Hannibal

Common Sense Media says

Graphic Hannibal Lecter retread is compelling and dark.

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There is a dark, tense atmosphere throughout, with the sense that the world is a dangerous place full of creepy, evil people. But the main thrust of the show is fighting crime, even while one of the main characters commits crimes himself. The camera tends to linger on graphic and gory images, particularly when nubile young women are in danger.

Positive role models

Most of the main characters are on the side of law and order, and the team of investigators spotlighted on the show boasts some ethnic diversity. Violent, murderous Dr. Lecter is glamorized a bit, but the show's main characters, Will Graham and Jack Crawford, are upright and law-abiding.

Violence

Very graphic, disturbing images. A body is dissected on a table, we hear that the lungs were removed, then cut to Dr. Lecter slicing a spongy set of lungs on his counter. We see people, particularly young women, shot, stabbed, strangled, impaled; there are many shots of dead people in pools of blood.

Sex

Naked bodies are visible, bloody and impaled; there is discussion of body fluids as they relate to crimes.

Language

Not much cursing but there is graphic language about violence and injuries. There is also some potentially offensive classist language used. Victims are referred to as being very "Mall of America."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Dr. Lecter frequently drinks what looks to be wine or alcohol with his meals.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Hannibal is an intense hour-long crime drama that focuses on a serial killer and the FBI agents attempting to capture him. Viewers see many, many disturbing images, including dead bodies, women and men being shot, stabbed, strangled, and impaled, pools of blood, victims being impaled by deer antlers, and so on. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelson) is a killer and a cannibal, we see presumably human body parts being cut up and cooked, then eaten and enjoyed. Viewers may also see naked bodies, characters being stalked, and many murders through the eyes of killers. There is a dark, tense atmosphere throughout, and many graphic discussions of violence and murders. This intense show is not intended for children; parents should think carefully before letting even mature teens watch.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In NBC's hour-long drama HANNIBAL, Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) is a professor and FBI criminal profiler who is drawn into a professional association with a man who is secretly a monster: Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen), a forensic psychologist who kills people and eats their body parts when he's on his own time. Special Agent Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne), head of behavioral sciences at the FBI, recruited both Graham and Lecter to work with him on his nastiest cases. He knew Graham, who skews both Aspergers-y and anti-social, was a rather strange guy. But what Crawford didn't know about Lecter could put them all in mortal danger.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

By now, the details of Hannibal Lecter's story are familiar to most people, so Hannibal doesn't have freshness on its side. But showrunners did change one crucial detail, turning Graham from just another hardworking cop into an oddball with what Lecter diagnoses as "true empathy" thanks to his autistic tendencies. He understands the crimes he investigates because he can see things from the killers' point of view. And so does the audience, riding along with Graham as he "becomes" the killer and envisions how murders happened.

Dancy is terrific as the shifty-eyed Graham, Fishburne has his customary gravitas in what's most definitely a third banana part, and wonder of wonders, creepy Mads Mikkelsen, best known stateside as a Bond villain, is so good as Lecter he may make you forget Anthony Hopkins' indelible cinematic Dr. Lecter long enough to enjoy Hannibal-the-show. This is strong stuff, not for kids, but very mature teens and adults may enjoy the gore, darkness, tension, and mystery.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the source material for this show. Have you seen other movies involving the same set of characters, such as The Silence of the Lambs or Hannibal (the movie)? How is this show alike or different? Does the fact that it's on television change what's said or shown?

  • How are the viewers supposed to feel about Dr. Lecter? Listen to see what musical cues are used when he is shown onscreen, notice what camera angles are used. Did your answer change?

  • Why do so many shows on television focus on crime and murder? What does that say about what people want to watch? Why do they want to watch stories in which people are harmed?

TV details

Cast:Hugh Dancy, Laurence Fishburne, Mads Mikkelsen
Network:NBC
Genre:Drama
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of Hannibal was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old Written bytyler thorn April 11, 2013
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

dont even watch it

not at all apropriate for children

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byTheSoularcher May 26, 2013
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Gripping, but Violent

Hannibal was recommended to me in various occasions through the internet, and after finishing my last series, I decided to give it a try. I'm not up to date yet, but this is what I have to say so far:

It's really good. The plotline is extremely interesting, and it's hard to get bored watching this. Also, the show itself has amazing cinematography, and the characters are well-thought and three-dimensional.

But there's a reason I haven't recommended it so much until now: it's graphic. It's probably the most violent thing I've ever watched. But I'm mature for my age, and I'm not easily freaked out by these sort of things. Still, I'd leave it up to the teen to judge if they feel comfortable watching it. If after the ending of the first episode they're up to it, then it's okay. But don't have anybody younger than fourteen or thirteen watch it.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Teen, 16 years old Written byRussianSn1per June 1, 2013
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

A Masterpiece!

Hannibal is one of the best shows on television. The cast is amazing and every scene is beautifully shot and a work of art. This show is an incredible new take on the classic story of Hannibal lecter. However, due to the nature of this story, it is very bloody and not for squeamish viewers. The subject matter may also be very disturbing to some viewers. However, don't let this stop you from enjoying this masterpiece.
Additionally there is one review giving this show a 1 star rating and a review saying "don't even watch it". This is the kind of stupidity I hate to see on this website because it turns people away from amazing shows like this for the simple reason that they object to something depicted in the program. If you can't handle the show then don't watch it.

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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