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The reason Hannibal looks different on Netflix

Hannibal is an aesthetically beautiful show, even when those aesthetics happen to include gruesome murder scenes and dinner spreads made out of human body parts. Bryan Fuller's series caught the eye of audiences everywhere with its gorgeous visuals, but now that all three seasons are streaming on Netflix, the Fannibals have been treated to an added bonus. Not only is the show now easy to stream, but Hannibal on Netflix turned up the brightness and is streaming a much higher-quality version of the series than what aired back in the day. So, if it looks even better than it did before, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you.  

When a show appears on a new streaming service, something is often off in a bad way with the transfer — such as when The Simpsons on Disney+ angered fans by messing with the aspect ratio — so it's pretty cool that this is actually something Hannibal fans can get behind. The lack of brightness has been an issue with people who watch the show over the years, even if they loved Hannibal for its content and style. Fans joked about it on Tumblr. There are multiple threads on Reddit about problems with the show's brightness. "Hannibal is too dark," reads one ... and they're not talking about the show's macabre content. "Is anyone else bothered by the whole "darkness" of the show? Brightness levels," says another. 

Hannibal fans noticed the difference and took to Twitter

Detail-oriented Fannibals noticed the difference in the Netflix version, and took to Twitter to celebrate. One described it as "more accurate," and someone else compared it to watching the show on Blu-ray. Another said that new fans were "lucky" to be watching the show like this for the first time. "You can see EVERYTHING," said another fan, thanking Netflix. 

Casual viewers may not notice the difference, but take a close look at a shot from a season 2 episode on Netflix compared to the same shot from the same episode on Amazon Prime. Not only is the Netflix version brighter, but it's also a bit warmer in tone — suggesting that someone went back and color-corrected Hannibal as well upped the brightness. Previous transfers of the show used to be a lot more green, as you can see below. It's subtle, but the difference is there.

This update is especially heartening because it's not the first time that shows have been dinged by viewers for being too dark. Remember how mad everybody got when they couldn't see the Battle of Winterfell on Game of Thrones? Shows like The Walking Dead and Mr. Robot have had issues, as well. In 2018, TVLine's Matt Webb Mitovich wrote an open letter to television begging for Hollywood to stop making shows so dark that fans miss out on cinematography and plot points. When a "cinematic" show like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, or Hannibal is compressed for television, the video quality and brightness suffers. Hopefully, other shows can take the cue from Hannibal on Netflix and start offering brighter and clearer versions of other shows streaming online. Forgive the pun, but we've been in the dark for far too long.