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TV Wasteland: A Nice Chianti

Hannibal arrives on NBC

By Rob Vaux     April 01, 2013

 With The Bates Motel scoring some points for A&E, NBC prepares to follow it with a slasher reboot of their own. Hannibal, a prequel to Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter novels, traces the early partnership between the man-eating psychiatrist (Mads Mikkelsen) and an unknowing Will Graham (Hugh Dancy). It’s a promising prospect, even without Anthony Hopkins’ irreplaceable presence in the lead. Mikkelsen, best known as the heavy in Casino Royale, carries the dramatic weight to make the character his own, and with Laurence Fishburne stepping into the role of FBI guru Jack Crawford, the casting pedigree climbs pretty high. Add to that director David Slade helming the pilot – he previously did the brilliant Hard Candy, among others – and we’ve got some good reasons for optimism.

On the other hand… this is NBC. The Network That Couldn’t Shoot Straight has destroyed better concepts before, and even if it proves a hit, their ongoing desperation may lead them to micromanage the series into oblivion. Then there’s the question of whether network television is ready for something this dark. Were it on FX or AMC or the like, we could breathe a little easier. But now? Don’t be surprised if this vanishes as quickly as it came. Thankfully, Lecter has survived his share of big turds, and despite the producers’ ambitious claims, they’ll never be able to touch the brilliant Silence of the Lambs. We’ll have to take that as comfort and hope that Hannibal can make good on its ideas. If it does, it has the potential to do a lot more than rescue a flagging network.
The show premieres Thursday, April 4, at 10:00 PM EDT on NBC.
 

Monday

Revolution (NBC, 10:00 PM EDT)
Miles and Nora hope to sway a former colleague to their side, even as Rachel hunts down another power source.
 
The Following (Fox, 9:00 PM EDT)
Claire gets used to her new surroundings, while the FBI hunts down a spot with ties to Joe and his cult.
 
Bates Motel (A&E, 10:00 PM EDT)
No word on the details here, but the title is “What’s Wrong with Norman,” so we’re guessing it involves something juicy. 
 
Being Human (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
The roommates get ready to take down Donna, even as Kenny wakes up to circumstances he never anticipated.
 
Lost Girl (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
A babysitter calls in Bo and Kenzi after her employer dies under bizarre circumstances.
 
The Craft (ABC Family, 9:00 PM EDT)
A little retro teen-angst, courtesy of a quartet of high-school witches, again reveals how much better you can do with this kind of material than Twilight. 
 
The Thing (Cinemax, 8:15 PM EDT)
It’s the remake, which isn’t bad, as opposed to the original, which is unbeatable.
 
The Amazing Spider-Man (Starz, 9:00 PM EDT)
Andrew Garfield heads up a reboot of everyone’s favorite wall-crawler. It’s pretty awesome, despite coming too quickly after the Sami Raimi films.
 

Tuesday

Robot Combat League (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
It’s slim pickings in the new episodes department today, so we’re running with what we got.
 
Strangers on a Train (TCM, 8:00 PM EDT)
Turner Classics has a banner week going for us. We’ll point out the genre highlights – starting with this Alfred Hitchcock classic about a man who “swaps murders” with an unhappy tennis player – but there’s tons of others out there.
 
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (ABC Family, 8:30 PM EDT)
Tim Burton is all over the schedule too, which proves to be a double-edged sword. Case in point: this inadvertently creepy little updating of the Roald Dahl classic.
 
X-Men: First Class (Cinemax, 6:00 PM EDT)
Is anyone else praying that Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy have a scene together in the new film?
 
Contagion (Cinemax, 8:15 PM EDT)
Steven Soderbergh gives us the super-plague and a whole lot more in a solid bit of speculative fiction.
 
End of Days (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
Arnold vs. the Devil. We don’t know who wins, but we know the audience loses.
 
Meet Dave (FMC, 7:00 PM EDT and 9:00 PM EDT)
FMC dedicates an entire evening to this ugly Eddie Murphy misfire about a guy who’s actually just an automaton controlled by tiny aliens.
 
RED (Showtime, 8:00 PM EDT)
Bruce Willis could have fought better, Howard.
 
John Carter (Starz, 9:00 PM EDT)
So could Disney marketing for blowing this one big time. Repeats on Friday at 6:45 PM EDT.
 
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Sundance, 8:00 PM EDT)
The original Scandinavian version of the bestselling novel has its share of highs and lows… just like the English-language version.
 
