Hannibalisms

click for source (Will, Jack and Hannibal)

Yes, I know, absolutely overused and terrible pun 😉

Needless to say, spoilers for S1 and S2 ahead, potentially S3 as well from existing promos. My opinions are my own, no intention to offend any fans of the show :-).

But fear not (well, maybe inappropriate advice with this particular show ;-)) it is not all bad. There are many things I actually like about the show, just as there are things that irritate me, some that put me off massively and some that go against things I strongly believe in. I did watch it though, not quite as religiously as some but also not looking away quite as much as I thought i would do in S2.

I’ll never be a total fan, just as I’m not the biggest fan of GOT, I enjoy watching them, some original formatting, but mostly compelling acting.

Where to start… Probably by saying ‘horror’ is not a genre I will ever enjoy. I gave it a few tries but it’s not for me. I like being puzzled, engaged, thrilled, angered etc but one thing I do not enjoy is being frightened to the bones. The chills don’t give me any kind of thrills. I’m not one for bungee jumping, for playing with fire, for throwing myself off cliffs and things. I love fast cars and motorcycles, but they have to be safe. I know some people have genetically much higher adrenaline tolerance and enjoy extreme sports and are able to/enjoy taking more risks. I am not one of those people and I’m fine with it 🙂 I’d be equally fine if I was and was able to enjoy more risky stuff but I’m not. I tried watching the Exorcist but decided half way through it was not for me, I remember trying Carrie many years ago and same reaction, I think I watched about 20 min of Misery and stopped. I’d have nothing at all to gain by being uncomfortably scared. It is not particularly to do with the gore, I find I have a reasonably high tolerance for it, my dad is a doctor and I’ve been around hospitals more than I like. The human suffering and physical destruction that comes with accidents, war, illness I can deal with, it is fact of life and needs to be accepted as such; it makes me sad, angry, it upsets me, but it doesn’t really give me nightmares or turns my stomach.

Man inflicted aberration for thrills and gallons of blood and guts on the other hand shown as entertainment I find quite off-putting. Or the type of mutilations which horror movies tend to go for as far as I can tell from my minimal experience.

Having said that I enjoy detective stories a lot! In fact probably 80% of what I tend to watch falls within the police/detective/thriller category or documentary of some sort. These can be quite dark sometimes  and some drama , especially in historical context is terrible. But it feels very different from a spectator perspective. It is also true that it has become harder and harder to find interesting ways to tell thriller or detective stories. The usual ’cops and robbers’ has to be reinvented several times each season and it is increasingly difficult to be fresh and original. And because I guess it is harder and harder to write original characters we’ve seen some innovation in formats. One tendency has clearly been towards more and more violence so I have found myself in the last 2 years watching the Following and Hannibal. The Following didn’t actually turn my stomach with the gore but the violence was just too much and forever twisting- I switched off. Just not for me.

I’m currently watching Stalker which scared me quite a few times to the point where I did question if I was going to continue watching, but so far it managed to stay within tolerable limits even if sometimes barely so. But I like the psychological element of it. I’m also watching the Blacklist, which I have to say I am thoroughly enjoying! Yes there was too much gore at times and I had to fast forward a few times, but they have toned down that aspect recently -thankfully- and the characters are just so much fun to watch! I enjoy watching James Spader as Raymond Reddington much more than I am enjoying anything in GOT for example (also because there are far too many characters involved in the latter for my favourites to get much screen time anyway) .

But getting back on track, sorry for the digression. There are 2 movies I do remember which have definitely scared me, but I did sort of enjoy watching them and they have left a lasting impression: one is ‘Seven’ and the other one is ‘Silence of the lambs’. Thoroughly disturbing but brilliantly executed and acted. Although they do give me the chills in retrospect still I don’t regret watching them. Clever and very convincing. Maybe these kind of stories do work better across more hours  or are more effective if a real story line can build with physiological depth. The rapid succession of crazy serial killers in shows like the Following never engage me, they tend to just twist my stomach especially as they don’t come with the reward of said killers being caught  or normality prevailing.Actually, scratch that about Silence of the lambs, incidentally it was back on TV last night and i watched bits of it and wondered what i found interesting last time i saw it, didn’t seem half as claver now and pretty heavy handed.. it hasn’t aged well as a film ;-).

It is I guess why I did stay with Hannibal for the full 1st season, because the acting was good and the characters were engaging.

click for source (Will)

Let’s talk a bit about the book material before going into some of my pros and cons about the show. Thomas Harris’ novels, which provide the material for the series.. I have only read the Red Dragon and based on that one I doubt I’ll read the rest. I’m afraid I didn’t find them original in terms of story line and a lot of it was very predictable. A lot of it was far too cliché for my liking and some of it just felt way to exaggerated in terms of environment and prejudice. Having said that I reminded myself of when these were written (1981 for the Red Dragon). I think psychological thrillers have moved on a lot since, there has been much preoccupation with serial killers, both in fiction as well as documentary  and as viewers we’ve become much more demanding and sophisticated in our expectations of the characters we get served up 🙂 So I guess the books are just a bit outdated in terms of character build up and we’ve seen too much since for them to read ‘fresh’.

One of the ‘pros’ of Hannibal the series from my point of view is the fact that they take the material of the books and make much more of it. The main characters in the series are much more complex and multidimensional than they appear in the book.

The other big ‘pro’ factor is the great acting from Laurence Fishburne as Jack Crawford, Hugh Dancy as Will Graham and Mads Mikkelsen as Hannibal Lecter. All 3 of them make strong, believable and engaging characters. I really disliked Crawford in the book, but Fishburne makes him a much more balanced and human character. I felt Graham came across broken, empty and weak in the book, but Dancy is almost nothing like that. He’s sensitive and complicated inside, not quite whole I guess, but not the confused character in the book. Mads makes a very convincing case for the soave and charming… murderer 😉 And with that I mean he looks like he really does believe the aberrations that he utters, the twisted logic of what he does and is really good at letting through all that elegant civility just enough twinkles of the madness within. He’s flamboyant all-right but within the reality-expanding boundaries of the show it is ‘natural’. He doesn’t come across as fake and in such a surreal show that is no mean feat.

