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“HANNIBAL: SEASON TWO” (Blu-ray Review)

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Despite ratings that pale to those of THE WALKING DEAD, there’s little doubt that Bryan Fuller’s HANNIBAL is more fun than any horror show currently on television. By existing in its own universe and playing by its own logic, HANNIBAL is able to deliver excellent drama, tremendous performances and some of the most shocking gore ever presented on network television. Beyond that, HANNIBAL is a show of utter confidence; often delving into the surreal and perturbed, the show trusts it’s audience to go along for the journey no matter what weird direction they may be taken.

While the first season of HANNIBAL is exceptional, even while working out some tonal and narrative kinks, the second is a different beast altogether. It’s bloodier, stranger and even funnier than its predecessor. It also plays with viewer expectations, incorporating and subverting different threads of the novelized HANNIBAL mythos in truly satisfying ways. Even more rewarding is NBC’s Blu-ray of HANNIBAL: SEASON TWO, with a slew of special features and extra content providing a whole new look on the scary serial.

Of course, HANNIBAL fans will get the most mileage out of the episodes themselves, here presented completely uncut in all of their gory glory as “Producer’s Cuts,” which also includes some extended dialogue as well. As a result, the show is more cohesive and unbound, which feels even more dreamlike when presented with a pitch-perfect high definition transfer. And with the ability to binge the episodes at once, the series feels even further realized, even when the lapses in logic become more and more glaring.

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For HANNIBAL superfans, this Blu-ray set is a treasure trove of fascinating bonus features, guaranteed to please even the pickiest HANNIBAL fanatic. The multiple commentaries on the set, all of which feature Bryan Fuller and a guest, are all fantastic listens; it’s clear that Fuller maintains a rapport on set even when dealing with such grim subject matter, and that attitude translates perfectly to these conversational commentaries. The nearly 90-minute behind-the-scenes documentary entitled “This is My Design” is another highlight among the bunch, offering a look at almost every aspect of building HANNIBAL’s world to one extent or another. And while the 12 minutes of Deleted Scenes don’t offer much in the way of new perspective, they all are great in their own right considering the context of the show.

HANNIBAL also provides much in the way of alternative special features too, really going out to show sides of the production not typically highlighted on Blu-ray sets. While fans may expect a featurette like “Bodies of Lies,” which is essentially a behind-the-scenes look at the prosthetic work on the series, they may not expect to see a featurette like “The Style of a Killer,” which shines a light on the show’s production and costume design. Another excellent, unconventional feature is “Killer Intentions,” which presents an overview of HANNIBAL’s second season while vetting the cast and crew for their reactions. And HANNIBAL: SEASON TWO also shows off a sense of humor around the show, offering 40+ minutes of “Post Mortem” Webisodes with cast member Scott Thompson and even a Gag Reel.

For those on the HANNIBAL bandwagon, HANNIBAL: SEASON TWO on Blu-ray should be an instant buy; after all, it’s the only way to see these episodes uncut and in the best quality possible.  And for HANNIBAL die-hards, there’s a surprising amount of in-depth and fun features on the set, considering it’s relatively meager retail price. As for those who haven’t seen HANNIBAL, now’s a better time than ever; with both seasons on Blu-ray, you can binge each 13-episode season and experience the brilliant brutality of Bryan Fuller’s vision in stunning high-def.

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About the author
Ken W. Hanley
Ken W. Hanley is the Managing Web Editor for FANGORIA and STARLOG, as well as the former Web Editor for Diabolique Magazine and a contributing writer to YouWonCannes.com. He’s a graduate from Montclair State University, where he received an award for Excellence in Screenwriting. He’s currently working on screenplays, his debut novel "THE I IN EVIL", and various other projects, and can be followed on Twitter: @movieguyiguess.
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