Star Trek: Nemesis (Syfy, 6:30 PM EDT)
The TNG crew says good-bye with a thoroughly underwhelming entry.
 

Wednesday

Arrow (The CW, 8:00 PM EDT)
Tommy is suspected in the death of a woman at a party, while Oliver experiences yet another flashback to the island.
 
Supernatural (The CW, 9:00 PM EDT)
The Winchesters tackle the second trial from the Tablet, with unexpected help from a reaper.
 
Alice in Wonderland (ABC Family, 6:00 PM EDT)
Burton’s back. Are you excited yet?
 
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (ABC Family, 8:30 PM EDT)
Nicolas Cage pays the bills as a modern-day wizard living in New York. Trust me, Cage vehicles get a whole lot worse.
 
The Transporter (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Jason Statham really gets persnickety when you overload the car.
 
True Lies (AMC, 10:01 PM EDT)
Schwarzenegger and James Cameron reteam in a spy thriller that won’t top anyone’s list of the best things they’ve ever done.
 
Transporter 3 (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT and 10:15 PM EDT)
If you can change channels, quickly enough, you might nab a decent double bill with this one and Transporter 1.
 
From Dusk till Dawn (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
Because Mexican strip bars are normally so safe!
 
Jennifer’s Body (FMC, 7:00 PM EDT and 9:00 PM EDT)
Amanda Seyfried pulls off the unlikely feat of looking like a bad-ass in bunny slippers.
 
The Green Hornet (FX, 7:30 PM EDT)
Seth Rogen could stand to take a break. Repeats Thursday at 7:00 PM EDT and Friday at 8:00 PM EDT.
 
Sherlock Holmes (TNT, 6:30 PM EDT)
Guy Ritchie reinvents the age-old sleuth, with marvelous results.
 
Men in Black 3 (Starz, 9:00 PM EDT)
There’s a reason that Will Smith keeps packing them in.
 
We’re dropping Syfy’s wretched reality line-up for tonight. Because suck. 
 

Thursday

The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8:00 PM EDT)
A tenure-ship is up for grabs, causing the guys to embarrass themselves in all manner of ways to get it.
 
Elementary (CBS, 10:01 PM EDT)
Sherlock and Watson race to stop a huge robbery going down in the middle of a blizzard.
 
Hannibal (NBC, 10:00 PM EDT)
FBI lecturer Will Graham teams with noted psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter to solve a brutal murder. See the top of the article for more.
 
Poltergeist (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT)
The film that scared the crap out of every ten-year-old in America hits IFC this week.
 
Evil Dead II: Dead by Dawn (IFC, 10:30 PM EDT)
Just in case the new one sucks balls, we have this one. Which does not.
 
The Ninth Gate (Showtime, 8:30 PM EDT)
It starts out brilliantly, but leaves the rails by the time the set burns down for the second time.
 
The Professional (Sundance, 10:00 PM EDT)
Am I the only one who thinks it’s adorable that Natalie Portman thanks Luc Besson in her Oscar speech?
 
Interview with the Vampire (Syfy, 6:30 PM EDT)
Tom Cruise does surprisingly well as Anne Rice’s vampire Lestat. Brad Pitt holds his own too.
 
Case 39 (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
Renee Zellweger stars as a psychologist tending for a disturbed child in a horror movie I’m sure someone somewhere actually remembers.
 
Chernobyl Diaries (Cinemax, 6:50 PM EDT)
Another day, another crappy found-footage horror movie.
 
Fast Five (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
It’s goofy as hell, but what are you going to do?
 
The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl (Disney, 8:30 PM EDT)
More proof that you shouldn’t greenlight a film based on your child’s drawings.
 

Friday

Grimm (NBC, 9:00 PM EDT)
Nick and Hank have to stop a Wesen lawyer from getting a killer off the hook. No matter where you go, you just can’t escape courtroom dramas…
 
Touch (Fox, 9:00 PM EDT)
Jake uses a cipher to hunt down Amelia, while Guillermo sets his sights on a familiar member of the 36.
 
Nikita (The CW, 8:00 PM EDT)
A new prosthetic hand could put Michael back on track, but as always, there’s a hook.
 
SpartactusL War of the Damned (Starz, 9:00 PM EDT)
The Romans begin squabbling over their victory while Spartacus tries to bargain for his followers’ lives.
 
Prince of Persia (ABC Family, 6:00 PM EDT)
How can a video game adaptation be so lifeless?
 
