Hello, Clarice...the new TV show adaptation

The tale of Hannibal Lecter has inspired another TV show- but this time, Clarice is in the spotlight in the newest CBS series

Elizabeth Meade
15th February 2021
Credit: IMDb
The new CBS series Clarice, starring Rebecca Breeds and which premiered on 11 February, focuses on Starling's life one year after the events of The Silence of the Lambs.

After a multitude of film and TV adaptations of Thomas Harris' bestselling Hannibal Lecter series, Clarice Starling, the protagonist of the series' second book The Silence of the Lambs and the film of the same name, is now the protagonist of her own series, separate from the serial killer who features centrally in most other adaptations.

The series makes connections to past events in Starling's life, while continuing to take her story in a new direction

The trailer gives us little information of what is to come, but the newest- in which young Starling tries to save a lamb from slaughter at her family's farm- alludes to her famous lines about screaming lambs and suggests a deeper look into her backstory. An earlier trailer portrays her tracking a new serial killer, struggling for career recognition as a woman and facing a competitive environment in Washington, D.C. Referencing key scenes and plot points from the original film, the trailers suggest that the series makes connections to past events in Starling's life while continuing to take her story in a new direction.

The newest TV show focuses on Clarice, rather than Hannibal. Credit: IMDb, 1991 Twentieth Century Fox.

Having never seen The Silence of the Lambs (1991), I can't predict whether Breeds' performance (and her script) will live up to audience expectations and perceptions of Starling's character. However, I think there is ample opportunity to explore her past based on hints Harris weaves into the original novel. Historically, the series' adaptations have received mixed reviews- while The Silence of the Lambs and the Hannibal series, based largely upon Red Dragon (2002), received widespread acclaim, earlier adaptations of the books received contemporary attention without a permanent place in the public zeitgeist.

I believe the success of this show will depend on the degree of faithfulness to the suspenseful storytelling that characterises the franchise and the character's signature traits.

Credit: TV Promos on YouTube.
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