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Just What You've Always Wanted

Lifetime Is Developing a Series About Clarice Starling and There Is Nothing We Can Do to Stop Them


Omigod, you guys, can you just picture what the life of plucky detective Clarice Starling was like before she met that creepy Hannibal Lecter? Lifetime is in the “early stages of development” for a show exploring just that, and aren’t you just totally excited? I’m kidding. You’re probably thinking that’s kind of a dumb idea, aren’t you? Let’s go ahead and judge this thing before it’s even reached actual development! Meet me after the jump!

So, fans of The Silence of the Lambs know that Clarice Starling (originally played by Jodie Foster, who won an Oscar for the role, then by Julianne Moore in Hannibal, who won the chance to watch Ray Liotta have his brain eaten by Anthony Hopkins) does actually have a somewhat troubled past; her father, a cop, was shot and killed when Clarice was 10 years old. She then lived on her uncle’s farm, where she witnessed a lamb being slaughtered. And then she ran away, ending up in an orphanage. But then, she grew up into a perfectly functional adult and attended the University of Virginia, followed by FBI training school where she desired to pursue serial killers for a living.

And it’s that time in Clarice’s life that Lifetime wants to turn into a series. The fresh-out-of-FBI-academy Clarice, who is just starting to work with the scary, scary serial killers.

I believe the appropriate question here is this: Why Clarice Starling? Why delve into the mythology of a story that’s actually about Hannibal Lecter if it takes place in a time before Clarice ever met Hannibal Lecter? Lifetime couldn’t come up with an original character? Surely if they wanted to do a series about a young woman beginning her career with the FBI who has some demons in her past, they could have come up with someone new rather than raise the hackles of so many fans of a beloved franchise of books and movies. On the other hand, Clarice Starling is a fascinating character who might deserve a closer look, perhaps in the form of a TV series.

Maybe it’s just the whole “Lifetime” thing we’re worried about. While they are clearly making efforts to develop shows with strong female protagonists, this is still the channel on which I just watched Murder in the Hamptons. (Yeah, I watched that thing. Until it was over. Yup.) Yes, this is the channel that has Project Runway on it, and we love that show. But still — Lifetime. Lifetime.

So, let’s reserve judgement until it actually happens. Because it’s going to happen, and there’s nothing we can do about that.

ETA: It should be mentioned that NBC is also developing a prequel series based on the Hannibal Lecter story, except theirs is centered on FBI Agent Will Graham, who will be played by Hugh Dancy.

(TV Guide via /Film)

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  • Tromeritus Rex

    Arg, Jaime’s being all reasonable and stuff :D. I guess I’ll give Lifetime credit for *kinda* trying something different than their usual MO. Props if they move past the Smallville treatment and end up re-imagining SotL and Hannibal down the line. Darn it, now I’m cautiously excited.

    And I’ll respectfully disagree about delving into Hannibal’s origins; we got that already w/Hannibal Rising (written by the same creator of the other novels, mind you) and it was terrible. I think we have a tendency to overly humanize our protagonists atm, villain or not, which lead to some awfully corny scenes and cringe-inducing leaps of logic for the sake of the feelz.

  • Nick Gaston

    Ironically, it turns out Clarice’s first years with the Bureau had her assigned to the Classy Gentleman Art Thief task force. The series’ soundtrack ends up being about 80% jazz piano.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1133971883 Jeff Demos

    So it’s basically Law & Order SVU, with different actors……

  • Anonymous

    I am hesitantly cool with the NBC series since it will be based on the first Hannibal book, Red Dragon (I assume). But then again…I feel like no Hannibal will be as excellent as Anthony Hopkins

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Both sound bad.

  • Anonymous


    I believe the appropriate question here is this: Why Clarice Starling? Why delve into the mythology of a story that’s actually about Hannibal Lecter if it takes place in a time before Clarice ever met Hannibal Lecter? ” 

    You sound like a caricature. Why make a show about a female character when clearly the male character is superior? Gee. I have no idea. Now that you mention it., the concept is ridiculous on the face of it.

  • Anonymous

    Look, she is touching a Black person with some sort of tribal ritual.  She must be “cool.” 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1497212147 David Kerscher

    “Why Clarice Starling? Why delve into the mythology of a story that’s actually about Hannibal Lecter if it takes place in a time before Clarice ever met Hannibal Lecter?”
    Ummmm….  because it doesn’t?  You say yourself that the series will be about ”fresh-out-of-FBI-academy Clarice”.  Clarice Starling was still a student at the FBI academy when tabbed to help with the Buffalo Bill investigation in Silence of the Lambs.  

    Come on  - you didn’t even have to read the book to know that – it’s in the movie, too.