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Blu-ray Review: Hannibal: Season One

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hannibal season oneI always said that just because Halloween is over, doesn’t mean that horror time is over. We’ve got several months of long, dark nights ahead–that just got longer thanks to the recent switch to daylight savings time–and one of the properties looking to put a punch in your long, dark nights is “Hannibal: Season One,” a copy of which our friends at Lionsgate sent out for review.

“Hannibal: Season One” made something of a splash when it first got started, and with good reason: it brings back the cannibal genius madman widely known as Dr. Hannibal Lecter. In this case, though, Lecter won’t be the bad guy–at least, after a fashion. Lecter will be instead helping FBI agent Will Graham track down a completely different cannibal. Graham has something of a gift for the work, able to put himself in the killer’s shoes with a distressingly high level of accuracy. That’s going to prove valuable on several different fronts, and the newly-minted duo will have a lot of work on their hands.

There are also a lot of profoundly trippy visuals going on here, from the wipe effect used to denote Graham’s gift in action to some of the “this is what the victim experienced.” Though admittedly, it’s tough to follow Dr. Lecter’s new accent, but that early confusion is worth trying to get around, because the end result is actually pretty sound. Lecter’s sinister nature shows through pretty nicely here, his genial, almost courtly outward appearance masking person-eating insanity.

Better yet, we’ve got shades of the larger series at work here, particularly Lecter’s connection to the FBI, which apparently was going on well before Clarice Starling ever showed up. I’m not terribly familiar with the “Red Dragon” series, both movies and novels, so getting this kind of perspective is more than a little interesting. Purists and buffs may find some issues, contextually speaking, but it should still be plenty worthwhile to watch. Assuming, of course, you haven’t already been watching.

Special features here include your choice of audio options to better reflect your home theater hardware, your choice of English or Spanish subtitles, an audio commentary track, a set of storyboards for the pilot episode, a gag reel, a set of deleted scenes, a variety of featurettes including one on the music used in the series and one on the special effects, as well as one on remaking the Hannibal Lecter concept, trailers for “Mad Men: Season 5″, “Nurse Jackie: Season 4,” and a selection of Lionsgate television properties in kind of a smaller preview reel as well as a preview for Epix.

“Hannibal: Season One” offers some terribly impressive images, some very exciting potential, and a lot of room to grow, all of which are hallmarks of great potential to come. It’s potential, of course, but given that there was a second season set for release in 2014, it’s a safe bet that this potential is realized. Either way, though, this will prove a pretty exciting start, and ultimately, a great potential conclusion as well.

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