Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Hannibal - Netflix Series

I enjoyed this to begin with as it covered the ground of Red Dragon and expanded on it. The lurid murders, convoluted plots and the psychological interplay between the characters satisfied something in my twisted psyche. The camera work was also excellent with some equally satisfying dream sequences. It was of course utterly fantastical but I did not find it an effort to suspend disbelief. But at the back of my mind resided the sure knowledge that the franchise would be extended and the series would probably die, as many do, by stretching an increasingly meagre plot over many episodes. Then along came series two starting out with a sequence from some months in the future that raised my hopes that this would continue to adhere (loosely) to Red Dragon and that it did have a beginning, middle and then end.


The second season started out well with this, but then came an expansion of the psychobabble, the dream sequences and the ‘artistic’ camera work. These last two kinda reminded me of the new Blade Runner film where art forgot story and went wandering off by itself. It even had the same ramping up of the music volume in an attempt to impart meaning where there was none. But I stuck with it because of that initial sequence. In season three it slid into the plot of the film (and book) Hannibal but with its own particular twist on those. Maybe it would have been okay if someone had reined in the ‘artistic filming’ but I suspect someone told them it was really good so they did more of it. The psychobabble also increased to fill the growing void and segued into the nonsensical. The plot was being stretched thin and hardly covered the holes. A few episodes in I finally gave up. Other viewers also gave up because this was not renewed after the third season.

This is, unfortunately, common in many series I see on Netflix. Franchise extending kills them. Film makers should have the courage to propose series that end rather continue sucking at that teat. At best, if they don’t, what starts out as promising turns into soap opera. The money men and executives behind them should also learn from this growing catalogue of failure. I don’t hold out much hope. 

3 comments:

Jon Hayter said...

I agree in general with this assessment, however I suspect that there's really no downside for the show runners to run most shows into the ground, other than losing critical acclaim - which has negatives, sure, but fewer than zero income from wrapping up a multi-season story with a planned ending. If a good show makes 100 dollars per season, for 3 planned seasons, and then stops - they've made 300 bucks. If it makes 100, 100, 100, 80, 40, 10... Well 430 is better by the capitalist metric. Fuck quality.

I mean, I completely agree, but I feel like expecting people to examine anything other than the bottom line is a pipe dream.

Geoffrey said...

All stories have an end.

Battlestar Galactica, Breaking Bad - they did the right thing by ending. Otherwise you end up with The Walking Dead. A more apropos title could not be had for that show.

TWD was fun for a while, but sheesh. (Honestly, wouldn't the damn zombies eventually just rot away after the first year?)

This is one reason why I enjoy the Polity books: the story lines end. While they are set in the Polity and reference one another it is good that they end. I don't want to read about Ian Cormac for the next 15 years... his story ended as it should. It was fun while it lasted... and who knows he can reappear now and again in a Bleggian fashion.

The story of the Polity is a rich tapestry - no need to become bogged down on one thread.


Graeme Finch said...

This is, unfortunately, common in many series I see on Netflix. Franchise extending kills them. Film makers should have the courage to propose series that end rather continue sucking at that teat.

This is true, there is nothing wrong with ends.