TV tonight: The premiere of Hannibal on NBC, plus The Big Bang Theory

‘Hannibal,’ the series, premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on the peacock network.

Photo: NBC/Hannibal

WASHINGTON, April 4, 2013―Tonight NBC launches its much-anticipated new gore fest “Hannibal.” Trying to fill the shoes of Anthony Hopkins as “Hannibal” is no easy task. But Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen pulls it off in this newest series from NBC. Best known for his sinister role in “Casino,” Mikkelson brings just the right amount of creepiness to the role while never letting the viewer forget just how intelligent he is.

British actor Hugh Dancy plays the lead role of FBI criminal profiler Will Graham. His character may have trouble dealing with people in social situations, but his empathy is apparent when delving into the mind of a serial killer. The character is rich with flaws and unstable at times. This makes him the perfect unwitting tool of Dr. Lecter’s manipulations when Agent Graham seeks his help.


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Dr. Lecter is a familiar character to viewers, of course, due to the near-iconic status of the film “Silence of the Lambs.” But as the TV version of the storyline premieres, his evil side is as yet unknown to the rest of the characters on the show. The Hitchcock approach—letting the audience know more than the characters know—and the anticipation of that moment when Lecter’s true nature will be revealed is one of the most compelling aspects of the show.

Add Laurence Fishburne—who slaughtered a different serial killer two seasons ago in his character’s weirdly abrupt exit from “CSI” (the original Vegas flavor)—playing the role of Agent Graham’s boss Jack Crawford, and the potential for NBC’s new show is great. Each season will be limited to 13 episodes, a British-style trick that has paid off in spades for shows like “Game of Thrones” and “Homeland.” Limiting supply can indeed increase demand.

The sum total of this new series’ parts results in a show that has more potential than any offering from NBC in recent years. Let’s just hope the struggling network doesn’t fumble around and squander the opportunity.

Any new show that bucks the current trend of reality TV deserves respect for even attempting to tell a story rather than force-feeding the viewer a jumble of hyped up nonsense. Maybe if “Hannibal” is successful enough, other networks will go back to scripted programming and say goodbye to reality TV all together. We can only hope.

Tonight’s viewing:

All times are EDT:

8 p.m.

ABC: Wife Swap: (New) A self-proclaimed redneck trades places with a pageant mom.

CBS: The Big Bang Theory: (New) Leonard, Sheldon and Raj fight for tenure at the University, and the competition heats up when the girls get involved.

FOX: American Idol: (Live) On a night billed as “Rock N Roll, No Ballads,” the Top 7 Idols took the stage.

NBC: Community: (New) Britta plans a rival dance at the same time as Greendale’s Sadie Hawkin’s dance. Meanwhile, Annie and Shirley play matchmaker for Abed.

CW: The Vampire Diaries: (Repeat) Klaus turns to Stefan for help when Rebekah refuses his plea to stop Kol and protect Jeremy. Meanwhile, Bonnie has a frightening encounter with Kol; and Mayor Hopkins cancels a school dance, but Stefan finds a charming way to make it up to a disappointed Rebekah.

8:30 p.m.

CBS: Two and a Half Men: (New) When Jake cheats on his girlfriend (Jamie Pressley) with her 18-year-old daughter (Emily Osment), Alan and Walden get caught in the crossfire.

NBC: Parks and Recreation: (New) Ben and Leslie return to Partridge, Ben’s hometown where he’s still infamously known for his time as mayor. Meanwhile, Jamm sues Ron for punching him at Leslie’s wedding.

9 p.m.

ABC: Grey’s Anatomy: (New) Unsettling news motivates Derek and Meredith to take preventive steps for their children’s future; Syrian doctors come to the hospital for a crash course in basic surgical skills; April decides to tell Matthew the truth.

