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Hannibal – Season 2 (Blu-ray Review)

Hannibal-Season 2Friday nights are not the most popular time you think of when it comes to “must see” television.  When a show moves to the end of the week its know as getting put in a “Friday Death Slot” where its assumed the next step for the show is cancellation.  However, few shows can do well and survive healthily on Friday nights.  There’s lower expectation there, and the ability to impress and look good for advertisers comes with doing more in a lesser night.  Hannibal was kept alive after season 1 but relegated to Friday, but it was a hopeful move to Friday because it seemed it was moved there not as being on its last leg, but because the thought was that it might flourish there.  It did a little better, but the show’s artistic merit, its following and ability to do well after it has aired (DVR, streaming, DVD/Blu-ray sales) have proven that its very worth keeping around for NBC.  Plus, I think the folks at NBC are just as big of fans as we are, wanting to see this thing come to full fruition.

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Season 

Starting with an eye opening fight scene between Jack Crawford and Hannibal Lecter that will happen later in the season, we then pick up where last season left us.  Will Graham is behind bars, believed to be a copycat of the Chesapeake Ripper and everyone else is trying to move on past that and the death of the young Abigail Hobbs.  Then, the murders start happening.  People begin forming alliances with one another to get to the bottom of everything or just move on from it. Will Graham’s crime scene ability lends him to a few cases and helps his persistence that Hannibal Lecter is the Chesapeake Ripper and not himself.

The second season of network television’s best show, and one of all TV’s best, continues to push the envelope of graphic violence and gore on television.  Hannibal makes The Walking Dead, a very graphic show in its own right, look like Double Dare by comparison.  Hannibal‘s murders are both disturbing and disgusting, yet at the same time a twisted kind of beautiful and incredibly thought out gothic works of art.  Victims remains are brutalized, but its weird to say this, but, its done in “good taste” and is very helpful in the craft and storytelling this show has to offer.  Aside from the violence and gore, one episode of Hannibal opens itself to now pushing the limits of sexuality on network television.  There is stuff here on Hannibal that cable channels aren’t even getting away with.

Thomas Harris’ world continues to open up and be explored.  We’re not to Red Dragon yet, but that doesn’t stop Bryan Fuller and company from playing with the lore and doing things their own way in the most respectful manner possible.  We have deaths of characters that are in both Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs, we have events such as the flaming body in the wheel chair at the parking garage already take place.  Its both a joy for fans of the books and movies to see, and also keeps us on our toes and the show unpredictable as well.  This season also introduced characters and events from the third book, Hannibal, to the fold.  We were introduced to the Verger siblings this season.  It only makes sense because in order for Mason Verger to be where he’s at in Hannibal, these things had to take place before Red Dragon.  Next season they are promising to incorporate some characters and elements from Red Dragon and Hannibal Rising as well.  If there’s one person to get me excited about anything regarding Hannibal Rising, its Bryan Fuller.

Each week, Hannibal astounds me with its luscious display of well thought out shots, sets, costuming and prosthetic gore effects.  Every frame of Hannibal looks incredibly well thought out, carefully plotted, planned and executed.  Almost every episode has a ton of moments where I could just pause and marvel at a shot.  The patterns, the color schemes, the way the furniture or art is arranged.  Its incredible.  Bryan Fuller says every episode is a movie to him, and wants the directors of the show to treat it as such.  Hannibal is a beautiful symphony of terror and horror that comes across as incredibly pitch perfect and transcends it from just entertainment and TV to absolute perfection in the world of art.  There’s no show even close currently running on television that wows in this fashion.  Its truly a program that is one of a kind.

