Bryan Fuller's Beautiful Dark, Twisted Fantasy

The dark and decadent dinner party that is Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal (Season Premiere 10 p.m. Friday, NBC) returns this week, continuing its grotesquely beautiful take on the story of Dr. Lecter, his companions and victims.

Feb 26, 2014 at 10:40 am

The dark and decadent dinner party that is Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal (Season Premiere 10 p.m. Friday, NBC) returns this week, continuing its grotesquely beautiful take on the story of Dr. Lecter, his companions and victims.

Hannibal Lecter has long been an intriguing character across literature, film and television. Most are familiar with him as the evil center of the film The Silence of the Lambs, but Fuller’s retelling is loosely based on the book (and 2002 film) Red Dragon, featuring a pre-prison Hannibal who is still practicing psychiatry/cannibalistic murder.

Actor Mads Mikkelsen presents a Hannibal that is cultured and engaging, almost sexy. He’s a culinary artist and, even though we in the audience know he’s making dishes out of body parts, Hannibal is so hypnotically charming, we can’t help but dig in.

Hugh Dancy’s Will Graham is equally captivating. The afflicted, mad-genius FBI profiler has the ability to empathize so deeply that he can literally put himself in other people’s shoes — making him a secret weapon in the hunt for criminals. But Will’s tool is a double-edged sword; the gift that makes him a visionary comes with the debilitating side effects of memory loss and night-walking, all of which lead to him to be framed for the murders Hannibal committed last season.

The show’s imagery is almost a character in itself: rich, lavish, creepy yet beguiling (much like Hannibal). From the calculated, artistic murder scenes to Will’s visceral dreams, Hannibal is a feast for the eyes.

The second season opens with Will in prison and Hannibal being enlisted to assist Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne), head of the FBI’s behavioral science unit, with continuing peculiar murder cases. The tables have not only turned — it’s a completely new dinner party. In fact, as last year’s episodes were named after various French dinner courses, Season Two takes on Japanese cuisine, beginning with “Kaiseki.”


Modern Family (9 p.m., ABC) – Phil’s long-lasting feud with Gil Thorpe (Rob Riggle) heats up as Luke is paired up against Gil’s son for a wrestling match. 

Broad City (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central) -– A Facebook friend request inspires the girls to ask out every guy they know.

Ali G: Rezurection (Series Premiere, 10:30 p.m., FXX) – While we don’t get new episodes of Da Ali G Show — it would be tough for Sacha Baron Cohen to pull off another mockumentary now that he’s an internationally recognized star — SBC has shot new intros as Ali G for this “Rezurection” of the popular series he launched 14 years ago.


Parks and Recreation (8:30 p.m., NBC) -– Ben and Leslie celebrate their anniversary; April takes over as Donna’s boss.

Parenthood (10 p.m., NBC) – Julia turns to her sibs for support during her separation; Jasmine and Crosby temporarily move in with Zeke and Camille; Drew asks Amber to love advice; family.

Portlandia (Season Premiere, 10 p.m., IFC) – New season, new night! Tune in for the return of Kath and Dave, Doug and Claire, Kumail Nanjiani and more hilarious commentary on Portland culture we can all relate to.


Film Independent Spirit Awards (10 p.m., IFC) – This weekend is all about the Oscars, but if you’re a big indie film fan (or just would rather watch a less predictable awards show with more whiskey-induced antics), Saturday night is the better night to watch. These are the movie awards from the other side of the tracks. Patton Oswalt hosts.

Saturday Night Live (11:30 p.m., NBC) – Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons hosts with musical guest Beck. With Seth Meyers settling in to Late Night, SNL head writer Colin Jost will debut as Weekend Update co-anchor with Cecily Strong.


The Academy Awards (8:30 p.m., ABC) – Ellen DeGeneres hosts the 86th Oscars. Top nominees include American Hustle, Gravity (10 nods each) and 12 Years a Slave (nine nominations).

The Walking Dead (9 p.m., AMC) – After the introduction of several new characters, we get an episode dedicated to Daryl and Beth.

True Detective (9 p.m., HBO) – Storylines converge as Marty and Rust reconnect in 2012, a decade after their violent parting of ways. The duo calls a truce and looks into the missing people they believe are tied to the Tuttles and Dora Lange.

Girls (10 p.m., HBO) – Hannah visits her dying grandmother, where she’s met with a surprising proposal and judgment from her med-student cousin.

CONTACT JAC KERN: [email protected] or @jackern