CBS: Person of Interest: (New) When the number of a leading tech executive comes up, Finch infiltrates her corporation to gather intel but can’t determine whether she is working in her company’s best interest or planning to destroy it from the inside. Meanwhile, Carter continues to question Detective Beecher’s integrity after he provides incriminating information about a fellow detective.

FOX: New Girl: (New) Jess and Nick attempt to break out of relationship limbo by going on a date. But when Schmidt and Winston catch wind of their plans, they try to sabotage the romantic outing. 

NBC: The Office: (New) When the promos for the documentary begin airing, the staff realizes all their secrets could be revealed.

CW: Beauty and the Beast: (Repeat) J.T. tries to identify the cause of Vincent’s blackouts. Later, Evan is kidnapped.

9:30 p.m.

FOX: The Mindy Project: (New) On a night on the town by herself, Mindy meets a handsome man—who just happens to be a prostitute—but the experience could pay off when she needs a date for Danny and Alex’s dinner party, so she gives him a “Pretty Woman”-style makeover.

NBC: Go On: (New) Faced with Carrie’s crush, Ryan finds solace inside K-BAL’s mascot suit.

10 p.m.

ABC: Scandal: (New) The team realizes there may have been a mistake on an old case, possibly putting everyone in danger; Olivia and Jake’s relationship intensifies, while Fitz and Mellie’s relationship hits a low.

CBS: Elementary: (New) Sherlock and Joan try to prevent a robbery from one of the largest cash vaults in the country during the middle of a Nor’easter. Meanwhile, Sherlock tries to help a transgender woman who is recovering from her latest break-up.

NBC: Hannibal: (New) Series premiere. Troubled FBI profiler Will Graham finds an unlikely ally: Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

Basic cable:

New episodes of:

Casino Confidential at 8 and 8:30 p.m. on TLC

The First 48 at 9 p.m. on A&E

North Woods Law: On the Hunt at 9 p.m. on Animal Planet

Swamp People at 9 p.m. on History Channel

How it’s Made at 9 p.m. on SCI

Mysteries at the Museum at 9 p.m. on Travel Channel

Auction Kings at 9 and 9:30 p.m. on DSC

America’s Worst Tattoos at 9 and 9:30 p.m. on TLC

Anger Management at 9:30 p.m. on FX

Comic Book Men at 10 p.m. on AMC

North Woods Law at 10 p.m. on Animal Planet

Tabatha Takes Over at 10 p.m. on BRAVO

Chef Wanted With Anne Burrell at 10 p.m. on Food Channel

Archer at 10 p.m. on FX

Big Rig Bounty Hunters at 10 p.m. on History Channel

House Hunters at 10 p.m. on HGTV

Mudcats: Down and Dirty at 10 p.m. on NGC

New York Ink at 10 p.m. on TLC

What is That? At 10 and 10:30 p.m. on SCI

Property Wars at 10 and 10:30 p.m. on DSC

For movie lovers:

8 p.m.

Gremlins on ENC

Earth Girls are Easy on FLIX

Alvin and the Chipmunks on FMC

Poltergeist on IFC

Belly of the Beast on REELZ

The Corn is Green on TCM

The King’s Speech on TMC

9 p.m.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes on MOMAX

Open Range on STARZ

Case 39 on Syfy

Later tonight:

Barb Wire at 9:40 p.m. on FLIX

Gremlins 2: The New Batch at 9:50 p.m. on FLIX

Fast Five at 10 p.m. on CINEMAX

The Art of Getting By at 10 p.m. on HBO

How Green Was My Valley at 10 p.m. on TCM

October Sky at 10 p.m. on TMC


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Lisa King

I was born and educated in Southwest Virginia, traveled with my job all over America in my twenties and early thirties then came back to the mountains to raise my daughter.

I’ve been employed as everything from a quality control technician in industrial construction, to a mail processing plant manager, to postmaster of a small town. I’ve been to forty nine of the fifty states, as well as many other countries. Traveling will always be a passion I indulge, and something I’ll call upon often in my writing. 

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