The Mummy (ABC Family, 8:30 PM EDT)
ABC Family recovers with an agreeable bit of blockbusting adventure.
 
Identity (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
A group of strangers find themselves in an Agatha Christie novel set at the Bates Motel. Trust us, it works.
 
TRON (BBC America, 9:00 PM EDT)
The original 1982 vision hits the BBC tonight.
 
TRON: Legacy (FX, 10:30 PM EDT)
The timing can’t quite work for a double feature, but it gets close.
 
Breaking Dawn, Part 1 (Showtime, 7:00 PM EDT)
The first last film where nothing happens, not the last last film where nothing happens.
 
Clash of the Titans (TNT, 8:00 PM EDT)
It’s the remake. Bleah.
 
The Expendables (Spike, 8:00 PM EDT)
The sequel is better, believe it or not.
 

Saturday

Doctor Who (BBC America, 8:00 PM EDT)
The Doctor and Clara head for the planet Akhaten and an apparently swinging party there in. As always, Confessions of a Neowhovian has the skinny!
 
Dark Shadows (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
Tim Burton hits a real low point in his attempt to resurrect the old Gothic soap opera from the 1970s. Repeats on Sunday at 10:00 PM EDT.
 
Batman and Batman Returns (ABC Family, 6:00 PM EDT and 9:00 PM EDT)
More Tim Burton, this time putting his flawed but one-of-a-kind stamp on the Caped Crusader.
 
Prometheus (HBO, 8:00 PM EDT)
Ridley Scott’s not-quite-a-prequel to Alien hits premium cable this week. Buckle up: it gets gloppy. Repeats on Sunday at 6:50 PM EDT.
 
Total Recall (Starz, 9:00 PM EDT)
Colin Farrell is no Arnold Schwarzenegger. Let’s just leave it at that. Repeats on Sunday at 7:00 PM EDT.
 
Underworld: Evolution (Syfy, 7:00 PM EDT)
Kate Beckinsale still looks great in that catsuit, even when the movie stinks.
 
Battledogs (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
Werewolves take over New York, and only an army of werewolf soldiers can stop it all. Seriously.
 
300 (TNT, 8:00 PM EDT)
Gerard Butler wants you to know just how loud he can yell.
 
I Am Legend (TNT, 10:30 PM EDT)
It starts out so well…
 

Sunday

Game of Thrones (HBO, 9:00 PM EDT)
Tyrion finds himself back in the game, while Arya runs into the Brotherhood Without Banners.
 
Spellbound (TCM, 8:00 PM EDT)
TCM ends the week with another Hitchcock classic, this one involving a psychiatric patient who may be a killer.
 
Diabolique (TCM, 10:00 PM EDT)
Not the dreadful Sharon Stone version, but the marvelous French original, which I guarantee with haunt you for days.
 
Batman Begins (ABC Family, 8:00 PM EDT)
Christopher Nolan is here to save the franchise.
 
Resident Evil (BBC America, 8:00 PM EDT and 10:00 PM EDT)
Zombies run amuck in a surprisingly non-shitty version of the famous video game.
 
Wrath of the Titans (Cinemax, 6:30 PM EDT)
Still bleah, but a higher-quality bleah than the first film. And by “first film,” I mean “remake.” Stupid remakes…
 
Edward Scissorhands (Cinemax, 8:15 PM EDT)
Tim Burton has his highs and lows this week. Here’s one of the highs.
 
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
*checks.* Yup. Still awful.
 
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (Starz, 10:00 PM EDT)
On the other hand, this one makes Revenge of the Fallen look Felliniesque in comparison.
 
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (Syfy, 6:30 PM EDT)
Jack Sparrow returns in one of the franchise’s more enjoyable entries. 
 
G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
Just to help you appreciate the second film a little more. 
 
Once Upon a Time is a rerun this week.
 

 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 2 of 2
1 
lusiphur 4/1/2013 6:27:01 AM

 I really hope Hannibal is better than Bates Motel.  My wife (the huge horror fan in the family) found the series boring, as did I, and we removed it from our DVR schedule.  We did give it two episodes, but both found we really didn't like any of the characters except Emma and she'll pobably die soon.

Of course, Hannibal is on NBC, so my expectations are much lower for it.

CalamityJohnson 5/16/2013 6:04:30 PM

Oh, it's so much more than it's billed. So. Much. More. Best show on TV aside from GoT.

1 

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