5 Ways 'Hannibal' Can Up Its Ratings And Rescue Itself From Untimely Cancellation
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5 Ways 'Hannibal' Can Up Its Ratings And Rescue Itself From Untimely Cancellation

By Rebecca Pahle | Hannibal | March 13, 2014 | Comments ()


Look, it’s no secret that we on Pajiba generally love Hannibal. But apparently the world as a whole doesn’t admire and emulate Pajiba’s tastes en masse (you bastards), because the show’s second season ratings haven’t been doing all that well. When you consider that we only got a second season through someone making a deal with the devil and/or NBC not having enough good shows to let their cancellation boner spring fully free… well, things aren’t looking all that great.

But it’s still early. We’re only two episodes into Hannibal’s sophomore season. There’s still time for a course correction. So, creator Bryan Fuller, I recommend you…

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Replace Yourself With Chuck Lorre
Sorry Bryan—can I call you Bryan?—but this is how it has to be. The Big Bang Theory just got picked up for three more seasons, and it and Two and a Half Men are both multiple Emmy-winning shows. (I repeat: Two and a Half Men has won three Emmys). Hannibal will turn into a paragon of mediocrity, and the laugh track will be kind of weird over all the scenes of grisly murder, but you gotta do what you gotta do.

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Better Utilize The Power of Hugh Dancy
Hugh Dancy is more adorable and charming than any being on planet Earth has any right to be. Will Graham could actually be a cannibalistic serial killer, and I’d still want to wrap him in blankets and cuddle him. Sadly, that potential goes unrealized as long as you don’t send him around the NBC offices to make puppy eyes at execs until they agree to move Hannibal out of the Friday night death slot. Have Gina Torres behind him, wielding a gun and the power of her eyebrows.

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Musical Episode
OK, OK, I admit to a lack of journalistic integrity on this one. There is no conclusive evidence that a musical episode, by itself, has ever saved a show from cancellation. But it can’t hurt, can it? And I really want Hannibal to have a musical episode. I want every show to have a musical episode. Jeopardy should have a musical episode.

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Switch Up Your Demographic
Mr. Fuller, you’ve been very candid about how you appreciate the young females who make up a large portion of Hannibal’s fanbase. Speaking as a young female myself (shut up, I still have seven months left in my 20s, I am a young female), I appreciate what you’re going for here, but a lot of us don’t tend to do things like contribute to a show’s ratings by watching it as it airs. You need to appeal to whoever it is watching NCIS/CSI/SVU. There are a million of ‘em, they stay on for ages, and who watches? Stay-at-home moms? Grandparents? Aliens? I don’t know. I recommend sapping all the grisly violence, intense themes—hell, all the originality—out of your show and give it more ripped from the headline plots and cookie cutter detectives rattling off technobabble about cybercrime and “the Net.” Don’t knock it. It works.

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Pull a Whedon
Put the show on hiatus so you can direct a Hollywood blockbuster. Make it a billion-dollar success; Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides did it, so it can’t be that hard. You’re now a household name. Announce that you’re bringing back Hannibal; give the reigns to other people, but every time the show is mentioned make sure “Bryan Fuller’s” is before it. Turn Hannibal into a standard procedural. Dull down all but one or two of its characters. Make it so boring that most of the people who watch it only do so because they hope that, through the collective power of positive thinking, they might will it into being worthy of your track record. By this point Hannibal will have been so highly anticipated, with so much money sunk into it, that NBC couldn’t cancel it even if it wanted to.

Atrocious Photoshop is all part of Rebecca’s charm.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • LH

    I am a massive Hannibal Lecter fan all the way back to Thomas Harris' books and that is exactly why I no longer tune into Bryan Fuller's horrific incarnation. This character isn't even remotely Hannibal Lecter. There is so little of the character from the books that by the fifth episode, I turned off the show for good, What they've done to that magnificent character is criminal.

