The cancellation of Hannibal a few months ago was a particularly harsh blow to intelligent, artful TV.
The series, which dealt with the life and exploits of Hannibal Lecter before Silence of the Lambs, was regularly praised for its incredible writing, strong visuals and pitch-performances by Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy. In fact, the show was so popular that it was the 5th most pirated of 2013.
It's that very reason that producer Martha DeLaurentiis believes contributed to Hannibal's eventual cancellation from television. "When nearly one-third of your audience for Hannibal is coming from pirated sites... You don’t have to know calculus to do the math. If a show is stolen, it makes it difficult, if not impossible, to fairly compensate a crew and keep a series in production," explained DeLaurentiis in a recent interview.
She makes a fair point, to be honest. Hannibal always had a small viewership, however those who were committed watched it however they could and, yes, some of it came from piracy. However, it goes to show that if over 50,000 people are prepared to sign a petition begging NBC - the studio behind Hannibal - to put it back on the air, it's clearly got an audience - even if they can't be counted in the same way by ratings.
For their part, NBC were proud of Hannibal and promoted the show as best they could. What's more, everyone seems to have moved on to better things in the interim. Mads Mikkelsen is now lined up for Star Wars: Rogue One whilst Hugh Dancy is already signed up to upcoming TV series The Path. Showrunner Bryan Fuller, meanwhile, is taking over the Star Trek TV series and all signs so far for that endeavour are extremely positive.
While it all may have worked out for the topline people, Hannibal's demise does bring up an worrying trend for TV. Game of Thrones, as we know, regularly tops the piracy charts and HBO, for their part, don't give a crap. The audience is built by any means necessary, but if shows like Mr. Robot don't find an outlet outside of the US, what are people to do but pirate them?
Hannibal's cancellation means that if people want these shows to continue, they have to watch via conventional means. But how?
Who knows. All we know is we're still bummed out that Hannibal was cancelled.