However, because I’m not familiar with the genre and very ‘straight’ I guess in why I like thrillers/detective stories, I got caught up with it in S1 because of Will himself. I never thought the show was to be taken at face value, that it was going to be a logical, life-like narrative, but I did feel Will’s psychological quirks were within what I could engage with as a viewer. In fact I like stories where the bad guys get caught because somebody understands how their minds work, or what kind of people they are or because people can connect with the victims on other ways than just the logical, factual ones. These days that is no longer outside police work and in terms of fiction it is certainly a very grateful way of learning more about victims and killers as well, of learning more about the human element than just the clinical facts. So it is definitely something that attracted me to the premises of the series, or to Will’s character in particular.

However, I fell into the trap of expecting things to go sometimes bad but ultimately good for the ‘good guys’ while I was being treated to a ‘horror’ show logic of bad, more bad leading to worse. By the end of S1 I was literally fed up with Hannibal experimenting on Will, physically and especially mentally, with no end in sight. There was no end to suffering, no good was coming to any investigation anymore as Will was getting more and more messed up internally and I got annoyed and at the end of S1 decided I’d had enough and wasn’t prepared to see more of it.

Let me be clear, I am fully conscious of the glamorous, inventive, striking and sometimes oddly beautiful visuals of the show. That is innovative, and fresh and certainly very creative. It is a look that is ‘pleasing’ a lot of the times and creates a clever and mind-twisting contrast to the actual subject. But ultimately I watch TV for the stories and this was going nowhere or I just felt strung along to no interesting or satisfying end. As mentioned I am ‘straight’ that way, no matter how elaborate the dinners (and I love to cook and eat, pretty much foodie), how elegant the dress for me Hannibal will never be anything else than a very clever and totally mad killer. I want him stopped and caught. I don’t buy into his charms other than seeing them as a weapon, a means to his twisted end. While I appreciate and applaud the acting, it is not attractive to me because the bottom line for me never changes, he is a killer. I don’t need to understand why, I’m only interested in as much as I want him stopped. There is nothing logical or normal about it, it is sick, it is an illness that drives him, he’s broken beyond repair. That may not be the premise of a ‘horror’ show where black and white and grey are not as we normally interpret them, but it is the way I see things in such context. There is no way this kind of ‘bad’ becomes attractive to me, it just doesn’t. Which is probably why I’ll never be a complete fan of the show, because even while watching or thinking ‘this looks fine’, I still think it is sick and he is bad and over 2 seasons now that view I have has never changed, never wavered one bit. I actually expected it to maybe change or shift during S2, but it hasn’t.

same source as above (Jack)

(Time for a tea-break 😉 Go make yourself some coffee or tea and relax, I’m probably only half way through! And thank you for not falling asleep already if you are still reading 😉 )

It also means it will take a whole lot of convincing and coaxing for me to feel a lot of sympathy for RA as Dolarhyde. The horrible whys of how he became so broken won’t make me automatically be on his side. I’ll want him stopped and the fact that he is a killer will always be at the back of my mind. Realistically, there is no going back after the first deliberate and gruesome killing. I think Bedelia is absolutely right in her argument about it and hers is the only psychological reasoning I have been able to buy into so far in the show; I find her most convincing and in a strange way objective.

It is interesting that she is the only one who really understands the extent of Will’s innocence – but also guilt. I’ll come back to her but I just want to say a few more things about Will. For me the central theme of the 2nd season was innocence or guilt.. Will’s in particular, with variations and examples on each side shown through other characters. But essentially it is about Will. Has he changed, how? Is he a murderer? And I think it is a story line the series has done really well, ie manage to break free from the Will in S1, vulnerable and adorable though he was. What Will becomes in S2 is much more complex, more interesting and it opens up many possibilities for the series.

I’m glad for the evolution, but am sorry for the loss of innocence… Another clever thing they did in S2 was pile on the evidence and suspicion about his guilt to the point where you believe he is just like Hannibal. It is painful to watch if you are engaged in the character and very convincing done. We find out reality is not quite as bad towards the end. Essentially, we see Will kill in self defence (after we have already seen him try to kill Hannibal for revenge by proxy, convincing another killer in the hospital he is incarcerated in to do the deed), but we are also led to believe he’s killed Freddie Lounds when she finds him out. I felt a massive relief when I saw Freddie survived and it was actually part of an elaborate strategy to try and catch Hannibal in the act. But! The deception was so good I wish they’d kept it until the end of the series and revealed it all in one go.

The way it was done made the last episode anticlimactic, especially if like me you saw it now, before S3 starts and when you know all characters survive the attacks suffered from Hannibal. Basically they try and count their chickens a bit too early and he literally smells them out (ie smells Freddie on Will, who has been meeting with her to talk about a future article). Bedelia warns them… but nobody seems to really listen to this women in that show. Bar Hannibal that is.

So it turns out Will is not a serial killer…. But he is a killer nevertheless. Yes he convinces himself that it is necessary to catch Hannibal, so he lets him believe he’s killed more times. But we also find he moves unusually quickly from attempting revenge to killing in self defence and then horribly displaying the mutilated body. Which I hoped until the last minute was actually Hannibal’s work (the show tries to make us believe in this sort of ‘tandem killing’ idea), but turns out it was all Will.

His mind is no longer affected by physical illness, but one wonders about how much of this is motivated by seeking justice and how far Will is actually able to go. Needless to say the most interesting aspects of the show, including visually, are the goings on in his mind. The picturing of the killings, the doubts and so on, which he is much more in control of in a way but which populate his mind constantly. Bad for poor Will, but great for the series. I still like some of him and I hold on to hope that he’s not completely tipped over, but he’s moved past the character I can be supportive of to a character I observe and maybe hope the best for.

I think Will is trapped in trying to catch Hannibal and realising too late after the fact what the consequences are; I think Bedelia is much more conscious of them than Will. Sadly her taking a wise distance from Hannibal and everything means we don’t see all that much of her in S2.

