NBC Orders 13 Episodes of Hannibal Lecter TV Series Based on Red Dragon

Series will feature detective Will Graham and serial killer Hannibal Lecter at 'the beginning of their relationship' in Los Angeles.

NBC has bypassed the need for a pilot and ordered a 13-episode straight-to-series order for "Hannibal", a new contemporary thriller series based on perhaps the screen's most famous killer. Deadline reports that the project will follow FBI agent Will Graham and his mentor Dr. Hannibal Lecter, and will be based, at least in the beginning, on Thomas Harris' novel Red Dragon which featured an imprisoned Lecter helping Graham solve heinous crimes in Los Angeles. Or at least we thought that was the original pitch as the synopsis has been re-worded to "an updated take on Red Dragon - are re-introduced at the beginning of their relationship" which would suggest Graham hasn't yet caught Lecter. This complex relationship has been explored in two movies; first Michael Mann's stylish 1986 thriller Manhunter (Brian Cox as Lecter and as William Petersen as Graham) and Brett Ratner's 2002 Red Dragon (Anthony Hopkins as Lecter and Edward Norton as Graham), both of which were based on the same novel and featured the hunt for the same crazed killer. Presumably after a while the idea will be to introduce Clarice Starling as a character and explore the events that immortalised Hopkins' performance as Lecter in Silence of the Lambs and which was shot in between Manhunter and Red Dragon. Bryan Fuller (creator of Dead Like Me and former Star Trek writer) has wrote and will executive produce the series alongside Martha DeLaurentiis. The show was setup in November and actually had to bypass the pilot stage as NBC bought it preemptively so no other network could get their hands on it. So it was either order full commitment for 13 episodes or don't make it at all. The difficult task of finding a new Hannibal Lecter is underway. We said of the proposed idea of the show back in November; "the t.v. show will likely end up being some sort of formulaic CSI procedural because really€ how long can you stretch this idea out before it becomes a €˜killing of the week€™ style show with Hannibal murdering people and giving Petersen advice on solving cases?" Bryan Fuller is also working on The Munsters reboot at NBC with the pilot, Mockingbird Lane, delayed to June because of difficulties with casting. He has also threatened a team-up with Bryan Singer to pitch a new Star Trek show.
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Matt Holmes is the co-founder of What Culture, formerly known as Obsessed With Film. He has been blogging about pop culture and entertainment since 2006 and has written over 10,000 articles.