This was one of the few shows that managed to portray violence/severe mental illness realistically. People often pass it off immediately, saying that the extreme violence is shown for shock value and ratings, but it's simply not accurate. This is one of the few shockingly violent shows that does NOT glamorize or portray violence as an insignificant thing.
Too often, you will see a movie where the antihero walks through a building, shooting everyone, massacring the entire crowd, without any emotional repercussion. Though Hannibal is much, much more graphically violent, it also takes whole episodes discussing the emotional impact of even WITNESSING violence, much less committing a violent crime yourself. To anyone who says this show glamorizes violence...You either don't watch the show, or you're a moron and have completely missed the point.
The creator, Brian Fuller, also refuses to use rape and sexual assault to shock the viewers. Respect on that. I'm looking at you, GAME OF THRONES.
This TV show explores the incredibly dark and difficult to define philosophical questions of morality, mental illness, brutality, loneliness, and depravity of the human spirit. Don't expect this to be a fun, brutal romp. Every scene of violence is hard to watch and uncomfortably beautiful, and is not made to entertain. It is presented to bring up why people kill, not for entertainment and shock value.
Expect a solid 30 minutes of deep, intellectual conversation between the characters and mental analyses of murders. If you're watching it for violence, you'll hate this show. But if you want a refreshing take on how violence truly corrupts the soul, this is the show for you.
It is beautiful, interesting, and macabre. But don't expect to be entertained. Expect to think. If you like provocative, intelligent TV like me this could easily become your new favorite.