Clarice: Full Season
July 8, 2021 2:37 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

A look at the untold personal story of FBI agent Clarice Starling, as she returns to the field about a year after the events of The Silence of the Lambs (1991).

The series unwraps a lot of the trauma from Silence of the Lambs, and has an interesting case to puzzle out over the 13 episode season.

It sort of feels like Kurtzman and Lumet wanted to explore the world of Clarice Starling and the FBI, but without the poorly aged baggage from the books and movie, so it leans into how Ardelia would react to her classmate being the golden-haired wunderkind, or how Catherine Martin would have reacted after being rescued.

On the one hand, writing it as a continuation of the late 80s novel / early 90s film allowed it to have some room for retro exposition, but on the other hand I think they ran into a few unavoidable anachronisms.

If you were expecting more Hannibal, it wasn't that. If you bailed after a couple of episodes because it was kind of a clunky procedural-of-the-week, maybe give it a few more episodes until the larger plot starts rolling.
posted by Kyol (10 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
And hey, it has the usual clown brigade complaining that it's just woke trash, so it has that going for it.
posted by Kyol at 2:38 PM on July 8, 2021 [5 favorites]

I'm only a few episodes into it, but I really like it.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:26 PM on July 8, 2021

If you were expecting more Hannibal, it wasn't that.

But I want more Hannibal, dammit !
posted by Pendragon at 1:48 AM on July 9, 2021 [7 favorites]

Me too, but not here. (Although I'm not quite sure where the story could go from there, but, well, who knows.)

That said... Not being able to use anything from "Silence of the Lambs" didn't seem to get too much in the way of the operatic violence that was "Hannibal." (Miriam was the closest they got to Clarice)

On the other hand, I think that being limited to "Silence of the Lambs" content without so much as saying the "H" name is helping push "Clarice" in interesting directions. I think one of the big themes in the movie that got kind of minimized as it became a cultural *thing* (and then Harris went all-in on Hannibal-centered stories) was how much of Clarice's experience is being a woman who is vulnerable to and beset by male intimidation and violence and the ways the system treats a young woman. That's being an interesting exploration in the show, along with different ways people deal with their traumas.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:36 AM on July 9, 2021 [3 favorites]

Yeah, in researching this post to see how the show was hitting marginalized communities, I thought Queerty's interview with Jen Richards did a good job of covering a lot of the issues in the source material if you aren't familiar with them, as I wasn't.
posted by Kyol at 8:05 AM on July 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

"Clarice" hits the "X-Files" button with a mythology arc and stand-alone episodes. The cast is solid and the writing is very good. For a prime time detective series it does not go completely over the top with gore, but you definitely get the point with the autopsy photos and reveals.
Attention to detail is the takeaway for main plots and subplots. Primary cast members and guest actors are given lives outside of the current story, which can sometimes be an important point in later episodes.
Expect lots of gotcha moments, including the season one finale.
Though Hannibal Lecter is not present in the series, his impact is still felt by Clarice Starling. Her interactions with killers are reminiscent of Hannibal's conversations with those he deems unworthy. This is disturbing.
Alas, a second season may not be in the works.
posted by TrishaU at 12:02 AM on July 10, 2021 [1 favorite]

I’m five episodes in and I have some thoughts, randomly…

- I remember when we were all inflamed about Hannibal around here, everybody seemed to agree that the best possible casting choice to play Clarice Starling was Eliot Page. Rebecca Breeds is an amazing choice for Clarice though, and even has a very similar quality to Eliot Page. Her facial features somehow evoke Jodie Foster’s without really looking anything like her and she even occasionally looks like Julianne Moore. She leans into the West Virginia accent a bit harder than Jodie Foster did, which is interesting because Lecter pointed out that she was hiding it, and you could almost imagine Clarice might have decided to stop hiding it after that, out of spite.

- what I wouldn’t give to see Rebecca Breeds and Mads Mikkelson doing all of the Lecter/Starling scenes. Maybe with a nice Chianti.

- the copyright situation around Thomas Harris’ intellectual property is a Byzantine mess. I guess Jack Crawford originates in Red Dragon so he isn’t part of this world.

- it seems like trauma is looming large in the cultural zeitgeist lately. It seems like every new show I watch is about characters processing trauma

- despite the problematic aspects of Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon, these books have been a RICH vein of fascinating characters and storylines. Harris really hit on something primordial there. (I’m so glad he didn’t write any more books about these characters and risk tarnishing them).

- I like that the show is making space for Ardelia’s story and the institutional racism she’s confronting, in addition to continuing the movie’s theme of men in power undervaluing women.

Good show so far.
posted by wabbittwax at 9:22 PM on July 10, 2021 [2 favorites]

That Jen Richards interview at Queerty is wonderful, Kyol; thanks for the link.
posted by mediareport at 10:03 PM on July 12, 2021

Wow so is this guy Esquivel an ex-sniper or not? I can't tell, beyond somebody mentioning it six times every episode.

Good show, however.
posted by turbid dahlia at 1:24 AM on July 15, 2021

I just finished watching the thirteenth episode. I liked Silence of the Lambs, fucking hated Hannibal (all that artistically stylized violence, the reverential treatment of a serial killer, everyone was so completely fucked up, ugh), and enjoyed this. I even feel like I want to re-watch Silence of the Lambs and then re-watch this. Rebecca Breeds somehow channels Jodie Foster's rendering of Clarice in such an uncanny way that I don't even feel like I'm watching a different actress.

The format was good, with a procedural of the weeks with a season-long arc, and there were so many solid, diverse characters.

One quibble... it didn't feel like it was set in 1992 at all. The fashions and hairstyles and set décor were way too modern. It felt like a bunch of people from 2021 playacting with a bunch of old tech.

I still enjoyed it a lot and hope there'll be more seasons.
posted by orange swan at 8:04 PM on August 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

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