Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Female Characters of Hannibal, and their Previous Incarnations

NBC's show Hannibal, now in it's second season, is doing a lot of things right. In my opinion, it has constructed a highly intriguing a prequel to the Hannibal Lecter movie franchise. It has also given us some kick-ass female characters, partly due to the fact that this show has gender swapped TWO of it's characters who were male in the original books and movies.

The Hannibal franchise has never been shy of tough female characters. Clarice Starling, played by Jodie Foster in the 1991 movie Silence of the Lambs, is an immensely powerful female role model. Now in the form of a TV series, Hannibal Lecter once more deals with challenging female characters.

Anyone who's seen the movie Manhunter, or it's remake Red Dragon, knows the name Freddy LoundsBoth in the original novel, and it's film version, Freddy is a sleazy reporter for the national tabloid The Tattler. He's offensive, he's morally bankrupt, and he weasels his way into police business, all in the name of his trashy publication. Played by the late, great Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Red Dragon, Freddy Lounds may be the most obnoxious character ever to grace the Hannibal universe. In Bryan Fuller's show, we get female Freddie Lounds, a Tabloid blogger for This incarnation is just as weasel-like, but much more likable. I see Bryan Fuller's Freddie as an ambitious journalist who genuinely believes she is reporting important news. She is not greedy like her former version, but she still obstructs police business and has it out for Will Graham. I don't hate her, but knowing what happens to Freddy Lounds, traditionally, I almost wish I did. I'm interested to see where Bryan Fuller takes Freddie.

Alana Bloom is another character who was originally a male. This one took me longer to realize because male psychiatrist Alan Bloom is not a major character, but merely mentioned in more than one Thomas Harris book. He is a colleague of Will Graham and Jack Crawford, and they ask for his expertise on at least two high-profile cases. In the TV series, Alana fills the same role, but proves to be a supportive friend to Crawford with a complex relationship to Will Graham. She is a female character I relish on-screen; she's real. Her walk is a confident swagger, verging on masculine. She refuses all wine Hannibal offers, asking instead for beer. Though she and Will Graham have feelings for each other, her role is far beyond that of "love-interest".

Beverly Katz, first seen in Red Dragon, is a crime scene investigator who, in the TV series, proves to be somewhat of a friend to Will Graham. She's pretty snarky, but keeps it professional. She ends up getting more screen time than the rest of the forensics team, and is called upon by Will more than once when he needs support. She's not warm and comforting like Alana, but she's definitely got Will's back. 

Bella Crawford is Jack Crawford's wife, played by Gina Torres. Bella is mentioned in the book Silence of the Lambs, as being the reason Crawford is distracted during the Buffalo Bill case. In the Hannibal series, she struggles with how much Jack puts into his work vs. how much time he focuses on her. She deals with her personal issues with a quiet strength, refusing to involve her husband, and letting him devote his energy to catching killers. Gina Torres is also known for playing another kind of strong woman as ex-soldier Zoe Washburne in the series Firefly. 

Bedelia Du Maurier is Hannibal Lecter's psychiatrist. Their relationship is professional, but highly complex. After a patient he referred to her attacked her, she has retired from practice. She now only treats Hannibal, who remains her patient because he feels responsible for her.
She is the only character I believe to be more intelligent than Hannibal himself. 
Dr. Maurier is played by Gillian Anderson who played FBI agent Dana Scully in The X-Files. This is extremely significant because X-Files creator Chris Carter based FBI woman Dana Scully on another fictional FBI woman; Clarice Starling. Full circle. Gillian Anderson is a powerful actress, and during her decade-long stint on The X-Files, Dana Scully became what is considered by many to be one of the best female television characters of all time.

The show is about serial killers, so it's likely that we may lose some of these awesome characters to less-than-savory ends. 
You better start watching Hannibal, if you haven't already, and enjoy them before they're gone.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Things I saw on my Google Street View tour of London

If you know me, you know that I'm a big fan of anything British. Most of my favorite books, music, and television shows come out of the UK, I drink a few cups of English tea a day, and I've got Union Jacks galore (jewelry, posters, tea mugs, bags, you name it). I guess you could say I'm an anglophile. 
My desk at work. I have a bit of a problem.

While London is, and has been my favorite city to learn about for years, I have never been. I'm currently saving up for a trip, right now I just spend a lot of time watching any British show I can that takes place in London.

I've been using Google Street View lately to check out the area I just moved to, and it hit me that there was nothing stopping me from typing in London, and using street view. I can't believe I haven't done this until now! I spent three hours total (and two cups of tea) clicking through the streets of London, and it was eye opening. I took screenshots of the E-trip, the way a tourist would snap photos, and I think I found some fun stuff.

