Every once in a blue moon, something comes along that rattles your cage, gets those brain gears spinning. For yours truly, that was the TV series, Hannibal. Now, before you start picturing me with a glass of Chianti, let’s get one thing straight. It’s not the blood and gore, nor the tantalizingly twisted relationship between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham that got me thinking. Nope. It was the fate of the show itself.
This isn’t your run-of-the-mill, churned out of the TV factory show. They gave it the boot after three seasons, but it had me chewing on the concept of success. You know, that eternal tango between blending in and standing tall, between riding the wave and making your own current.
Hannibal, it’s a work of art. Like a Rembrandt in a world of Sunday painters. Like a Picasso in a world of paint-by-numbers. It’s a symphony playing its own tune amidst the honky-tonks of pop culture. The dance between Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham is a Texas waltz, far from ordinary, carrying a sort of romance that teeters on the edge of the rulebook. But despite all its flair, the show didn’t quite hit that sweet spot of mass popularity.
Let’s take a leaf out of Hannibal’s book—the man, not the show—who, despite his, uh, unconventional culinary preferences, is a master at adapting to his surroundings while staying true to his nature. He’s got this duality down to a tee. He’s part of the society, yet distinctly apart from it. He’s both a predator and a charmer, a monster and a gentleman.
Now, I’m not suggesting we all develop a taste for human flesh, but there’s a lesson to be learned here. In life, just like in the savage world of TV ratings, it’s not about choosing between appealing to the masses or staying true to oneself. It’s about finding a balance between the two. It’s about learning to navigate the world while retaining our essence, our individuality.
Is success all about the big cattle herd? Is it about raking in the greenbacks and getting a standing ovation? Sure, Hannibal had its reasons for getting the axe. High production costs, piracy issues, scheduling hiccups. But it all boils down to whether a masterpiece retains its luster if it doesn’t have a standing reservation at the mainstream rodeo. If it’s a caviar in a world hooked on fast food. If it’s a fine wine in a world hooked on cheap beer.
That got me thinking about us, about how often we water down our special brew, dilute our essence to fit in, to resonate with the crowd. What is success, really? Is it about the crowd, the applause, the fame? Or is it about the heart, the soul, the vision?
What’s the secret recipe, you ask? Well, if I knew that, I’d probably have my own TV show by now. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching Hannibal, it’s that success isn’t just about numbers. It’s about impact. It’s about staying with people long after they’ve turned off their TVs or closed their books. It’s about making a difference to that one person in the crowd, rather than being a forgettable face in the sea of mediocrity.
So, where does Hannibal saddle up in all this? It’s a reminder, a cautionary tale, and an inspiration. It reminds us that brilliance and popularity don’t always share a bunk. It cautions us about the pitfalls of chasing mass appeal. And it inspires us to stay true to our essence, to craft something we’re proud to put our brand on, even if it doesn’t catch every cowpoke’s eye.
Hannibal may not have lasted as long as we’d have liked, but it left an indelible mark on those who appreciated its craft. It dared to walk the path less traveled, and in doing so, it reminded us that success isn’t always a synonym for popularity.
Would you rather be a crowd-pleasing sitcom that runs for 10 seasons or a tour de force like Hannibal that left its mark in just three? Would you rather blend into the herd, comfortable but unnoticed, or stand tall, facing the heat but staying true to your brand?
Now, I’m not suggesting we all turn our backs on the limelight, or not try to be the belle of the ball. Life ain’t a black or white picture. It’s a kaleidoscope, full of colors and shades, and we’re the artists painting our own story every day with our choices, actions, and words.
So, next time you find yourself at the crossroads of life, wondering whether to follow the crowd or carve your own path, remember this—it’s not an either-or situation. It’s a balance, a dance, a banquet of choices. And just like Hannibal, we’re all guests at this feast. So, don’t just eat to live. Live to feast.