The reasons I like her and like seeing her in the series is that she is by far the most complex female character. Freddie is smart and risk taking and a good portrait of her profession and I am glad at least she didn’t fade into the background, but apart from her, the only female character with any depth and complexity is Bedelia.

I am sure I’m not the first to notice or the first to complain about it: the show sorely lacks a female perspective. Women seem to be passers by in the story, without leaving much imprint and generally weak, easily trapped and quickly eliminated. I don’t like any of them except the two mentioned above. I thought the storyline of Jack’s beautiful but sadly ill wife was going somewhere, but when Hannibal actually didn’t let he die (presumably to let her continue suffering and let Jack continue suffering) she was dispatched to the sick bed barely to appear again. Any interaction or grief Jack Crawford might feel was just a glimpse, again never repeated. Why?

Don’t even get me started on Alana… for God’s sake… how self-delusional and blind does one have to be? None of her is believable, likeable or even in the slightest convincing. There is zero chemistry between her and Hannibal and her interaction with Will is just silly. I’d have more respect for the character if she decided either way and stuck to her guns, but she’s depicted as one of those airheads, an emotional bundle, totally charmed by Hannibal (insert gagging noises).

Who else?

Ah yes, poor Abigail, who Will thinks Hannibal has killed and feels guilt about that he could not only not save her but also not find her. She turns up again, hidden away …  in Hannibal’s house… only very predictably to be killed again. Not very effective or convincing as the damage that particular guilt trip did on Will has long since been inflicted, nothing new will come of it. She’s treated as disposable anyway. Not before she dispatches Alana equally dully through an open window, (not interesting enough to even get a proper killing, all she gets is a desperate shove through the window) which I am afraid has not finished her off…

Equally quick work was made of Will’s police colleague who starts believing him only to get very easily killed and sliced.

Ah one more, Verger’s sister – introduced on an ever more hyperbolic arc and equally quickly discarded. Continuously abused by her brother, she is also Hannibal’s patient and ends up pretty swiftly in Will’s bed…. Poor sod, not particularly good taste. Ok, it is comfort sex… which ends up creating a baby!!! Well, nearly, babies are much too cute for this show. Hannibal only taunts Will with the idea,they don’t really explore it enough for it to take hold or do any lasting damage when it is taken away (other than to the women herself…). Brutally I might add, by the sick brother literally taking not only the baby but also her ovaries -presumably- away from her and therefore any chance of escape from under his control.

It is I think where it was most evident in the series that a female perspective was totally absent. Yes Hannibal is cold and he’d use the whole idea to torment Will even further. And yes I fell for it, thinking there could be a small positive turn, forgetting this is a horror show and nothing ever ends even remotely well. I would have thought Hannibal would have played that card longer tbh. And I found it utterly disgusting how they all, including Will, treated that poor women as just an object in their various strategies. And once ovaries were out and baby was out, out she went to, unceremoniously, never to be heard of or cared about again.

Dear Mr Fuller, I’ve put up with those stupid man-eating pigs for an exceeding number of episodes! It was a boring and predictable story line, though the right one never got eaten by those pigs. Sadly it just annoyed me, I’ve not become a vegetarian. You spent a silly amount of time with the pigs but made a mess of the much more harrowing story twist above… bleh! Definitely a big ‘con’ in my book.

The women’s fate was dispatched almost in the blink of an eye or wave of a hand while I had to watch the pigs again and again and, to top it all off,  you inflicted Mason Verger upon me and I actually accidentally nearly watch him fillet his face off and feed it to Will’s dogs! I’ve looked away a few times in the series, but that particular image still makes my stomach turn. And in combination with the above lack of depth makes my mind twist in anger as well.

And while I am at the ‘cons’ and especially the ones that annoy me incredibly –> while I had to put up with that particularly disgusting scene, in comparison the sex scenes which supposedly conceived the baby above made me laugh. For such imaginative and fantastic minds they sure are Victorian bores in bed. Not that I could find anything attractive in silly Alana getting into bed with Hannibal, I just wanted to shake her! But there was nothing there to suggest she was really attracted to him physically or even emotionally, she seemed to be more drugged than enamoured.

Same with Will and Margot (finally remembered the Verger sister’s name),  I just thought: ran out of conversation subjects, have they? And then it becomes truly hilarious and in all honestly not at all surprising: Will and Alana – or whichever combination of 2 people of the 4- turn their heads on their respective pillow after the ‘event’ and what you see is the two couples merged in one image: ie Will sharing sheets with Hannibal! LOL It was really funny, but yeah some chemistry was there, predictably. Just because the idea in itself was so predictable; they only way to virtually get them in each other’s beds was to get them in each other heads ;-). Funny, but not necessarily fun for the characters I’m guessing – as in ‘between the sheets’ fun. Nobody really looks or breathes enough away from the whole murder business for other passions to emerge or some real fun to happen.

In fact, with so much murder business and eating constantly on screen, I was surprised we were suddenly in bed with them; it is not a natural place for any of them to be in and it felt as if the production as well as the characters didn’t really know what to do with themselves there. It was awkwardly and ironically out of character for everyone.

Which raises some doubts for me for the next season where several love interests are supposed to appear. They better do a more interesting job of it than they have done so far.

I am excited to see more of Bedelia but she’s going off with Hannibal?? Really??? Unless she thinks she can trap him somehow and get him caught… she is probably bold enough to try. I’m just not convinced they will be able to sell me some sudden chemistry if that should be their intention. Mind you, if anyone can pull of chemistry in that show it is Gillian Anderson 🙂

I’m curious to see what they make of Will’s wife and hopefully she’ll be a bit more than a piece of human furniture to populate his life.. I am exaggerating, but I’m just hoping for some strong definition in that character, more than I have seen them capable of doing so far.

Thankfully in terms of the Dolarhyde story Reba McClane is already written as a pretty strong character, so at least the model has already been created, hopefully nothing will go wrong there.