This guy was one of the first people I saw. The long coat, the umbrella (brolly), the long pointy shoes, I just found it kind of picturesque.
Looks a little like a shorter Michael Sheen.

 This guy just chilling by the Thames. Maybe he's on his lunch break, or maybe he just got fired. (Or 'made redundant' as they say in the UK) I once went and sat by a river when I got let go from a job. It's going to be ok dude, we've all been there.

This couple being all in love and stuff by the Thames. Maybe one day I'll get kissed by the river in London.
It's ok, Londoners are used to being recorded 24/7

Now some instances where Google blurred the faces of things...that didn't really need blurring.

Yo dawg, I heard you like getting your dawg-face blurred.
"I sure hope they blur my face. NO ONE MUST KNOW I WAS HERE."

Mmm. Good thing they protected the identities of Will Smith, Josh Brolin, and Tommy Lee Jones.

Little restaurant near the Waterloo station. Under a bridge. I'm sure places like this are common, but I thought it was really cute.

In three hours of perusing the city, I only saw ONE person sleeping on the street. In NYC, it would have been more than one. Also what's with this weird Old El Paso ad?

AHA! I finally found a person wearing an actual Union Jack! Not sure if patriotic English girl, or zealous foreign girl visiting England.

This REALLY sad looking guy in the park. Not sure what he's doing but he looks very forlorn.
"Dad want's me to take over the firm...but ohhh the dream I have of being a professional cake decorator."

  This guy knows he's about to be immortalized on Google Maps. Cheers dude! I loved anytime someone waved or smiled at the Google car, I felt like they were smiling and waving at me.

 Lingerie shop. That is all.

 YES! Another someone excited to see the google car!
I like to think it's Sir Elton John.

    Knitting shop!  "A club, shop, and sanctuary for knitters"

Some dudes. (behind a bin)

Some Westminster Abbey.
Hey, I've seen your Kennel Club dog show. Haha kidding. 

   AS IT TURNS OUT, and yes, I looked for it, there is NO 221 B Baker St. I knew Sherlock Holmes was fictional, but I didn't know the apartment was as well. If you type it into google maps or a GPS, it takes you to 236 A41 Baker St, which is home of the Sherlock Holmes museum, and Hudson's restaurant. I must go.
"Mrs. Hudson! A cup of tea please thank you."

And then I strolled through a park? I completely forgot to check and see what park it was. It's gorgeous though, and people are just LAYING AND SLEEPING everywhere!

    I like to imagine that this kid on the left is writing poetry. Probably just texting.

            I wonder if this girl knows that she's on Google street view. She looks like a work of art.

Blue tree.

 I love these guys.
"Look! The Google car! Come here! Cheeeeeese."

And then I ventured into Soho. Ahhhh the famous (and sometimes infamous) Soho. I remember in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Mr. Hyde lived in Soho. It used to be pretty sleazy so I hear, but now, as I rolled through the streets, it seems to me to be very similar to NYC's Soho, which was named after London's.

    Whether London or NYC, Soho is where you really start to see the sleek fashion trends of young artsy kids.

I don't know who this punk-lite guy is, but I like him ad his David Bowie shirt.

Do they know each other? Or... this looks awkward.

I'm not certain, but this place might be gay.

 The Hobbit! It's a little smoke shop.

I saw the shadow of the Google car!

So...Ned's Noodle Box actually lets you go inside.
  The Google camera guy must take the camera on foot sometimes.

THIS. I accidentally zoomed down while inside of Ned's Noodle Box, and saw this. It's the tripod that the camera is on. Trippy.

I had to look up the Eye. I just had to.

And Big Ben is REALLY close to the Eye. It was around both of these attractions that I saw the heaviest population of tourists, whereas the rest of the city, I didn't see many that I could tell were tourists.

By now, I'd been browsing for about three hours. I hit Charlotte street and lo and behold, I just stumble across Mennula. I had a mini-freakout, as if I'd seen a celebrity. 
The day before my internet-romp through London, I watched a show called Gordon Ramsay's Best Restaurant. In it, he pits London's best restaurants against each other, trying to see which restaurant has the best food and service. Mennula was one of two Italian restaurants he put to the test. It was when I found Mennula, and say "Oh hey, I know this place." that I felt I'd given my E-trip a good go, and it was time to stop stalking London for the night.

So that was a nice mini-trip through London, sponsored by Google. I know there are some drawbacks with the way we've allowed technology to infiltrate our lives, but I think it's just amazing that you can sit in the comfort of your own home, in your pajamas, and see somewhere you've never been. Granted you can get the sounds, smells, or tastes of a city through google, but you really can get all the sights.
I highly recommend it! 

(All photos are property of Google)