It’s been so long since I updated Virgins Never Die — one year from today, to be exact. So it feels fitting that I should write this update now. When I started this blog, it was with the intention of sharpening my blog-form writing skills and also talking about subjects that interest me (instead of ranting about them to friends and family) — namely horror, new queer cinema, and gender and sexuality. I intend to continue that. I’m in a different place than I was when I started this blog, and I hope — if my work/life schedule allows it — to continue writing [and sharing other people’s] content and hopefully sparking some kind of conversation among any potential readers.
Today, unfortunately, I don’t have the time to write a lengthy analysis about much of anything. But I can’t end this post without bringing up a very disheartening piece of news for many members of the horror community (and general fans everywhere): After two incredible seasons and a third currently underway, Bryan Fuller’s television series, Hannibal, has been cancelled by NBC. Before I continue on, please note that this post contains mild to major spoilers from season three; so, if you’re not up to snuff, stop reading.
Despite the incoherent conversations I’ve had with my friends about the cancellation — which usually boil down to us “shouting” back and forth to each other, typically on social media, “WHAT?! WHY? NBC, WHY?!” — it’s quite clear what sparked the show’s cancellation: low ratings. Is there ever any other legitimate reason? Sure, there’s funding, but if that was the issue with Hannibal, the show never would have made it to season three. No: It’s almost undeniable that low ratings are the reason why, after this August, when the season is said to conclude, we’ll no longer get to see Hannibal preparing intricate, artisanal gourmet meals out of human cadaver parts — or bear witness to the burgeoning, uniquely intimate relationship between Hannibal and Will. In fact, one of the strengths of the show has been its ability to keep its claws ground into its mother network and maintain a steady and devoted fan base in spite of low ratings. Yet, that’s no longer the case for Hannibal, and some say that the dip in ratings are in part due to its second time slot change, from Fridays, which did the show a disservice even then, to its original Thursdays at 10/9c.
At the same time that I absolutely loathe NBC for cancelling one of my favorite television shows — and, in my view, one of the best horror series currently on TV (tied, of course, with Penny Dreadful, which, fortunately, is being permitted a third season) — while shows like The Biggest Loser (which will be in its 17th season) and The Voice, both of which are little more than mindless entertainment, are allowed to thrive, I’m also not entirely surprised. There is no question that Hannibal is intelligent, witty, and a goddamn visual masterpiece. It has also starred or featured some of the best actors in the business, apart from its principal male leads (that is, Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, and Laurence Fishbourne), including Gillian Anderson, Katharine Isabelle, Gina Torres, and Michael Pitt (for whom I have a soft spot). I believe that the series was cancelled before the current season was given time to bloom. However, this season of Hannibal was much slower to start than previous seasons. Episode one was a good start, with the introduction of Hannibal and Bedelia’s faux marriage and Bedelia’s impending and then inevitable mental breakdown following another one of Hannibal’s brutal killings, in which she struggles to grasp she is implicit. Compared to the first episode of season two, “Kaiseki,” in which we find an imprisoned Will Graham while grisly murders persist beyond the bars of his prison cell, the third season’s first episode is somewhat tame, but it was intriguing enough to make me hungry for a second episode. Unfortunately, episodes two and three have been remarkably less gripping and for me, save for the devastating revelation that — major spoiler alert — Abigail Hobbs has been dead all while the audience has witnessed her journey to Europe with Will, not very memorable. As Fuller hinted in past interviews, the focus of this season is not the Law & Order-style weekly killings to which many viewers may have become accustomed but on aesthetics and philosophical discussions about human life, forgiveness, compassion, and love. So, essentially, it’s brought to the forefront the finer features of the show that made it transcend simple entertainment into the realm of art. But after the astonishing season two finale, “Mizumono,” which was equal parts action and art, rather than a narrower focus on the latter, perhaps viewers who dropped out this season were hoping for something more substantial to chew on. (I couldn’t help myself.)
If you’re a major fan of the show, you’re probably aching for a fourth season, especially since Fuller has teased that a new layer will be added to Hannibal and Will’s relationship. However, I’m hopeful that another network — one that gives its writers and directors more free-range — will pick up the show. In the meantime, I will still tune in every Thursday at 10 (granted that I can stay awake; I’m a bit of an old lady) to see how the season unfolds — and hope that fan outrage and Fuller’s promise of an even more satisfying and exciting fourth season will inspire other (read: better) networks to pick up this incredible television series.
(I’ll also cool it on the Hannibal posts, though I’m not making any promises — cool it with the terrible “food” puns.)