Pretentious stems from the same root as pretense: something is pretentious when it’s faking its merit somehow, when it’s pretending to be something it’s not. It has to be empty, unworthy, having a façade to cover a lack of substance.
Hannibal is not pretending to be anything it’s not, artistically or otherwise. It has emotional and thematic substance behind its imagery and sound design and a dedication to delivering its story in a theatrical, consistently operatic manner. It’s lavish, outrageous, extravagant, over-the-top, overtly stylized, sometimes egregious (I’m looking at you, Mr. Wendigo)—but never pretentious.
There’s a part of the novel, Hannibal, from when Hannibal is preparing dinner for himself and Clarice, where he considers whether he has overdecorated, to the point of bad taste.
He could see that he had too many flowers in the room, and must add more to make it come back right again. Too many was too many, but way too many was just right.
You can argue that you don’t like Hannibal's style because it's not to your taste, that you just prefer minimalism in cinema—although I would side-eye you if you said that minimalism is intrinsically better than that which is ornate or lavish—but you cannot argue that this is a flaw in the show itself. If you think it doesn't have the substance to merit this level of chutzpah, you either didn't watch long enough, or most of the show went over your head.
(Source: bonearenaofmyskull, via fuckinghannibal)