They have shown in S2 that they can bring interesting twists and fix weaknesses of the show so I am hoping they can do that in S3 on the female front. Those men need some distraction from their constant digging in their own minds 😉

From Fuller’s very interesting interview I gather we can hope for some complex relationship development, even though we’ll still see more gore than is good for my stomach and only Victorian sex (from the shoulder above)… yeah I can’t quite wrap my head around ‘face filleting allowed but don’t show me your nipple’.

There is only one more quibble and a few quirks to mention from my side.

click for source (that tattoo image)

I sometimes have problems with Mad’s diction to be honest. I’ve heard him in interviews and I have much less of a problem. But in the show as a non-native speaker I find it difficult to follow that psychobabble the character is prone to because I can’t always understand the words, literally. I could rewind but that destroys the intended atmosphere and that I find is more important than the words that are said. Still I wish they would be a bit more careful and work harder at it.

In the S3 promo I only clocked he was speaking Italian when I heard ‘Dante’… . and I speak Italian. I know they were pressed for time… but the show is aiming for quality and achieving it a lot of the times, for me this is part of it. I just had to say it, because I think it is something that can be improved on pretty easily. And it is a pity for a good actor who can pull of such a strange character to loose some of the impact because we can’t quite understand what he is saying. Not least because I want to be able to make up my mind about the text of the script, not just the story line.

For a bit of light side Hannibal click here for the gag reels from S2 🙂 

I don’t know about you, but I find myself laughing with it quite a few times. I am not sure it is intended to be funny, but I somehow suspect it is. The chewing, eating, ingesting puns can’t really be meant to be taken seriously, can they?

Take the latest example which had me bursting into laughter, from the S3 promo: Bedelia :’ there is only one way you can forgive Will’, insert more images, a small pause later, Hannibal: (Wait for it……)  ‘I have to eat him!’ ROFLMAO!!! Groan.. it is so bad it is good 🙂

Or  Hannibal: I’ve hardly killed anybody during our residence! Or H again: my wife and I would love to have you for dinner 🙂 LOL… seriously… I know it is sick, but it is funny 🙂 The mind-twisting that must be going on in the team to come up with new eating-puns!

While these are meant to be funny, I think I have laughed at things that probably weren’t intended to be funny, like the bed scene mentioned above 🙂 And I have to say Hannibal does make me giggle when he wears one of those ultra- extravagant suits of his, in checks of way too many colours and with much too clashing ties. Or maybe it is just the European in me that interprets elegance as something slightly more subtle and refined and sees this more as an eccentric twist. I’d never be attracted to any of those suits! I find him much better in plain shirts or t-shirts tbh. Maybe he’ll find elegance in Florence, there is always hope 😉

Will and his clothes are a bit boring by comparison but that’s ok, plain suits him.

As for the recent S3 promos, intriguing things ahead. I like the idea of seeing Florence in grey weather as the image I have in my mind is so deeply characterised by sun. I’m looking forward to seeing the city through their eyes. It certainly will be a refreshing change from the endless prison/mental hospital images we had to put up with for more than half of S2.

I’m also very intrigued but the prominence of Dolarhyde’s hands in the promo. It is not what I would have thought of in connection to the character so I am curious to see what they came up with. I am very glad they did, those hands shout out for screen time!

click for source (the hand)

Having said that, the tattoo is not what I expected and so far not really to my liking. I guess from the point of view of the character he wanted to cover as much as possible of himself with the dragon to absorb him. I on the other hand wasn’t expecting an actual depiction of the painting but rather a graphic interpretation of it. This is a bit of copy paste, more artful of course ;-), but essentially a transfer of the image onto the body. It is so broad I initially though they were using a transparent sleeve, which would have made application easier, or even that it was as projection of the image,  but apparently they were stickers re-applied each time. I think it looks a bit odd that they cover the back as high as the armpits and also completely on the sides; after some pondering that it is what makes it look somewhat odd to me.

But tattoo aside I’m curious to see how much they develop Dolarhyde’s character and how close they will bring him to the brink of turning back before they let him fall. I am however not at all looking forward to them finishing off poor Freddie Lounds 😦 When I thought Will killed her I thought they used that idea already and was relieved we’d be spared all that horrible attack, but not so lucky I’m afraid. Honestly don’t think I will be able or will want to watch that. So far the series has excelled more in presentation of victims post event, but that changed towards the end of S2 with icky Verger and the last episode. I have a feeling there is more of this coming in S3… sigh. And that is the bit I definitely don’t want to watch; question is, will I be able to suss out which will be the episode to fast forward through…

In any case, S3 is coming to the UK on June 10th on Sky Living (ominous tone fully intended).

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31 thoughts on “Hannibalisms

  1. oh my, so sorry! it is full of spelling errors and mistakes.. but i’m too tired to go and clean it up tonight, please excuse the visual offence and i’ll edit tomorrow as soon as i can!

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  2. I’m with you about Alana. I sillier character would be hard to imagine. I don’t like Freddie Lounds, either… I think she’s lacking a soul, but at least she’s interesting and I love her wardrobe! Bedelia- so intriguing. Perfectly cast. And I have high hopes for Reba. I didn’t care for Will’s wife in the book or the Ralph Fiennes movie, so we’ll see… but I did admire Reba, even though I was nail-biting the entire time worrying what Francis would do. =) Overall, I’m looking forward to the series 3 for several reasons- I actually am fond of Hannibal, despite the fact he’s a sick and sadistic person… but like you, it’s about time he does get caught and we know that’s finally going to happen. And I do expect the season to end on a high note. Love that they seem to be ready to capitalize on RA’s amazing hands. Smart. LOL

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    • i am looking forward to seeing a lot of those hands 🙂 Ah i don’t mind Freddie, she somehow is still more sympathetic than the version in the book which is pretty repulsive! And yes she does have nice clothes! I am really torn about them killing her off and so gruesomely!
      On Reba i am sort of happy i read the book; i remember constantly fretting and being afraid he”s do something awful for her! I don’t think reading i was able to enjoy any of the interaction as i just geared the worst would happen.. and doesn’t he at least at some point ponder what she would say or how she would react if he would bite her fingers off as he is considering? ie he sort of ironically imagines in his mind how different she would be with him if she saw the real him… shudders! Maybe knowing that, if they follow the book, he doesn’t do those things to her, i will be able to relax some and enjoy some moments more… To be honest i’m afraid that my mind will just do the same as it does with Hannibal it will keep flashing every time i see him the big bold warning signs: killer! teeth, biting and all that stuff… guaranteed to ruin the mood 😉

