HANNIBAL (2013-2015)

(Hulu/VOD) LAST MINUTE STREAMING alert! Apparently HANNIBAL leaves Netflix on June 5th and, while it’s also currently available via Hulu, it’s questionable whether they’ll stay there. Who knows, maybe it’ll become a peacock exclusive.

Either way, you have less than a month to watch all three seasons of this gloriously elegant, monstrous adaptation of Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter novels.

It seems like Netflix has made the show far more popular than it was when I was one of five people watching the show weekly, so this recommendation may not be necessary but I’ll go ahead and give a description anyways: Bryan Fuller, best known for darkly comic works like PUSHING DAISIES (2007-2009, ABC) had long been infatuated with Harris’ novels about serial killers and the detectives that pursue them, and he convinced NBC to allow him to turn it into a very queer giallo TV series.

The end result was an adroitly pictured, psychosexual cat-and-mouse game between criminal profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Hannibal Lecter (perfectly portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen), and it featured some of the most vivid, most memorable and horribly beautiful imagery ever to be approved by NBC standards-and-practices. With each season Fuller, along with director David Slade (30 DAYS OF NIGHT, HARD CANDY), ramped up the visuals and minimized the dialogue until the last season consisted mostly of a visually sumptuous mélange of abstracted blood and gore.

While the show improves with each season, my favorite moments are from the first season. To prevent giving anything away, I’ll simply allude to them: 1) the cello and 2) a hand-drawn clock. Upon seeing those moments, I knew this show was something special.

Sadly, rights and ratings kept Fuller from fully realizing his dream — no Clarice, no proper serialized SILENCE OF THE LAMBS — but the three seasons we have are some of the most audacious network TV yet.