When I read the announcement that Richard had been cast in Hannibal I cringed. I immediately wondered if the show was worth catching up on before his episodes will air, but I decided against it. I’m curious to see what he does with the character but the show itself is not something I could watch long term.
This brought to mind the videos that fans make of only Richard’s scenes, in any given project. I enjoy these videos and find them very convenient but sometimes they make it easy to forget about the rest of the story.
Richard is an ensemble player and so it’s essential to see who he’s playing off of and the atmosphere they are existing in, to get a well-rounded view of the character he’s portraying.
While I didn’t really need to watch the six preceding seasons of Spooks to understand Lucas, I did benefit from watching them. They introduced me to Adam and showed me his influence on the team, his personal connections to both Ros and Jo, and how bits of his personal history made him open to accepting Lucas so easily.
Viewing all six seasons also gave me insight into the political climate of the show, the red tape they often had to work around, and the constant game-within-a-game aspect of it all. So the second time I watched seasons 7-9, after catching up on 1-6, I had a better understanding of it all. The things that Lucas did made more sense to me within the overall framework of the show, instead of just how they fit into a study of Lucas North. It also helped me to look beyond Richard, to take off those rosy glasses and let myself get mad at Lucas for most of season 8.
The whys of season 9 were much louder coming from my mouth the second time around too because I knew Harry better, I knew Ruth better, I remembered Tom Quinn. I think viewing the whole picture is especially important in the smaller productions Richard has been a part of. Those stories don’t revolve around him, so I need to understand how much or how little his character is influencing the sequence of events. Most of the time I generally feel the same about things, regardless of whether I view it in whole or in pieces, but I feel it on a deeper level when looking at the whole story. It makes more sense to me because I can see how it all fits together instead of just relying on gut-instinct.
For example: my opinions of Paul and Alona from Between the Sheets didn’t change after I was able to watch more than just Paul’s scenes but I did understand better the world that Alona operated in. The way her shortcomings clashed with Paul’s became more apparent to me, and why they were together in the first place made more sense.
My gut-instincts and my empathy are the core of how I form impressions of people/situations, sometimes without anything concrete to base it on. I’ve learned to trust those instincts but not understanding why I feel the way that I do can end up closing me off to the multiple dimensions of something, leaving me with only a stale first layer.
This is why Richard’s particular brand of acting is so enticing to me. His eyes, his voice inflections, and his body language are all separate layers that work both with and independently of the dialogue and action. It’s a real thrill for me to see that, to feel it and understand it. To work my way through and around those layers. it affords me the chance to participate, to engage, instead of being led to how I should feel like an outdated laugh-track.
So, I guess this means I should savor my sleep while I can, doesn’t it? because I’ll eventually want to get the full effect of the Hannibal world. No need to rush it though…