    The pathetic pandering to a limited demographic (Hannigrams? Seriously?) is patently offensive. Fuller can be seen on Twitter and Tumblr touting the possibility of nudity and kissing scenes between Hannibal and Will Graham. That would be perfectly acceptable had the character been homosexual, but that was far from Thomas Harris' intent. Hannibal and Clarice are paired in the book series, but because MGM holds the rights to Clarice, and Fuller cannot obtain said rights, he's skewing Hannibal and Will's sexuality to boost his flaccid ratings. Hell, I don't even watch the show anymore and I'm aware there's a bathing suit scene coming up.

    This man has obliterated canon. Forget cannibalism- what Fuller has done to Hannibal is the true crime. How the mighty have fallen.

  • Aly Welch

    The only kiss he teased was the one between Hannibal and someone most viewers presumed to be Alana, later to be confirmed in the previews to the last episode. That episode even caused my husband to note he had a hard time viewing Hannibal as anything but asexual (and really, he was just securing an alibi.)

    I follow Fuller AND watch the show, and I'm not seeing it. You could argue he panders to people who find the men attractive on an individual basis as he has teased nudity, but not in the context of a romance between them. Will showed some thigh in a crime scene vision, and only Jack and Alana saw Hannibal in his swim suit (an episode before the Alana thing went down.) There was also romance between Will and Alana until Hannibal framed Will, and especially after Will tried to have him killed. Their bromance (which still feels like too strong of a word) between Will and Hannibal has been over ever since the first season ended, with no hint at reconciliation.

    If you were still watching the show, you'd realize how silly you sound. I think you're projecting your feelings about that limited demographic on Fuller and the show. Personally, I don't get how anyone can root for Hannibal, let alone want Will to be with someone who's done such horrible things to him. In any case, it's a reflection on their own weird sensibilities because the show itself has made me detest Hannibal even more than I already did, and I can't wait for Will to defeat him.

  • LH

    I am not discussing anything that has actually been included in the show. I'm discussing the pandering I see on the Internet. Twitter and Tumblr have numerous mentions. I, too, follow Bryan Fuller and have read a host of interviews. He is directly priming the so-called "Fannibals"- here is one such interview, so before you hurl insults, read further. You are the one who sounds silly, madame.


  • sourbob

    Hannibal is so wildly profitable from presales to foreign territories that it turns a hefty profit before NBC pays its first nickel. Even if NBC cancels it, it won't go away. They'll just find a different network.

  • alwaysanswerb

    I wouldn't put a musical episode completely out of the Bryan Fuller Realm of Possibility.

  • Zirza

    I would pay good money to see Mads Mikkelsen and Gillian Anderson do a version of A Little Priest.

  • Welp, I just realized I completely forgot to watch this when it came back.

    I don't know. It's been too long since the last season, and a rewatch of a couple of episodes really brought out all the plot holes and the repetitiveness of the plots from week to week. It got...pretty boring, honestly.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    They actually managed to explain the ear that somehow ended up in Will's stomach that he later vomited. And that's a sentence I never imagined I'd write.

  • MHJ

    Why are you watching it, then? No offense, serious question.

  • It was pretty and I loved the cast. And on a first watch, it was interesting and I didn't notice all the plot holes and bad things about it. I still haven't bothered to catch up with this season.

  • Ryan Ambrose

    I have this rule, if I watched it the first time and did not notice a plot hole and it did not derail my suspension of disbelief then it's not a plot hole, logic leaps be damned.

    I think you might enjoy this article, honestly, sorry about all the caps though:


  • stella

    Letme buy episodes on gogle play. I have a nookand cant use amazon. Please let me watch you Hannibal.

  • John W

    I see the problem. They need to bring back the redheaded reporter.

  • Three_nineteen

    Tune in tomorrow.

  • In an interview at HitFix last year, Fuller said that he knew there would be a Hannibal Season 2 whether or not NBC renewed it, partly because of money from foreign markets, and also because other networks were interested in picking it up. I'm going to assume the same is true going into Season 3.