This is the paragraph where I may become blasphemous to some (if not many).  With this second season, I believe Mads Mikkelsen has surpassed the great Anthony Hopkins as the best depicted and performed version of Hannibal Lecter to date.  I was sort of “feeling” that during season 1 and then finally jumped over the fence for him in season 2.  Incredibly huge shoes to fill, Mikkelsen has decided to put on his own pair of shoes instead and craft an absolutely rich character full of darkness and commitment to his passion.  He’s also brought such prestige to the role that Hopkins’ Lecter now sort of looks super campy in comparison.  When you look at the two, Hopkins seems more like a Freddy Krueger now, once you’ve sat through Mikkelsen.  And no, I’m not bashing Hopkins here, I still love that film and love him in the role, its just something we never thought anyone else could ever live up to, and here it is being done now for two seasons.  The real test will be when we finally see Mads Mikkelsen on the other side of the glass.

Hannibal is the best show no one is watching.  This is the kind of television show everyone is clamoring for network television to have more of.  They want the HBO, F/X, Showtime, AMC stuff and here NBC is turning out something that is better than anything they are offering and no one is showing up.  Too gruesome, you say?  Have you seen Walking Dead and Game Of Thrones?  Gimme a break on that account.  And Hannibal‘s gore is done for more than just shock and exploitation.  It serves many purposes and carries meaning to the show at hand.  Luckily, Hannibal is funded by some foreign entity, making it a sort of anomaly and cheap renewal for the cats over at NBC.  If there is any show airing on television right now that I really really really REALLY want to see followed through to its prophetic end game (Fuller says 5-6 seasons) and complete, its Hannibal (sorry, Community).  C’mon people, brush up and get ready for season 3 next Spring!

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Episodes

Kaiseki

Sakizuke

Hassun

Takiawase

Mukōzuke

Futamono

Yakimono

Su-zakana

Shiizakana

Naka-Choko

Kō No Mono

Tome-wan

Mizumono

Hannibal Season 2 e

Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail:  I watch this show every week as it airs in HD on NBC, but I was STILL impressed with how fantastic this show looks on Blu-ray.  Every detail is accounted for.  This picture is sharp, crisp and absolute perfecting.  Knock yourself out watching this one folks, its a doozy.

Depth:  Depth is an important part of the show.  It carries a very 3 dimensional look in its structure and many shots are well prepared with its foreground and background contrasts.  Also, the slow motion sequences come off rather brilliantly on the Blu-ray.

Black Levels: Blacks are rich and inky.  A huge part of this show is darkness, but it never hides or masks any detail, nor did I catch any crushing.  Black are gorgeously displayed here and on help to further sharpness and detail.

Color Reproduction:  For the grim nature of this show, it does feature fantastic palette of colors that pop and stick rather elegantly.  Hannibal’s suits are well capture here.  Blood of course, with the reds stick out as a star.  However, while things look rich and pop, they still manage to keep the grim tone of the show in check.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are cooler and consistent.  Detail is extremely extremely high on their facial features such as wrinkles, scars, cracks, injuries, you name it.  You almost feel as if you know what their faces feel like without touching them.  The close up shots especially are incredible.  4K Blu-ray is really going to produce stuff better than this?

Noise/Artifacts:  CLEAN

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Audio 

Audio Format(s):  English 5.1 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics:  Matching the perfection of the video transfer is the 5.1 track.  Its loud and full of action (even if the show isn’t).  The score and effects seem to be a tad higher in volume than the dialogue, but never much of a distraction.

Low Frequency Extension:  The subwoofer gets plenty of work with punches, crashes and the like.  But it also pulses when Will Graham navigates a crime scene and those “wiper blades” go across the screen.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Plenty of ambient noise and score coming from the rear speakers.  Right and Left interplay are mastered to perfection.  Action sequences make you feel right in the middle of the violence.  Every environment and place visited in the film is well colored with your surround system to give you a feel for where the characters are inhabiting.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Loud and clean.  Very crisp dialogue grabbing every breath and sound coming from our characters mouths.

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Extras 

Hannibal – Season 2 comes in a 3 Blu-ray disc set with UltraViolet digital copies.  It also features an insert that has an episode guide.

