If 'Hannibal' Gets Canceled, It's Because of NBC's Laziness

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This TV image released by NBC shows Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in a scene from "Hannibal," premiering Thursday, April 4, at 10 p.m. on NBC. (AP Photo/NBC, Brooke Palmer)
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This TV image released by NBC shows Mads Mikkelsen as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in a scene from "Hannibal," premiering Thursday, April 4, at 10 p.m. on NBC. (AP Photo/NBC, Brooke Palmer)

Dear, NBC: It's time to stop making prequels, sequels, and adaptations. Despite a stellar cast that includes luminaries like Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen, Laurence Fishburne, and Gillian Anderson, "Hannibal" has been struggling to find an audience. The reason "Hannibal" is on the cusp of being canceled has little to do with the quality of the show, and everything to do with NBC's laziness.

Perhaps "laziness" is a harsh word, but many of NBC's most spectacular failures in recent years have been derivative works. More often than not, these shows are dismissed out of hand by audiences before the first episode even airs.

A prequel series, in particular, is hamstrung. The very word "prequel" has been tainted by association with the controversial "Star Wars" prequels. In addition, a prequel that tells a linear story can be boring to fans. After all, they already know what happens to these characters! Part of the reason people may have avoided "Hannibal" is because anyone who's seen "Silence of the Lambs" knows Hannibal's destiny. However, sequels can have just as tough as time finding an audience as prequels.

NBC's "The Firm" was a sequel to the John Grisham novel of the same name. Despised by both critics and fans alike, the series was pulled from the schedule in the winter of 2012. In addition to being a tepid continuation of the original story, viewers found the drama to be slow-paced and meandering.

In a similar vein, NBC's adaptation of the classic "Jekyll & Hyde" tale, "Do No Harm," failed to find an audience. Canceled after just two episodes, viewers just couldn't get excited about a rehash of a story from the 1800s.

Given their recent struggles with derivative works like "Do No Harm," "The Firm," and "Hannibal," TV fans are already wondering of NBC's upcoming "Dracula" series will also struggle to find an audience.

With a track record of producing borrowed works that become low-rated shows, NBC needs to put the kibosh on lazy retreads and start focusing on developing shows that are fresh, creative, and innovative. If NBC wants to become the top-rated network once more, it has to become a destination for viewers who are looking for something they can't find anywhere else.

As it stands right now, TV fans see a rehashed series on NBC's schedule and might immediately assume it's going to be canceled... even if it manages to be a good show, like "Hannibal."

 

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