Field Dressing: Costume Design in Hannibal



Do not attend this meal.


Hannibal is a show with amazing aesthetics that not only look enthralling , but also serve to give insight into the personalities and hidden desires of the characters.  Most television shows put costumes on their characters by simply choosing something that will look good, not bothering to use costumes to enhance the show’s storytelling.  There are a select few costume designers who are working at such a level,  namely  Janie Bryant, who has designed for Deadwood and Mad Men, among many other shows.  Christopher Hargadon, the costume designer for Hannibal, is the latest to join this rank. Taking a look at the first episode of the second season offers a prime examples of this once the meaning and usage of the costumes is deconstructed.


The first scene of the new season is a brutal fight between Hannibal Lector (Mads Mikkelsen) and Jack Crawford (Laurence Fishburne); a shocking and unexpected opening that leaps far down the narrative road within the series. But if we look beyond the action sequence, we can look into the minds of the characters (and pretend that we’re just like Hannibal! In that we will have psychological insight… no eating people…). In this scene, Hannibal is wearing a simple white striped shirt.  This is a stark change from the bright jackets and ties that were his common look in the first season.  He is in his kitchen, probably the room where he feels the most comfortable being himself (which is unsettling). He is not expecting anyone and is therefore dressed down. White is usually used to show youth and innocence. But in this scene, where we see Jack’s (eventual) knowledge of his crimes come to a climax, any semblance of innocence or tranquility comes crashing down around him. His white shirt becomes covered in blood, blotting out (forever?) the facade of guiltless detachment Hannibal has carefully cultivated.
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A Brief Rumination on Certain Traits of Steven Moffat and a Scene from “The Day of the Doctor”

Disclaimer: this article is entirely based around spoilers, sweetie.


I wasn’t kidding!

There’ve been a lot of big television events in the past month: heart-stopping college football, including the Auburn-Alabama game destined for mythological status, as well as the call in which the local radio announcer went from 0 to orgasm in seconds, and The Sound of Music – Live!, a stunningly not terrible blockbuster which revealed how Carrie Underwood has three facial expressions when not singing—REALLY happy, REALLY surprised, and REALLY confused. But the one which meant the most to my friends and I was “The Day of the Doctor,” which may have been the first time I watched 75 minutes of programming with a goofy smile never leaving my face. Except for one part which will be the focus of this piece, but really, for the duration, it was goofy smile time, from the high-speed opening with Clara teaching at Ian and Barbara’s school and motoring into a very happy Eleventh Doctor’s TARDIS, to the Daleks’ cameo to the Tennant-Smith interplay to the glorious final scene between Matt Smith and Tom Baker, a man who only seems to have changed by letting his hair get white. It was everything a devoted Whovian could have wanted. And more importantly, it may have, at least in part, redeemed Steven Moffat.

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Dia de los Venture Bros!

This weekend marks the return of a cultural touchstone of our generation.

What? Yes, I know there’s a lot of vague, loaded terms in that grand declaration. “Generation” itself could spawn an entire graduate curriculum based around its vaguaries, as could trying to figure out what the hell a “cultural touchstone” is, anyway.

But you know what? We stand by our opening line. Because this weekend is when the new season of The Venture Bros. starts on Adult Swim.

At last!

If you haven’t had the illuminating pleasure of watching The Venture Bros…. We are deeply sorry for that hole in your life. On its surface, it’s a cartoon, a comedic re-imagining of Hardy Boys or Johnny Quest for the modern day. But the reason the Ventures have such a dedicated fanbase is that the series is so much beyond the surface: it’s an emotionally-gripping look at flawed and yet hopeful characters. It turns an electron microscope onto failure, expectations, disappointment, American exceptionalism, absurdity, and what superheroes & super science looks like when faced with accountants and bureacracy.

Oh, and it’s riotously funny in unexpected and creative ways.

In anticipation of the new season, Addisonians Alex Bean and J. Michael Bestul have decided to put the reasons why they love this series into terms gushing and supposedly erudite. There may be minor spoilers ahead.
Then again, if you haven’t watched Venture Bros. yet, you still have 48 hours (give or take) to rectify that. GO. DO IT. Or continue reading. Your call. [Read more…]

Maebe Next Time: Some Thoughts on Season Four of Arrested Development

You’re welcome for the pun in the title, by the way.

There was a family reunion last weekend that I had been feeling pretty nervous about. The people gathering for this reunion were guaranteed to say and do outrageous things, act like children (or possibly animals), and make a mockery of moral concerns, good taste, and basic human decency. This wasn’t my own family’s reunion, of course, but the Bluth family, who made their much-hyped return when the fourth season of Arrested Development premiered this past Sunday on Netflix.

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