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Hannibal is an NBC thriller television series based on the novel Red Dragon by Thomas Harris. The plot centers around FBI agent Will Graham (played by Hugh Dancy) and forensic scientist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (played by Mads Mikkelsen). The series has developed a large following online with a fan base referring to themselves as “Fannibals.”
Development for Hannibal began in 2011 when writer Bryan Fuller was brought on by NBC to write the pilot episode. On February 14th, 2012, NBC immediately granted the series a 13-episode season based on Fuller’s script according to the entertainment news blog Deadline. On April 4th, 2013, the first episode in the series premiered. On May 30th, 2013, Deadline reported that NBC had renewed Hannibal for a second season.
By April 23rd, the series was pulled from the KSL-TV in Salt Lake City, Utah, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for its violent and sexual content.
According to the ratings blog TVByTheNumbers, the premiere episode received approximately 4.36 million viewers in the United States, with each subsequent episode dropping slightly before reaching 1.98 million for the series finale. As of June 2013, the first season of Hannibal received a rating of 69/100 on the review site Metacritic.
NBC maintains a number of official sites for Hannibal, including a Tumblr blog, Twitter account and Facebook fan page, which has accumulated more than 327,000 likes as of June 2013. Additionally, the production team maintains a Tumblr blog called Setting the Table, where team members including creator Bryan Fuller, executive producer Martha De Laurentiis and production designer Patti Podesta have shared posts about their experiences working behind the scenes of the show and additional information about current episodes. Food stylist Janice Poon also maintains her own blog, Feeding Hannibal in which she describes the process of designing Hannibal’s meals from the initial sketches (shown below, left) to on-set photos (shown below, right).
On August 31st, 2012, months before the series premiered, the first fan site Eat the Rude was created, introducing previous fans of Dr. Hannibal Lecter to Fuller’s series. That October, the Tumblr blog Fuck Yeah Hannibal launched, offering up early promotional photos of the show. A deviantART group for fan art of the show was established two days after the show’s premiere, gaining more than 650 members and 7,300 page views within two months. Also in early April, fans began calling themselves “Fannibals” and a blog titled We Are Fannibal was created on April 11th.
On April 15th, 2013, the Daily Dot reported that a number of Hannibal fans had been expressing extreme disapproval of slash fiction within the fandom. On May 31st, 2013, the viral content site BuzzFeed reporting on the fandom, noting that they seemingly came out of nowhere and took Tumblr by storm. The article was reposted on gossip blog Oh No They Didn’t the same day, resulting in 9 pages of user comments. As of June 2013, there are dozens of Hannibal-specific blogs on Tumblr, many of which have been indexed on Fuck Yeah Hannibal.
Fan art and fiction about the show can be found on Tumblr with the tags “hannibal” and “fannibal.” Additionally, there are more than 250 Hannibal-centric works on Fanfiction.net and more than 1,300 on Archive of Our Own. As of June 2013, there are more than 1,100 works with the tag “nbc hannibal” on deviantART.
Hannigram is popular slash pairing between the characters Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter in the fandom. Much fanfiction and fan art of the ship has been produced, and it is the most prominent pairing in the Hannibal shipping community. Hannigram has caused some division among fans, as many are not in favor of it.
Oh No They Didn’t! – Meet The “Hannibal” Fannibals, TV’s Newest And Most Intense Fandom