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Why It Might Be a Good Thing if NBC Cancels 'Hannibal'

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | May 2, 2014 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | May 2, 2014 |

The ratings of NBC’s Hannibal are not particularly good for network television, even on a Friday night. Around 3.5 million people tune in each week, and its 1.1 in the 18-49 demo is not exactly inspiring. Still, as Bryan Fuller told Digital Spy, he is “very confident” that the series will be picked up for a third season, and viewers best hope so, not just because we love watching Hannibal but, as Fuller also notes, the second-season finale ends on a cliffhanger. “We end season two in such a strange way - boy, I would be pissed [if that were the end]! We don’t quite land the plane, we leave the plane in the air.”

Fuller notes that the creatives at NBC are fully behind the show, although the ad and sales teams are not so keen on it because it’s not exactly raking in money. But, and here’s the key: Fuller and the Hannibal producers are also shopping it around to other outlets as a Plan B, which is smart if only because NBC is not going to want to lose a show that ends up being popular on Netflix or Amazon, where 3.5 million, the archive of the show’s first two seasons, and the ability to binge-watch it make it a very attractive series, especially with all the critical acclaim behind it.

But honestly, if Netflix is a seriously viable option, I hope NBC does let it go, because I’d much rather watch the show over a shorter period of time, and in a format that allows the language and nudity to match the level of violence. It’s kind of silly, isn’t it, that the series can show a dead woman being pulled out of a horse’s belly — and all the innards that that entails — but it has to work to ensure that the woman’s nipple isn’t revealed.

So, I say: Go ahead and cancel it NBC. Let Amazon pick it up. Or Netflix. Or AMC. Or even Starz. It’d be a nice hit for any of those outlets, we would get the full benefit of Bryan Fuller’s vision, we could avoid the Friday night broadcasts and the commercial breaks, we could watch it in a more compressed time period, and we wouldn’t have to worry about when it would show up on the primetime schedule again.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.