Disc 1

Episode Commentaries

  • Kaiseki – Bryan Fuller and Hugh Dancy
  • Sakizuke – Bryan Fuller and Jose Andres
  • Takiawase – Bryan Fuller and Hettienne Park

Trailers – Mad Men Season 6, Nurse Jackie Season 5, Lionsgate Television, Houdini, EPiX

Disc 2

Episode Commentaries

  • Yakimono – Bryan Fuller, Raul Esparza and Steve Lightfoot
  • Su-zakana – Bryan Fuller and Hugh Dancy

This Is My Design (HD, 1:22:51) – This is an extensive look at the production of episode 205.  Cast and crew interviews and extensive planning go toward showing us what it takes to make just one episode of the show.  The feature also touches on Bryan Fuller’s social media interaction with fans and how they react to elements of the show as they unfold.  As I told Aaron Neuwirth, only Hannibal could do an hour and a half making of regarding just one episode and get away with it.  This is a terrific extra on this set.

The Style Of A Killer (HD, 13:24) – A focus on the careful costuming of the characters on the show.

Disc 3

Episode Commentaries

  • Naka-choko – Bryan Fuller and Caroline Dhavernas
  • Mizumono – Bryan Fuller and Hugh Dancy
  • Mizumono – Bryan Fuller and Steve Lightfoot

Bodies Of Lies (HD, 12:16) – A look at the practical effects done on the show and what a short timetable they have to work with for them.

Hannibal Season 2: Killer Intentions (HD, 11:41) – Cast and crew look back and season 2 and in to us the direction and some things coming in season 3.

Post Mortem With Scott Thompson Webisodes (HD, 42:47) – Kids In The Hall star and one of the autopsy specialists on the show, hosts a little talk show with one on one interviews with the show’s cast.

Gag Reel (HD, 7:38)

Deleted Scenes (HD, 12:01) – There are 7 in total.

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Summary 

A perfect release for a perfect show.  This is a must have television release for any fan or Blu-ray collector.  Your audio and video are perfect (and eye-opening impressive).  There are a ton of bonus features, commentaries and wealth of information on this disc leaving nothing behind.  Lets also not forget that this show is absolutely stellar.  Its a shame that the ratings aren’t as rewarding for the show as it is to us the viewer.  Strangely, the Emmys don’t seem to care about it either (But who are we kidding, they give Jim Parson’s an award every year for doing the exact same schtick year in and year out).  Make Hannibal a priority.  Catch up before season 3 starts (you’ve got some time).  You can do so by pre-ordering yourself a copy of Season 2 on Blu-ray following the Amazon link below.

Hannibal-Season-2-Blu-ray

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

8 Responses to “Hannibal – Season 2 (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Danielle

    Just a note….the Bay Harbor Butcher was Dexter; Hannibal is the Chesapeake Ripper.

  2. Brandon Peters

    Holy cats. Thank you, Danielle, and thank you for reading!

  3. Chantal

    Very insightful article, Mr. Peters. Glad I pre-ordered.

  4. Jess

    Thank you for so many details on what’s included! Just wanted to add: Will is suspected of being the Copycat, not the Ripper.

  5. Danielle

    You’re welcome. The article is really good, and I am loving all the info on the extras. I do have a question…for the commentary on disc 3…Mizumono is done twice? If that is the case….then it is clear that Bryan Fuller is trying to kill us, apparently, lol.

  6. Brandon Peters

    Thanks for all the kind words everyone.

    Danielle – Yes, there are two separate commentaries for Mizumono on the disc. With a finale that great, I think it’s earned two of them.

    Jess – Thanks. Didn’t catch that in my proofreading 🙂

  7. laura spencer

    hello! loved this! loads of information I’ve been dying to know!

    just a quick little thing, it’s Lecter, not Lector. The only alternate spelling of Lecter is in Manhunter (the 1980’s film) where it is Lecktor.

    Thank you!

  8. Danielle

    Laura, good catch. I am so used to people misspelling it that I overlooked it. I am ashamed of myself, lol.