Brow Beat

In Poor Taste, NBC Has Canceled Hannibal

Laurence Fishburne and Hugh Dancy in Hannibal.
Laurence Fishburne and  Mads Mikkelsen from Hannibal.

Photo courtesy NBC

NBC has canceled Hannibal, three episodes into its dreamlike third season. Unusually arty, especially by the standards of network television, Hannibal has been critically adored throughout its run, but it has struggled to find an audience. As BuzzFeed reports, the show had avoided this fate in the past thanks to “international sales and a VOD deal.” Its last reprieve came as a relief to its devoted fans, not least of all because the second season’s apocalyptically bloody finale left the fate of almost every major character in question. Ultimately, however, its ratings have sunk low enough that the show finds itself on the butcher block, cleaver descending.

On Twitter, the reaction from the show’s admirers—who punningly refer to themselves as Fannibals—has been immediate and mournful. This should come as little surprise, given how well the show performs in Nielsen’s Twitter rankings, even on nights when hardly anyone seems to be watching.

Meanwhile, the series’ cast and crew have been more upbeat. Janice Poon, the show’s food stylist, who I profiled last week, notes that the best of the season “is yet to come.” Showrunner Bryan Fuller, likewise enthuses that there are still 10 episodes left. Part of the reason for their good spirits may be that the show is widely expected to be picked up by another platform. As associate producer Loretta Ramos speculatively wonders on her own feed, “[W]ho knows what the future holds?”

And maybe that’s the way it should be. Serial killers are never scarier than when you think they’re dead. Don’t look back now. Hannibal may already be climbing to his feet.