Hannibal was canceled, and I wasn’t particularly surprised.

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by Martin Hafer

I have seen every episode of Hannibal so far, and I was saddened by hearing today that it was canceled. According to NBC, after the current season ends in early September, it will be coming off the air, or at least via network television. Perhaps it will have a new lease of life on Amazon, Netflix or some other service. All I know is that I sure saw it coming.

According to reports today, one of the big reasons contributing to its demise is due to ownership of all the characters, specifically Clarice Starling. While this may be true, the show has been able to re-write the canon in a way that has pleased fans. Instead, I suspect two other major contributing factors are at work. The show has always struggled in the ratings, and, after all, television is all about ratings. Yet, in spite of low ratings, the show was renewed for a third season. So what else gives? Well, after seeing the first three episodes of season three, coupled with ratings still not improving, the writing was clearly on the wall.

While I am a big fan of the series, season three managed to alienate me. Although the show had always been very artsy and deliberately paced, so far season three has been much, much more so. Instead of giving fans what they wanted, the show instead chose to very, very slowly delve into a strange and much more artsy direction. In many ways, it sure looked and felt as if they were trying to make an incomprehensible Ingmar Bergman-like film, one with very limited appeal. I am sure quite a few of the regular fans were left stumped and angry. They were probably thinking something like “what about the series regulars who were left bleeding to death at the end of season two?!” as well as “why is the pace now so slow that it seems almost glacial!?”

If the show is somehow renewed on some other network or online service, I do hope the folks learn something from this cancellation. I don’t suggest a major retooling of the show but a bit faster pacing as well as giving the fans what they want instead of just introducing a few new characters and forgetting to inform us what happened to the people we came to love in the first two seasons.