Criminal Minds, Perception, and Elementary, and CSI (all shows I enjoy), where there is an FBI group that solves crimes via behavioral analysis (Criminal Minds), but instead of a team there is one person that can quickly deduce facts in a scene (Elementary) but is somewhat psychologically damaged (Perception), while using a backwards, 'lead from the evidence' type of maneuver (CSI), but from a behavioral standpoint instead of a trace evidence standpoint. However, there is one hook this show has that the others do not: characters that we have grown to enjoy over decades of media entertainment.
I do not envy Hugh Dancy, who steps into a role that was played by some amazing character actors. The role of Special Agent Will Graham was first played by William Petersen in the 1986 film, Manhunter, then again by Edward Norton in 2002s Red Dragon. However, Dancy does an excellent job of playing the brilliant, yet psychologically unbalanced, special agent. Then there was the role of Hannibal Lecter; which we Americans have learned to love watching Anthony Hopkins portray. Instead of making the role English, as Hopkins did, Mads Mikkelsen kept his Danish accent to play an Eastern European Hannibal, which makes more sense given the name. Mads can be difficult to understand at time during the show, but the magic in his acting comes from the stoic appearance, with depraved micro expressions. In the first episode the camera lingers on him as he takes in a bloody scene and if you look closely you see a slight curl of the corner of his lip. I loved it, it washed away all of my concerns about understanding him in the rest of the show.
Now, I need to watch more of these episodes to give my total impression; however, if the writers have chosen to stay focused on the relationship between Graham and Lecter then this show will stand on its own merit; but if they focus too much on the cases it will really have to do better, as there are a lot of similar shows already available for our viewing pleasure. Though, making it a late spring edition could be a stroke of genius in giving the viewer time to adjust out thinking to the story they want to tell us in this series.
For those concerned with the violence: This is a gory show, which is why it has the late time slot I am sure. Do not be concerned that it is as gory as the movies, there is some blood spurting and a lot of innuendo as to what Hannibal is eating. Just keep in mind they have about stretched the television limits for gore - but not too far.