By now it's a television truism that NBC missed a trick in cancelling Hannibal, Bryan Fuller's exotic, intellectual, daring and grotesque reinterpretation of Thomas Harris' seminal serial killer stories.
Ratings, schmatings, people: having the testicular fortitude to keep Hannibal on the air in order to make a kind of television history is just one of those things certain network executives could have been eating out on for years to come. And while it's true that Fuller himself (previously a middling showrunner on a whole lot of failed television shows) has now pretty much written his own ticket for anything else he may care to try, he owes a lot of that new cachet to his phenomenal cast, and none more so than Mads Mikkelsen as Doctor Hannibal Lecter.
Being the fourth person to essay a household name is no small thing, especially given that Hannibal The Cannibal has a rabid fanbase in both prose and film. Overcoming any pressure he might have been made to feel by simply ignoring it, Mikkelsen succeeded in making the character completely his own.
This isn't the Lecter you know and love from the novels or from the cinema while Mikkelsen keeps the charisma, the brilliance, the sense that Hannibal is somehow more than the other killers and freaks that crop up in the narrative, he delivers a completely different vibe to Cox avuncular irritability or Hopkins arch, reptilian insouciance: more antichrist than antihero. Here's how he did it (and remember, here be spoilers)