On Tuesday, Lifetime announced plans for a risky new drama that will serve as a spin-off of the 1991 movie Silence of the Lambs — mere months after NBC announced an awfully similar plan of its own. Lifetime is developing Clarice, which follows FBI agent Clarice Starling — Hannibal Lecter's foe, played by Jodie Foster in the film — in the years after she graduates from the FBI academy. NBC's Hannibal, on the other hand, will focus on the early relationship between Lecter and FBI profiler Will Graham, explored in the 2002 film Red Dragon. (British actor Hugh Dancy will play Graham.) Both series are still in early stages of development and neither has a premiere date yet. But which sounds more promising?
The Lifetime series doesn't make sense: "Why Clarice Starling?" asks Jamie Frevele at The Mary Sue. It seems pointless to dive into the mythology of the Hannibal Lecter series before the central character even meets Hannibal Lecter. Presumably the network is in the market for a series about a young woman beginning her career with the FBI. But why not choose "someone new rather than raise the hackles of so many fans of a beloved franchise"?
"Lifetime is developing a series about Clarice Starling and there is nothing we can do to stop them"
Actually, Lifetime's series sounds promising: When NBC announced its show, the possibility of a competing project never crossed my mind, "simply due to how long the characters have been away from the screen," says Jessica Grabert at Cinema Blend. But this Clarice Starling project makes a lot of sense. Lifetime's programming has progressed from "featuring melodramatic plotlines with troubled and desperate women to featuring shows with strong women at the forefront." A Clarice drama should fit that mold quite nicely.
"Lifetime creating a series about Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs"
It will all hinge on casting: These shows can coexist, says Sandy Schaefer at Screen Rant: Clarice as a conventional crime drama centered on a slightly troubled protagonist, and Hannibal as a drama with an odd "buddy dynamic at its core." But the key to both shows' success will be who plays the pivotal lead roles. It will be no small feat to follow Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling. But perhaps the bigger hurdle will be living up to the "icon status" of Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal. If either series pulls off the tricky casting, they'll be worth tuning in to.
"Lifetime developing Clarice TV series, based on Silence of the Lambs character"