Well, it wasn’t long before NBC’s new show HANNIBAL (which I just reviewed here) faced its first bit of controversy, though surprisingly it doesn’t originate from the networks, or from outraged viewers with nothing better to do than complain, but from the show’s own frontrunner, Bryan Fuller, himself.
“After several particularly violent months in America, NBC has decided to pull episode four of frosh drama “Hannibal” from its lineup due to the disturbing content involving children murdering other children.
The fourth episode of the grisly serial killer drama featured Molly Shannon’s character brainwashing kids, leading them to kill other children.
Episode four was slated to air next week. Peacock will instead move directly to episode five. While the drama is serialized, NBC claims there will be no continuity issues, noting that TV critics have seen episodes three and five, and not four.
Decision arose after series creator Bryan Fuller phoned NBC and told the net that, “given the cultural climate right now in the U.S., I think we shouldn’t air the episode in its entirety.”
“I didn’t want to have anyone come to the show and have a negative experience,” Fuller told Variety. “Whenever you [write] a story and look at the sensational aspects of storytelling, you think, ‘This is interesting metaphorically, and this is interesting as social commentary.’ With this episode, it wasn’t about the graphic imagery or violence. It was the associations that came with the subject matter that I felt would inhibit the enjoyment of the overall episode. … It was my own sensitivity.”
Contrary to initial reports, the decision to pull the episode came hours before the Boston Marathon tragedy.
I don’t find the news of a pulled episode particularly unusual (the networks have had a long history of getting cold feet over particular shows when real life intrudes), and there’s even some who could argue that it shows a measure of social responsibility, though I’m surprised at the source.
On the other hand, the article states that the critics have been allowed to see Episodes Three and Five, but not Four – maybe it’s a dog, and that as much as real-life events triggered this last-minute withdrawal?
It’s been stated that clips of Episode Four will be available online for fans, with Fuller offering voiceover commentary and discussing the series development, and that the episode will be broadcast in its entirety overseas, so I’ll get a chance to view it in the UK when the time comes.