  • alannaofdoom

    Yeah, in some ways I don't even mind it being in the so-called Friday Night Death Slot, because it means the show has a lower target to hit in terms of ratings and viewers. Ad time isn't as expensive in that timeslot so the network isn't taking a huge loss (or maybe isn't taking a loss at all) if the ratings aren't sky high. Plus it's a Gaumont co-production so it's pretty cheap for NBC to produce. I think it's less "we'll renew it because we have nothing else," and more "We love this show and we want to allow it to be great, even if it will never be a blockbuster."

  • Blake

    Second. I hope so as well.

  • FrayedMachine

    This show is so much of everything to me. I am a complete and total wuss and it's got me completely wrapped around it's finger. So much so that I've actually started ~watching Silence of the lambs et al~. It would be such a bummer to see this show go. I adore Bryan Fuller so so so much. His work is just painfully beautiful. His color usage and actual thought provoking cinematography is something pretty much non existent in most TV today. First Dead Like Me, then Pushing Daisies. Can anything he make last more than two seasons? Please... PLEASE

  • Blake

    and Wonderfalls which didn't even get a full season and only aired four episodes (out of order) before FOX cancelled it.

    It is one of my Top 5 A.T.F.S.

  • FrayedMachine

    Ugh, YES, Wonderfalls! I am honestly assuming at this point that Fuller is just too much genius for the world.

  • Blake

    My glass half full outlook if Hannibal were to be cancelled is maybe we'd get a P.D. movie or a new Star Trek series (which Fuller has always wanted to do and it's where he got his start (DS9 and Voyager) ). Set it in the Abramverse (blasphemy I know) and follow the original crew and I'd watch the hell out of it.

  • DeaconG

    Naw, I'd rather have one of the two series that was proposed around the time Voyager went away: the Federation Timeship series (where they go back and correct the fuck-ups in time other people make); or (much preferable) the Section 31 spinoff, with a team that does the dirty jobs the Federation won't fess up to, complete with a starship that has the (supposedly destroyed) phased-matter cloak from ST:TNG.

    Of course, Dr. Bashir has to be recruited into said group...

  • Fabius_Maximus

    Maybe he can do the Worf series Michael Dorne is trying to get produced.

  • Blake

    No Worf. Data is the only character I want to see more of from the new series unless Patrick Stewart is willing to re-enlist in Starfleet.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    I like Worf. I wasn't a fan of "B4". Then again, Braman destroyed the whole original storyline with Voyager anyway.

  • Todd Sikkema

    Oh, you Pajiba geeks. I love y'all.

  • I love that someone (probably Dustin) complained that this was a show no one asked for, and it was going to suck. If I could find the original piece I would, but it's impossible to search for things that were in a Pajiba Love or media roundup posting.

  • Parsnip

    Dang...watch it get pulled. It's engrossing, and I do enjoy the cinematography, staging and stylish food preparations (inadvisable to watch while eating as I discovered). It's good and it should stay! There I've stated my case.

  • Sassy Pikachu

    I need this to be true so bad.

    Also: "NBC believes the Friday night 10pm slot is perfect for Hannibal"

    ... yeah.... sure....

  • RilesSD

    yes, Yes, YES. I hope this turns out to be true. I need to see Fuller's full series as conceived.

    This is one of the best shows on television.

  • Parsnip

    I just took a sharp intake of breath...I am at peace.

  • Billybob

    Okay, I was with you right up until you made Will Graham correspond to Agent Bland Whitedude. That's just mean.

  • BettyNugs

    I have 6 mos. left in my 20s. I feel that feel.

  • Glad I'm not the only one ;) oh 29.

  • Blake

    NBC is already dead to me (Community being the only thing stopping the hammer from dgropping the final nail in the coffin). If they cancel it (then hopefully it gets pick up by Amazon, Netflix or a cable channel where it belonged in the first place) FVCK THEM and it was nice while it lasted.

    Why NBC even bothers anymore I don't know.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Be less gross.

  • Gross is just such an oversimplification in this context. Also completely subjective. Bryan Fuller has such a creative imagination, he utilizes these fantastical images of violence to embellish the story line but each shot of violence and destruction is coated with symbolism and meaning, adding to the story and character development.