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  3. 5000+ words on *Hannibal* – that’s a veritable essay, Hari. So much so that I had to resort to taking notes in order to formulate a response. First of all – thanks for this, spoilers and all. Actually, I am *particularly* grateful for the spoilers. It means I have a (vague) idea of what has happened in season 1+2, yet do not have to sit through the harrowing images myself. Also, your post has reinforced my decision not to watch seasons 1+2 – I simply don’t think I could.
    So, my response to your post has to be seen then as a pure theoretical reply. Essentially I do not know what I am talking about, so I’ll be rather general.
    I thought you made an excellent point in your intro when you said “it has become harder to write original characters, so to balance that out there is more innovation in formats” (paraphrased). Definitely. If you can’t shock with plotline, deeds and characters, you have to shock by pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable to show on TV. This is – still – the main gripe I have with this show (in complete ignorance of most of it). I guess I am trying to come at any kind of TV show as a cultural/educational experience, and I simply do not see where there benefit of all this “shock and gore” is. But that’s just me.
    I found it interesting that you describe the show as having no dénouement, i.e. no (even vaguely) happy ending in sight, no tying up of storylines, as is usually the case, even in multi-season shows. Again a lack of a moral lesson? Maybe that is the lesson then.
    The whole Dolarhyde/Red Dragon plot arc seems to be different to that, though – at least if we base our expectations on what we read in the book. There certainly is an end to *that* particular story, and one with a clear moral. Unless they decide to change that – they seem to be very liberal with their literary basis, anyway.
    Last point I’d like to comment on – lack/dearth of strong/positively connotated female characters. As someone who has not watched the show and who has a natural dislike of the horror genre, this is the last straw for me. The sexism of TV (and film) infuriates me, and is enough to put me off giving a show a try. I have all the sympathy in the world for the show’s creator’s own sexual orientation and understand that that has an influence on the plot and characterization. I can even understand that shows are penned for a particular audience. But I just hate how this subtly undermines RL equality and emancipation. Hankering, weak and plain silly female characters exist in RL, too, but do not get as much exposure as they do as characters on TV. Stereotypes that belong into the 19th century! Really, for a show that claims to push boundaries, it is not good enough.

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    • I think there has been enough material and clips to give you a good idea of who they are without having to watch ;-))) I know i’ve been a bit defensive of Will because he’s more than a whimp to me 😉
      I didn’t go back and questioning the glamorisation of gore and violence as i felt i made that point the last time i wrote about Hannibal. I still disagree with it as a formal version, i just decided that i had to stop rebelling against the genre, i don’t like horror, it is horror, there is never a way i will like horror, so kind of ignoring that is how i approached it. Also because i couldn’t well ride that argument again and look a hypocrite for then having watched both seasons ;-))) so my justification so far is: i like Will 😉 and wanted to re-acclimatise myself so i wouldn’t be fighting my own anger into S3 😉
      As to cultural/educational purpose.. aaah! it is one of the reasons i like working where i do ;-)))) Cause most stuff i can justify like that ;-))) But i am aware that probably most TV is nothing but pure entertainment and passing the time. Apart from the technical aspects of the show, effects, cinematography, make up and such if you asked me what can be learned out of it: nothing would be my honest answer. That human behaviour and abuse creates monsters? History teaches that much better than some horror show 😉 And morals went long out the window with this when a killer was glorified and a decent human being turned… I had to put all that or any such questioning aside as i could never justify watching it if i raised that question….
      Somehow i hope they change the ending of the book.. that was so stupid… it ended i felt sort of rounded with the fire at the house, the rest of the ending just brought it back to horror story patterns… not sure what they will do but i would not be surprised if they go that way… judging by S1 +S2 ending that is the kind of end twist they tend to go for..
      With you on the last point, the relationship between Will and Hanns is unusual, why not make the women in the show unusual and special too or at least stronger? I honestly don’t think it is misogynistic or sexist, i believe it is sort of the by-product of spending too much or most of the time on the main 2 characters and that dynamic, plus 2-3 others secondary, plus finding strange murders, plus writing that gibberish for Hannibal and Will to dialogue about in their meetings 😉 Add to that the fact that i think they have no women writers on the show ( i suspect women who write horror show scripts are hard to come by) and that the existing ones probably have insufficient personal experience of relationships with women or understanding of women feelings and psychology and the result are poorly developed characters, lack of chemistry and lame sex scenes. I think if i was them i’d try to get a women on board with the writers and maybe direct an ep or two or such, get somebody with hands on input to push the boat up a bit for our sex too 😉
      I forgot to mention there was one (Miranda from Sex and the city – ie the actress) who plays some attorney or a big shot in the police force, somebody above Jack Crawford who plays a hard as nails by the book person who gives him a hard time about not doing things right and chasing ghosts without evidence, so there is that female typecast variety as well 😉 But they need more well rounded and complex characters in there.

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      • Not really sure on the lack of women in the horror genre. At least when it comes to the consumption of horror movies, women are very well- if not over-represented. Which is surprising when contrasted with the characterization of female characters in the genre. But well, it’s all about entertainment, I guess, and sure, I can easily get lost in fluffy rom-coms or romantic dramas where damsels are in constant distress, only to be rescued by the knight in shining armour. Escapism at its finest. But yeah, it would help to have female writers. This particular show, however, is firmly in the hand of *one* writer, I suppose. Mind you, there is Loretta Ramos as the producer on-board, sure, that should have an influence? I like the idea of having a woman direct episodes – just to see if there is a difference at all.

