Another year of TV has come and gone. The 2012-13 season was an eventful one, as it marked the end of such landmark shows as The Office, Gossip Girl and 30 Rock, and introduced the world to new attractions like Hannibal, Orphan Black and 1600 Penn (hey, I didn’t say they were all good). Along with the impending final season of Breaking Bad and whatever else the summer TV slate has in store, this warmer weather signals the approach of those all-important Emmy nominations, which will be announced three days from now on July 18th. This means I get to make another list of things I’d love to see the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences do.
Hannibal for Outstanding Drama Series. With so many perennial contenders for this category still jousting for a slot (Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey, just to name a few), it would be easy to go with familiar names and overlook the handful of worthy new shows that emerged over the past year. Foremost among these rookie challengers, probably along with BBC’s Orphan Black, is Hannibal. I’ll be the first to admit that, when I heard NBC had picked up a show based on the younger years of the iconic, people-eating villain, I rolled my eyes and quickly declared the idea depressingly unoriginal, a massive failure just waiting to happen. Besides, it would be impossible to find an actor who could fill Anthony Hopkins’s Oscar-winning shoes for the title role. As it turned out, I was wrong. Although I still prefer Hopkins’s openly menacing yet charming take on the character over Mads Mikkelsen’s perpetually unruffled, debonair inscrutability, the show itself ended up being a dark, twisted psychological thriller with its own unique voice. Showrunner Bryan Fuller gives it just enough stylized flair to keep the procedural format from growing too monotonous and populates the world initially created by author Thomas Harris with complex, unpredictable characters brought to life by a talented group of actors. For my money, Laurence Fishburne, who plays Jack Crawford in a tour-de-force performance and was weirdly, disappointingly not submitted for Emmy consideration, and Lara Jean Chorostecki as the mysterious crime reporter Freddie Lounds are especially impressive. Touching on themes of identity, mental health and the nature and effects of violence, the first season of Hannibal provided a strong bedrock for what could hopefully become one of the next great TV shows in an age bursting at the seams with great television.
CHECK IT OUT: “Potage” (Ep. 3), “Entrée” (Ep. 6), “Savoureux” (Ep. 13)