Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen steps into the iconic role of Hannibal Lecter in NBC's new series, "Hannibal," premiering at 10 p.m. Thursday on NBC.. (Brooke Palmer photo)
Hugh Dancy plays FBI agent Will Graham, whose unique way of thinking lets him empathize with anyone -- including psychopaths. (Brooke Palmer photo)
At 10 p.m. Thursday, "Hannibal" premieres on NBC.This latest incarnation of the Lecter universe is set in the earliest stages of the relationship between FBI agent Will Graham (Clarice Starling's predecessor) and the brilliant but deadly psychiatrist, back when Graham was Hannibal Lecter's patient. It's a prequel to "Red Dragon," Thomas Harris' first Lecter novel.Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen stars in the role made famous by Anthony Hopkins. You might recognize him as another villain: Le Chiffre in Daniel Craig's first James Bond outing, "Casino Royale." It will be interesting to see his take on such an iconic character.British actor Hugh Dancy ("King Arthur," "Confessions of a Shopaholic") plays his foil, Will, a criminal profiler. Will's profiling is aided by his "gift" of empathy, which allows him to get into the mind of anyone — including psychopaths. One killer proves too complex for him, though, and that's how he ends up in Lecter's acquaintance.
The show also stars Lawrence Fishburne, who plays Graham's boss, and was created by Bryan Fuller, the man behind the canceled-too-soon "Pushing Daisies" and the first season of "Heroes."Fuller calls the show "elegant horror," and horror it is. Even in previews, there is graphic, violent imagery, perhaps even darker than what we've already seen in envelope-pushing shows like "Criminal Minds" and "The Following." The show certainly won't be for the faint of heart.Also premiering, but much less exciting, is "Ready for Love"
at 9 p.m. Tuesday. On it, three well-to-do men will have wannabe lovers — chosen by "the three best matchmakers in the world" — competing for their affection.Plus, according to the network's press site, the show will have "24-hour storytelling through the Facebook pages for [executive producer Eva] Longoria, the eligible guys, the matchmakers and the women looking for love," so those of you not content with Facebook-stalking people in your own lives can now stalk random TV folks.The network is making some changes to its schedule starting this week.First, Matthew Perry's sitcom "Go On"
shifts to the Thursday night comedy block starting today, where it will finish its season with episodes at 9:30 p.m. this week and next. (It's a safe bet to be renewed.)Then, "Smash"
skips the Friday night graveyard and moves straight to the Saturday night gates of oblivion beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday. That's the timeslot where it will burn off what are sure to be the show's final eight episodes.
*****Series premieres: "Casino Confidential," 8 p.m. Thursday, TLC (the inner workings of a Vegas resort); "The Sheards," 10 p.m. Sunday, BET (gospel superstar family); "Find Me My Man," 9 p.m. Tuesday, Oxygen (matchmaking for Miami women); "The Kandi Factory," 10 p.m. Tuesday, Bravo (mentoring aspiring musicians); "Deep South Paranormal," 10 p.m. Wednesday, Syfy (investigating Southern spooks).Season premieres: "Men at Work," 10 p.m. Thursday, TBS; "Tabatha Takes Over," 10 p.m. Thursday, Bravo; America's Worst Tattoos," 9 p.m., and "NY Ink," 10 p.m. Thursday, TLC; "Michael Feinstein's American Songbook," 9 p.m. Friday, PBS; "My Cat From Hell," 8 p.m. Saturday, Animal Planet; "Mad Men," 9 p.m. Sunday, AMC; "River Monsters," 9 p.m. Sunday, Animal Planet;"T.I. and Tiny: The Family Hustle," 10 p.m. Monday, VH1; "Counting Cars," 9 p.m. Tuesday, History Channel; "Toy Hunter," 9 p.m. Wednesday, Travel Channel.Returning: "Undercover Boss," 8 p.m. and "Vegas," 9 p.m. Friday, CBS (note new "Vegas" night); "Hart of Dixie," 8 p.m. Tuesday, CW.Special night: "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project," 9 and 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Fox.
Season finales: "Freakshow,"
9:30 p.m., and "Comic Book Men,"
10 p.m. Thursday, AMC; "Archer,"
10 p.m. Thursday, FX (part one of two); "North Woods Law,"
10 p.m. Thursday, Animal Planet; "Big Rig Bounty Hunters,"
10 p.m. Thursday, History; "Kourtney and Kim Take Miami,"
9 p.m. Sunday, E!; "Mob Wives,"
10 p.m. Sunday, VH1; "The Carrie Diaries,"
8 p.m. Monday, CW; "Being Human,"
9 p.m. Monday, Syfy; "Burning Love,"
10 p.m. Monday, E!; "Monday Mornings,"
10 p.m. Monday, TNT; "The Millionaire Matchmaker,"
9 p.m. Tuesday, Bravo; "Cougar Town,"
10 p.m. Tuesday, TBS.Special: "General Hospital: The Real Soap Dish,"
9 p.m. Saturday; "Academy of Country Music Awards,"
8 p.m. Sunday, CBS; "Celebration of Gospel 2013,"
8 p.m. Sunday, BET; "Making of 'Defiance,'"
11 p.m. Monday, Syfy (behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming series); "Carol Burnett: A Woman of Character"
and "Carol Burnett and the Funny Ladies,"
8 and 9 p.m. Tuesday, PBS.W.Va. alert: Chesapeake native and Riverside High School graduate Ryan Dorsey appears on TNT's "Southland,"
10 p.m. Wednesday, as Cody Carlos, part of a pair of meth heads who kidnap Cooper and Lucero. (He appears April 17, too.)
Reach Amy Robinson at email@example.com.