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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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