldn't decide whether closing my closet door (something could be in there but I wouldn't be able to see it!) or leaving it open (and now I can see it!) was scarier.
tarkheena lizzeeen: lost [san merci]liminalliz on February 9th, 2014 10:08 pm (UTC)
Shannon: hannibalkungfuwaynewho on February 10th, 2014 05:11 pm (UTC)