Hannibal: Season One
(Blu Ray Review)
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Cast: Hugh Dancy, Mad Mikkelsen, Laurence Fishburne, Caroline Dhavernas, Hettienne Park, Kacey Rohl
Developed By: Bryan Fuller
Studio: Dino de Laurentiis Company, Living Dead Guy Productions, AXN Original Productions, Gaumont International Television
Distributor: NBC, Sony Pictures Television
Genre(s): Crime, Thriller
Based On: Red Dragon by Thomas Harris
Extra Feature Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Spoilers: Some minor spoilers, one moderate spoiler Coquilles (1×05) in the section on producer’s cut episodes, one major spoiler for Savoureux (1×13) related to the deleted scene
Amazon | IMDB | Wikipedia
Between the premier of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD and the arrival of my long awaited blu ray copy of Hannibal: Season One I basically managed to get absolutely nothing done on September 24th. How could I when this was waiting for me in the mail when I got home? Pretty much from the moment I walked in the house to the moment Agents of SHIELD started I was glued to my television with these blu rays shoved one after another right into my PS3 so I could enjoy every extended producers cute episode and every moment of special features. And then after Agents of SHIELD was over the viewing party continued.
It’s should come as no surprise that I absolutely love Hannibal. It’s a fantastic series and I’ve been covering it for Nerdophiles since it was first announced. I was one of the first people to see the show during an early screening of the first two episodes at WonderCon last year and the Hannibal panel was the only actual panel I really lined up to see at San Diego Comic Con this summer. Seeing Bryan Fuller in a flower crown and getting the replica Wound Man drawing were totally worth it, by the way. After hearing my friend talk about how great her experience at the Richard Madden Geek HQ event was I sort of wish I had finagled my way into the Hannibal one, too.
I can go on and on about how well made the series is and how fantastic they told the story of Will Graham’s decent into madness as Hannibal slowly manipulated him and everyone else. But I’m sure you hear that all the time from the other Fannibals in your lives. There are a million and one things I could say but I’ll spare you for now because I’ve recapped and reviewed the series pretty extensively episode by episode.
So, with that in mind, for this review I’m going to focus on the particular benefits of the Season One release itself.
The Disc Design
The first thing you notice when you open up the case is the discs themselves. There is a lot of very solid, very meaningful imagery in the Hannibal series and nothing is more important than the on-going stag allusions that carry on throughout the entire series, evolving from Garrett Jacob Hobbs’s antler room to the Raven-Feathered Stag to the penultimate Wendigo. When designing the artwork for the dics it is clear that they wanted to start from the beginning. All three discs bear blood-covered antlers back in the antler room of Hobbs’s cabin – the last one slightly distinguished by an evidence tag hanging from one set of antlers. It’s simple and it’s effective; a great nod to the series and what’s to come.
Producers Cut Episodes
Bryan Fuller has said several times that they were forced to cut a few scenes for primetime audiences. He has also said that they filled the bloodier, gorier scenes anyway and that they would be included in the final DVD and blu ray releases. True to his word, there are five “producers cut” episodes in the season one collection. I’m sure not all of the scenes that had to be cut were included but there are certainly a few moments when it becomes very obvious that you’ve suddenly found your way into a part of the episode you hadn’t seen before. For example, remember when we saw the Angel Maker’s balls? No? Yeah. We didn’t. Oh, but you better believe that Zeller has them there for you to see in all their glory.
The “producers cut” episodes include: Coquilles, Entrée, Fromage, Buffet Froid, and Relevés.
The “Never Before Seen On TV” Ceuf
Okay, so that’s sort of a misnomer. The set says it’s never been seen before on television but I hope they change that for international releases of the show because it did air in overseas markets. The United States was the only place where it didn’t air as intended. Released via iTunes and Amazon, it’s a great episode and I still do not understand why they decided not to air it. I think it might have hurt the show’s original run and considering the fact that there was a drop of over one million viewers between Potage and Coquilles? I don’t know. But at least you get to see it now if you haven’t tracked it down through other means yet!
Commentaries and Featurettes
The special little featurettes in the Season One release were really great. I thought they offered a lot of insight into how the show was made, the artistic design choices, the direction, and more.
Actually, the first thing I did when I got my blu ray set was watch through Aperitif with the commentary with Bryan Fuller, Hugh Dancy, and David Slade. I loved listening to them talk about things and they were actually pretty funny guys. Throughout they show just how invested they are in the show and just how much they have planned should the show survive to see subsequent seasons. For example, they point out all the little connections they intentionally made to Red Dragon and some of the little hints even I missed the first few times I saw the episode!
My favorite featurette, though, was definitely the one about food. For one, it was really a lot of fun to watch and, two, the chef they have on staff is just hilarious. He was so into it. He volunteered to help with the show before Bryan Fuller even asked and he just went on and on about how you can eat any part of a person and how people sometimes were like, “Dude, this is kind of whack.” To which his response is like, “Nah, man. Think about it. When you cut your finger you put it to your mouth. It’s natural!” Okay, so, I’m paraphrasing. But it’s really a lot of fun to watch and see. The other featurettes are well worth the watch, too, though if you’re only going to watch one it should definitely be the one on food.
Absolutely priceless. Don’t believe me? Just check out the clip below. They premiered some of this at SDCC this year and it was fantastic. Everyone was pretty much dying. “Motive! Good team work everyone!”
Will and Alana’s Deleted Scene
Okay, so, I’ve been waiting for this scene ever since they leaked the pictures of it. Poor Will. Poor Alana. Poor dogs. Set between Will Graham’s escape from custody and his return to seek help from Hannibal, the scene is only slightly alluded to when Hannibal comments that Will had scared Alana. It’s pretty much as heartbreaking as I expected it would be and, honestly, I’m just glad that Will got to see his dogs again. But, man. I really wish they had left that scene in for broadcast. I know it doesn’t really add much but still. The #feels.
Basically, I love this show and I’m probably super biased but I can tell you right now that if you didn’t watch it you need to go now and pick up this blu ray set – or the DVD counterpart. You really have no idea what you’re missing and right now the series is extremely affordable. The blu ray set is just $21.99 online at Amazon.com and Target is offering the same deal in-stores this week!