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        • upsy, forgot to think about the audience, yes it seems there is a big female proportion 🙂 I can fully understand that in this case, it not like the 3 male leads are hard to look at ;-))) Whether that is enough to overcome other sensitivities, it seems so… I wonder if i could find 5,000 words to say about Poldark 😀 and i thoroughly enjoyed it, cried and all that, very satisfying escapisms indeed! 😉 But i guess if i have no doubts or conflicts i have less to say…
          At least Fuller’s interviews indicate the wants to flesh out Bedelia even more, same for Reba, so maybe he will prove to us he can do it…
          I feel really bad in a way criticising so much or raising all my doubts publicly, maybe i just need to accept this is the genre and leave it be 😉 I certainly would probably if i didn’t have to accept RA’s involvement in it… I don’t actually have a problem with his involvement in this, or even the character, he’s somehow a more graspable character than Hannibal.. could you imagine him playing that? I guess my fear is more far fetched, ie that he would take to genre long term and the genre to him and that this will be recurring, not in this particular series but that it will trigger an even higher proportion of baddies/killers- who die or not in offers. I don’t really want that to be the future of my viewing of him as i think he;s got so much more to give in the less extreme, but maybe even more complicated range of human emotions and experiences. To explain: somebody broken so much by abuse in childhood and rendered disfunctional/insane is unpredictable and does what the character ends up doing. Insanity, however fascinating in its lack of predictability and it’s physical and mental extreme is much less interesting to me to explore again and again than the normal human condition which involves passions, desires, social constraints, morality, etc i like to explore characters who don’t have the ‘out’ of insanity to have to accept the consequences of their choices and suffer or enjoy their result. Proctor’s up and down journey is much more interesting as there isn’t the out of madness. If he wants to do mainly non-fluff things (not that there was ever much fluff at all) i’d like to see him exploring many more human circumstances and stories than the baddie who kills and is killed.

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  4. When you were talking about being risk-averse and not enjoying the sensation of being scared, I could have written that myself–except that I don’t even like fast cars or motorcycles! And I am bothered by gore in action, though not the forensic stuff. I think that RA fans will find much to enjoy in the show because it is an opportunity for him to play a challenging role. He has to portray someone who is off the charts bizarre, without hamming it up so much that the whole thing becomes ridiculous and laughable. (Mr. H. had to do that when he played the devil in “Ghost Rider” and he went for an understated performance instead of a campy one. But opposite Nic Cage, it might have been better to just go for it and chew the scenery. I would imagine the same is true if you’re in the same show as Hannibal Lecter.) It almost seems as though the show invites people to take it ironically and accept the camp factor, because it’s the only way they can get away with turning serial killers into heroes. I am at a loss to understand the cultural obsession with serial killers. Hannibal Lecter I can understand, because the character has qualities that people admire, like very high intelligence, ruthlessness and wit. But how many Lecters can there be? And how many of these murders can people watch before they find it tedious? Or, as you say, start to feel that these killers just need to be caught and put away, period. I started watching “The Fall” but after one episode, I was horrified that apparently they were just going to go on all season letting Jamie Dornan kill people.
    Yes, Mads’ suit is over the top. But it looks very well cut! That counts for a lot 🙂 I’m curious to see Dolarhyde’s wardrobe.

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    • I’m personally still doubtful about the addition of this or the level of challenge… mainly because i think he’s done recently at least 2 very complex characters. Whether such an extreme one as a killer needed to be added… we’ll see or rather is not for me to say 😉 I personally have little interest in such baddies, i’m much more interested on other types of psychological complexity. I know my enjoyment will be limited as my mind will say one thing throughout: serial killer, gruesome biter… there is just no way i will be able to blend that out, whatever he is doing on screen (because unlike Robin Hood which was a bit of panto and not to be taken seriously this is meant to be ‘ dead’ serious, pun intended ;-))) LOL on the Ghost Rider.. i did watch that! :-)))) and yes should have laid it on thick ;-)))
      It is just a fact of life that good, talented, complex actors from round here, British or Irish are doomed to play the baddies, the worst the more in demand they are. Yes, it is because they are better trained, more flexible and credible, maybe more dedicated, certainly talented etc. But, i don’t have to like it or like the fact that then all we end up seeing is an almost endless string of baddies who kill and die… sigh!
      Yes, exposure, great directors, all that .. bladibla…
      On a personal level i’d rather see more variety of characters, i can’t lie about that. After all there are a myriad of situations life confronts us with, myriad of dilemmas, serial killers or killers really aren’t a representative segment at all.

      As to the show being camp.. i think so ;-)))) i don’t really take it seriously, but fans seem to, they dissect all details, engage in every little plot twist, i watch it almost as some dark, OTT panto. But i think the majority of its viewership takes it much more seriously than that tbh.
      Ah the Fall ;-))) well the strange point about killers and serial ones in TV is that they allow for longer story arcs ;-))) they usually are about us rooting for the detectives who puzzle them out, who struggle to find them etc. Most cases, not horror stuff, don’t give all that much detail to the killings and don’t plow us with gore. Certainly the case with the Fall, but i could watch Gillian Anderson over many many episodes trying to find him, slowing finding him out, tormenting herself, showing us the impact of her work on her life, the contrast etc, it is much more about that than the killer and his deeds 😉 I did watch both seasons and can’t wait for S3 🙂 There is virtually no gore in that one though. There is however quite a bit of tension 😉

      Dolly’s clothes… boring i’m afraid he’s a sort of blend in the background, all clean and pressed type. I suspect he’ll be a more boring and plain version of Will in terms of clothes and all starched up. I suspect mostly monochrome, pressed, very clean and orderly look. Not very exciting…. in principle. but plain and dark happens to suit that certain someone 😉 Reminder to self: he’s an awful bloody serial killer! 😉
      And yes Mad’s clothes are very well cut! they look good on him, i just like the plain versions better ;-)))

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      • Well, maybe I will have to give “The Fall” another chance since I hear nothing but good about it. I did like Gillian Anderson’s character (and marveled at how good she looks, still). BUT not till I finish “Wolf Hall” which I just started. I’m loving Mark Rylance in it. He’s every bit as magnetic and amazing on screen as he is onstage.
        I have to agree, the serial killer thing is simply not original or exciting any more in and of itself. In fact it has been done to death (no pun intended). So it will be a challenge to make it new. But, better than not seeing him. I’d rather see mine as a villain than not. BTW tickets for Hamlet are going to be in a lottery, have you seen? I signed up, but without much hope.
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/theatre-news/11022739/Hamlet-tickets-how-to-get-them.html