    The violence/death in Hannibal can be heavy-handed, but it is more to emphasize the reality of violence as well as the effect it has on the characters. Violence has consequences.

    I have not seen a show on network television that so beautifully uses imagery and symbolism to drive the story and character arcs. Fuller has created a world in Hannibal that is scary, but also somewhat surreal and fantastical. Mads Mikkelsen's Hannibal has such an understated grace that it makes the show's story progression a joy to watch unfold.

    I actually feel a little bit sorry for people who can't enjoy at least part of the beauty in this show. And yes I'm a Bryan Fuller super fan and yes I know this sounds pretentious, but I just honestly love this show and wish more people would give it a chance to really watch and take in the aesthetic wonder that has me so enthralled.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Of course, "gross" is subjective, but I wanted to represent the people for whom the show's artistic choices cross the line into a place we cannot go. It's simply a question of who falls on one side of the line of "aesthetic wonder" and can see past the visuals and who can't. I fall on the side of worrying about desensitization to violence and questioning the need to shock. I find the macabre prurience deeply off-putting. I can't enjoy the merits of the show, if I can't watch it. For me, the narrative gets lost.

    On another note, I am sick to death of movies and television that frame serial killers as somehow pure because they exist outside of the normal realm of human emotions, or view their crimes as some kind of twisted performance art, or see the killers themselves as people of brilliance whose actions are a manifestation of their compulsive genius.

  • pfeiffer87

    Agreed. I stopped watching after the mushroom incubating bodies episode in season 1.

  • alannaofdoom

    What's interesting is, that's where the show *got* me. I watched the pilot and thought, "Well it has some potential but I'm not sold, I guess I'll give episode two a shot." The mushroom bodies convinced me that the show was doing something so weird, so terribly beautiful, and was so uninterested in going near the tired procedural tropes, that I was 100% on board from that moment.

    But I do have a strong stomach, and I definitely understand if some viewers just aren't up for the imagery.

  • Some Guy

    I tried to bring up this point in a different thread, but yes. This season the gore is heavier and the ratings are lower. I know correlation doesn't equal causation, but needless gore is going to turn off more people than it attracts.

    I don't even mind the more whimsical element like the mushrooms. Like Zombie deaths, things like that are so far removed from the reality of it all that it's less shocking, than, say, a close up of hannibal severing a foot with a saw or a guy ripping his stitched self out of something, all while tearing his skin in the process.

    It's feeling less tasteful and more "let's push boundaries simply because they exist."

  • F'mal DeHyde


    I had to pause during the scene with the young guy trying to detach himself from the "artwork" but the leg preparation didn't bother me at all except Hannibal's apparent disregard for his meat's content. He had just shot the man up with heroin, for pete's sake.

  • Mrs. Julien

    It's where they lost me, too.

  • Blake

    Are you familiar with the source material?

    *It's no worse than the W.D. and actually has well thought stories and characters. I guess it's just not dumb enough for the typical CSI procedural crowd.

  • Mrs. Julien

    It's not that it is too smart. There are people who like smart TV (gestures Pajibaward), it's that for some people (such as myself) it is too enmeshed in showing gruesome details.

  • Blake

    To clarify I wasn't referring to you as the "dumb" (I also question "gestures Pajibaward" part - see the current HIMYM obsession), just a general rant on why we can't have nice things. If anything its got all the makings of a CBS show. Attractive diverse cast, humour, a murder a week, smidge of action, T.M.I. and crazy.

    NBC just can't promote a show worth sh*t.

    *CSI and Criminal Minds also sell the gruesome hard. It just isn't shown as beautifully as Hannibal.

  • Sherilyn Stewart

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    ▊▊▊ ▊�▊▊ ▊▊▊ ▊▊▊䷹ ▊▊▊ ▊▊▊But I do have a strong stomach, and I definitely understand if some viewers just aren't up for the imagery.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I concede. NBC sucks.

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