Book Review: The Art and Making of Hannibal: The Television Series by Jesse McLean

This book perfectly captures what was special about the show and the beauty behind it.
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If you are going through withdrawal from the cancellation of the ingeniously gorgeous television show Hannibal created by Bryan Fuller, then The Art and Making of Hannibal by Jesse McLean is the book you have been waiting for.

The television show was adapted from the Thomas Harris' novel Red Dragon and is rooted in the developing relationship between Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) and Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) It is organized by the appropriately named chapters of "Aperitif," "Entree," "Main Course," "Sorbet," "Dessert," and "Digestif."

The "Aperitif" is a foreword by Martha De Laurentiis, who produced the television series as well as the films Hannibal and Red Dragon. "Entree" provides background on the creation of the show and especially the critical involvement of Fuller and director David Slate. Having been a huge fan of Fuller's previous show Pushing Daisies, I knew his vision for Hannibal would be unique but I had no idea be would create one of the most beautifully disturbing show I have ever seen. Not surprisingly, Slade is an accomplished photographer in addition to being a filmmaker which explains the beauty he created during the show. Some of the photos he took during production are in the book.

The "Main Course" is the heart of the book focusing on the three main pivotal characters of Hannibal, Graham, and Jack Crawford (Lawrence Fishburne), and the actors who brilliantly portrayed them. When Mikkelsen was announced in the title role, I was rather disappointed. However, I quickly saw why he was the perfect choice. His elegance exuded off the screen and it was impossible to not be completely mesmerized by him. Each section not only provides critical elements about each character but also the key relationships to other characters and even minute details of set designs.

"Sorbet" is about the creation of the human totem pole and additional information on the killer behind it. "Dessert" highlights the finishing touches of editing, music and sound design. Lastly, "Digestif" is the author acknowledgements.


Hannibal the TV Series is a truly amazing piece of art. It was stunning, horrifying, and an original look at characters fans have long been familiar with. This book perfectly captures what was special about the show and the beauty behind it. It has me missing the show even more but I am grateful for all of the behind-the-scenes information including interviews with the creators, cast, and crew.

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