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        • LOL i just sent you a link to the site where t subscribe on your blog 😉 not much hope but better than nothing.
          Ah, Wolf Hall! curious to hear what you will think of it, it may be a bit slow at times or feel like it but it builds up. Rylance is strikingly good but the others grew on me too, Foy especially.
          You are so right about better villain than nothing. I do need the reminder and also to remind myself that i am way to biased based on where i started which is the Crucible. I probably subconsciously compare what that gave me to everything that follows and want more 😉 I tend to do that… dissatisfaction with all local cake comes to mind since it is not like what we made at home or like the ones in Wien :-p (from RA to cake and back, how the mind does wonder! and what priorities i have LOL).

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        • From what I have heard, it is pretty hard to beat an Austrian cake. Here in the US it’s mostly not worth eating pastries, they are so bad. Homemade is about as good as one can do, but it’s different from a professional chef’s cake.
          Yes, LOL–you absolutely started at the top, with “Crucible.” The Sachertorte of RA performances 🙂

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    • ” I am at a loss to understand the cultural obsession with serial killers” At last, someone who shares exactly who I feel about all this. I was beginning to think I had lost the plot myself. Thank you for your honesty and courage to say exactly how you feel, even if it means going against the majority, or “seeming” majority

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      • well i don’t think we all need to act or think the same, i don’t think anyone can really like everything an actor will be in especially if he thrives for variety, some stuff will be closer to what we are interested it and some will not 🙂 This is simply never going to be a genre i watch, outside H i suspect i’ll never watch anything else of the sort again as i don’t enjoy it much. I enjoy crime drama but not horror. I am sure many people feel uncomfortable with it, so you are definitely not alone 🙂 And i suspect many of us will feel uncomfortable with watching him portray a serial killer, i know i am uncomfortable with the idea myself. At the same time, the fact that i am not into the genre so much helps me keep a safe distance from it and not take it all too seriously 😉 After all it is entertainment of a certain sort, it is not the end all of artistic expression ;-). In comparison i am beyond excited about the possibility of hopefully seeing Urban! 🙂 now that is something that can inspire me 🙂 As to majority, it only matters in voting 😉 In enjoyment of art we are each our own universe of emotions and expression, there is no need to cast votes, choose or crown a winner 🙂

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  5. Thanks for making the point about the inadequacy of Mikkelsen’s diction to this role. I’ve been thinking this since the first minute I saw him in it, but I didn’t want to say it on my blog because the Fannibals have been nice and I feel too visible to risk making that kind of statement and starting an unhappy drama. I know that Danish is sort of consonant averse in its pronunciation, but if you’re going to give a character such ridiculously ornate texts to speak, then the actor had better speak them precisely and this is something that can be trained. It started to make me wince about episode 4, and it kills any potential believability the actor had a hope of creating with me.

    I’ve been beating the drum about the inherent misogynism of the genre and the show so I’ll just nod my head in agreement there.

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    • I don’t feel guilty about pointing out the diction problem. I’d never moan or point it out privately to anyone in RL but we’re talking about an actor here and it is part of the basic tools of the trade. It’s not an optional in my view and there are many techniques how it can be improved. It surprised me as i didn’t remember it being as bad in S1, but maybe the texts were less complicated ;-))) They need to help him do better. And please stop doing foreign languages… i really really can’t stand when they do that in movies, what do they assume, nobody will understand how bad it really is??? I just can’t excuse it, i always feel they think i am stupid or something not to notice… For me it always spells : unprofessional.

      Probably the genre is misogynistic…. but then again stuff like Poldark is also meant for a certain type of audience 😉 I have a problem with the way they portray women but i think i have an even bigger, much bigger problem with the way they portray violence, making it seemingly acceptable… sigh. I think in this particular case potentially the misogynistic aspect is a by-product; i’m not sure they set out to show women as essentially weak. I think it is more the end-product of lack of time and too much focus on the 1 main relationship (writing those gibberish dialogues must take a loooot of effort and time), then what is left on 2,3 secondary ones, coming up with new crimes, coming up with new depictions of crime and add to that i think the lack of women writers on the show or any kind of hands on input from a women’s brain and heart, potential lack of experience with relationship with females and it just becomes a very end of the list thing resulting in only sketchy characters, very stereotypical and not reflective of modern women in RL.

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      • Bearing in mind that I have not seen the show, can I just ask here re. the lack of addressing Mikkelsen’s diction problems whether that can be explained by Hannibal’s origin in Lithuania (?)?? Is it possible they do not mind the interference of an accent because of that? Or are the diction problems not connected to the actor’s native accent?

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        • aaaah, i forgot that aspect completely! that would make sense. Still i think they should make a distinction between accent and diction, i honestly have trouble understanding 😦 Hm it may be a combination of his native accent as well as diction. I don’t mind accents, they spice things up (except when they are fake and sound it too ;-))), my issue is with clarity of forming the words so that they become audible, ie a speech issue. Not being a native speaker of English contributes but i think it is a bit more than that sometimes. I don’t want to sound too harsh as i know techniques to improve diction (which are different to those specific to a language’s specific pronunciation) take a long long time to practice and are probably a long term thing. I think it stands out more for me in comparison to Dancy who sometimes barely moves his lips and speaks generally in lower volume (he’s got a much softer voice naturally than Mads) but whose every whisper is crystal clear. He articulates really really well while Mads is at the other extreme. I personally feel Mads is a compelling and charismatic actor, i like him 😉 but the voice and the words are so important. And i never ever had a problem with anyone’s diction hereabouts and not all actors are English, in fact the Antigone i saw with Binoche was mostly foreign, full of Danes actually and although slightly accented their English was very clear. Another brilliant example is Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (GoT), i was actually surprised finding out he was Danish. Which is why i am inclined to think this is not a language issue at all but a speech issue.

