I watched the first episode on CBS all access, live when it aired. You don't need to know who Lecter is to understand the story, which is a nice touch. This is a story that deserves to be told, it focuses on the victims of serial killers and their survival, their families and the aftermath of a tragedy. It's not comparable to Hannibal because Hannibal focused on the crime and the perpetrator. Clarice gives another layer to the typical procedural cop show. It gives a voice to the people who were impacted by violence, including Starling's own coping or lack thereof.
Clarice is a rookie agent, who was thrown into a situation she didn't want to be in, nobody around her believes in her or the way she interprets the crime scenes. If you enjoyed Criminal Minds, you will appreciate this adaption of Clarice Starling. She is the OG profiler, trying to convince her unit that she knows what she's doing.
Bottom line, it's a great show and I'm looking forward to next Thursday.
Update: Episode 2 was better than the first, Clarice is starting to come into her own, she's learning to trust her team and her partner, is a dream. It's really too bad that he's fictional. The AG makes an appearance and I'm having a hard time believing that Ruth Martin, mother of the only survivor of Buffalo Bill, might be an antagonist...I like her. She's a mother, trying to convince Clarice to help Catherine and I hope we get to see more of that dynamic.