Critics have long come to terms with the fact that reviews have little impact on audience numbers: it may even be argued that lousy reviews translate to stupendous box-office, as demonstrated most recently by Jurassic World. A couple of weeks ago, Hannibal returned for its third season of exquisite butchery; shortly after that, NBC announced that the series created by Bryan Fuller was cancelled.
The cancellation of Hannibal wasn’t a big surprise, even to viewers who went into raptures over the cannibal’s culinary and interior design skills. Fuller’s adaptation of the Hannibal Lecter books by Thomas Harris constantly tested network standards and practices by showing us cadavers in artistic arrangements, like a Venice Biennale of Death. More that that, its ratings were very low. The Hannibal cult—you are few, but you know what goes with fava beans and a good Chianti—need not worry as the show will certainly find a new home on cable or on the increasing number of online media providers
I thought of Hannibal last week when I came home to find blood splatter on the floor. My cat housemates, who have been play-fighting for years, miscalculated their posing and made actual contact, leaving one of them with a bloody nose. As I scrubbed away at the dried stains, I wondered how the fastidious Dr. Lecter cleaned up his post-murder messes, and so quickly, too. Did he always carry plastic sheets and bleach? Pop culture has mythologized serial killers as geniuses, but perhaps their most amazing quality is their housecleaning acumen.
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