Last night, CBS viewers said hello to Clarice, a new network procedural that serves as a sequel to The Silence of the Lambs. Rebecca Breeds is the latest actress to embody Clarice Starling, the courageous FBI agent who faced off with two serial killers in one watershed 1991 thriller. One killer shall have to remain nameless. Clarice’s cousins, however, are numerous and known by plenty of other names. When Jodie Foster originated the role three decades ago, she inspired a whole generation of screen heroines. The Silence of the Lambs also ensured its own franchise’s longevity and informed a whole host of copycat thrillers. It was an unlikely prestige pic that still holds up as a work of master filmmaking.

Clarice’s premiere comes just in time for the movie’s thirtieth-anniversary date, which happens to fall on Valentine’s Day this weekend. Some cinephiles may be eating chocolate and watching romcoms this weekend, but others will be opening Chianti bottles to revisit the only horror film ever to win the Best Picture Oscar. Let’s hope someone at this morbid party brought fava beans and an eye for camera angles.

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I can’t really justify my curiosity about Hannibal, the NBC series that will act as a prequel to films like Manhunter and The Silence of the Lambs. (It will act as a new prequel, that is, since we’ve already had a feature film prequel called Hannibal Rising.) We’ve seen this story before. We’ve seen it done pretty well. There’s no real reason to have it told again, now, other than the fact that this sort of thing is popular on TV. And yet I’m curious to see what comes of it, and given that I’m probably not the only one, that curiosity is likely exactly why NBC is game to order the series.

We know that Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies) is writing and producing the show, which skipped the pilot stage and went straight to a thirteen-episode order. There is no casting for Hannibal ‘the Cannibal’ Lecter at this point, but now the show has cast Hugh Dancy as Will Graham, the FBI profiler who was played by William Peterson in Manhunter and Ed Norton in Red Dragon, the other film based on the book that spawned Manhunter. Read More »

NBC Orders Thirteen Episodes of ‘Hannibal’

We still don’t know who will play the TV incarnation of Hannibal Lecter, but we do know that he won’t even have to deal with the traditional pilot stage that is part of a new television show’s road to airtime. NBC has given a thirteen-episode direct to series order to Hannibal, the show pitched by Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies) based on the character created by Thomas Harris and made famous thanks to Anthony Hopkins’ Oscar-winning performance in The Silence of the Lambs. Skipping the pilot stage was mentioned as a possibility when the show landed at NBC; evidently the network brass really liked Fuller’s ideas. Read More »