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  6. Endlich hatte ich Zeit Deinen Wahnsinnspost zu lesen – herzlichen Dank für die Einführung in die ersten beiden Staffeln ! Da ich die Season 1+2 nicht gesehen habe und auch nicht sehen werde, darin hat Dein Post mich wiederum bestärkt, bin ich jetzt bestens vorbereitet, denn das Buch habe ich wenigstens gelesen; Dolly kann jetzt kommen (bitte nicht zu mir nach Hause!), den Gesamtzusammenhang werde ich verstehen…..
    Ich stimme Dir bei fast allem zu, Krimis,Thriller, spannende Unterhaltung – ja gerne!!! ich schaue auch gerne Blacklist und es gibt so wunderbare britische Krimiserien 🙂 aber wenn die Spannung mit der Abschlachtung und Kannibalismus erzielt werden muss ist das schade für den verschenkten Plot 😦
    Wir dürfen somit gespannt sein auf den Dolly-Teil, den werde ich versuchen irgendwo zu sehen und bin gespannt, ob sich das auf mein Fangirlen auswirkt. Na ja schlimmer als die selfies kann es ja nicht mehr werden :-))))

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  7. My heart leapt on reading this blog post and all your comments. I have had such a wave of wrath, anger, vile, and vicious attack from Fannibals after expressing my dislike for the genre and my apprehension about Richard’s involvement in this series. To be honest, very few Fannibals have been gracious enough to engage in any kind of civil, fair and open debate about the reasons why someone may not like Hannibal, which has in itself put me off completely. Most of the Fannibals I have engaged with have been incredibly aggressive, intimidating and tyrannical which leaves me wondering whether this is a by-product of being exposed to on a regular basis and attracted to this kind of genre/violent program in the first place.

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    • i guess it is probably a by-product of liking something very very much and being hurt by any different opinion 🙂 I know i’ve felt this way before when i’ve read bad reviews of my favourite singer and such, i too wanted to throw rotten tomatoes at the critic (tho i didn’t 😉 ) My gran used to have many funny sayings and about stuff like that she said: dogs bark the caravan moves on! It is just a TV series, another one will come along just around the corner. I fully understand liking something very much but again, i wouldn’t take it too seriously. I think what prompted me to comment was the critical acclaim of the series. Since i work in media i was trying to understand where the actual innovation came from in the show. Even if i don’t like the genre i can recognise that. But it does become a pointless argument, it is like marmite, some people will like horror and many others won’t. The viewing numbers will always show that horror is not a mainstream genre. I have all those objections i mentioned, particularly about the violence and showing a glamour side of it. Especially if it is not balanced by also showing more emotional depth etc. But one could argue the show is aimed at 18+ audience i think (at least here in the UK tho i am not 100% ) and at that age one assumes adults are able to distinguish between on screen stories and real life. I think, genre aside, some aspects of the show are controversial and are worth debating. But i have the privilege of living in a corner of blogger world where hardly anyone stumbles upon me 😉
      But i realise we’ll never be able to persuade people who love the show very much that there are things that can be wrong with it. And we, if we don’t like the genre, will never be able to like the show very much.
      Bottom line, horror is niche and that’s just the way it is, nothing wrong with liking it and nothing wrong with not liking it. As said, just a TV show at the end of the day with limited ratings because of the genre : http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2015/06/12/tv-ratings-thursday-nba-finals-huge-hannibal-hits-low-wayward-pines-up-bones-finale-beauty-and-the-beast-premiere-flat/416375/
      4 million viewers is ok, but for a market as big as the US not really all that spectacular. Even in the UK it wouldn’t be spectacular, just good, enough to get renewed for another season yes but that’s about it, especially since it is on a channel available to everyone. NBC is network, not cable so i assume almost anyone in the US can see it. Among all the people i know around here nobody has watched it. So don’t take the reactions too much to heart 🙂

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      • 4M viewers in the US usually means “ripe for cancellation.” Apparently there’s been no boost from Armitage fans so far, lol. But I don’t think I know any fans who are watching it (yet).

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        • yes i had a giggle at the number (sorry feeling mischievous is maybe a tension release mechanism 😉 ) Well, you know me but to be honest i’ve got it recorded on my box but somehow have been to busy.. erm (good excuse and i am sticking with it!). to watch ep 1 S3 yet. I will get to it this weekend but not feeling particularly curious other than the look of Florence. Might report back, if it is interesting enough (doubtful). I looked at audience figures for ep 2 though and it has taken a deep nose dive, viewers don’t seem to like the new approach apparently.

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        • Aquarius (the program broadcast in the previous hour) was supposed to the power lead-in, and from what I’ve read it, it is also a disappointment. I don’t feel Schadenfreude per se re the show (even mischievously) because it’s hard for me to care even that much, but I am amused by certain reactions of fans I read to the fact that the show is not doing well.

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        • i’m going to be honest and say i don’t care enough to read what fans think of it or to read further reviews, for me i’ve made my mind up about it.Just priorities, i like other stuff so much more so spend time with that, for me it is just not worth me fussing over it any more. Will skim through it and watch his bits if i can bare them, if it disturbs me to see him do that role i’ll drop it very quickly as i don’t want it overshadowing his other work or what it means to me. Fans will always react strongly about anything negative about the thing they love 😉

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        • well, part of why I do this is fandom engagement, so I’m going to keep reading fan reactions even if I don’t end up watching the whole show …

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        • ah our fan reactions.. i thought you meant the show’s fans, i realise they overlap, i meant mostly the fans of the show who have been watching it for 2 seasons. I admit i cannot help being curious as to how Rich’s fan’s will react to seeing him in that role. No idea if i’m in the minority of dreading associating him in my mind with the image of a serial killer, but either way nobody can change that anxiety.

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    • uspsy.. those are more or less the numbers i figured. It seems the new plot idea didn’t quite work for the audience and people want to see the interaction between H and Will more than anything else. I do hope Rich’s fans will give the ratings a boost because i really want more people to see his work, fingers crossed. It’s not good for anyone to be in a show with falling ratings :-S

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