Blu-Ray Review: 'Hannibal' Season 1



My favorite show of last season is finally on blu-ray: Hannibal. I was eager to get my mitts on this set so I could check out the unaired episode “Ceuf” (which was awesome) and to see extended scenes that NBC would have cut out due to gruesomeness.

I assume that these “extended” episodes are the ones that are labeled “producer’s cut.” Five of the 12 aired episodes are labeled “producer’s cut.” The downside is that I don’t remember how the “producer’s cut” differs. I like the fact that it just plays, without interruption, but I would have liked some kind of option so I could see what, exactly, was different. Without anything obvious, I just assume that a second here, a second there, has been added back in, more as a selling point than anything else.

The standard special features are all here. There is commentary on a handful of episodes (from show runner Bryan Fuller, director David Slade, and star Hugh Dancy); a quartet of featurettes (on how they brought the Hannibal story to the small screen; the score; the FX; and my favorite, how they plan the menus for each feast with chef Jose Andreas); and a deleted scene (just one, between Will and Alana). My favorite extra is the gag reel. It is nice to see levity on such an intense show. Unlike many gag reels, it isn’t just a collection of scenes where the actors start laughing or curse a lot. You also get plenty of pratfalls and general on-set goofiness - almost entirely at the hands of Hugh Dancy.

The look and the color of Hannibal has always been one of the most haunting aspects of the show, and it still looks beautiful on blu-ray. What struck me most about the technical aspects of this set is the audio. The audio has always been top-notch on Hannibal, even on the broadcast. I can always tell when the audio is well-done because it drives my dogs crazy and they want to burrow into the speakers to find that other dog or protect me from a crazy crash. On the blu-ray, the sound is just... more. A scene in which Will is being interrogated is set against the sound of a pounding heartbeat that was scarcely audible in the broadcast. And there were several parts where the sound was so intense - not loud, but intense - that it almost felt oppressive. In a good way.

For $22 on Amazon, you simply cannot go wrong with this set.