How is it possible that shows like Dexter and Hannibal are so popular?
Very nice topic to discuss! If only I had had more time, I would surely do this. We can discuss who shows like this are both, a good and a bad thing in our society. – Abhimanyu Shekhar6 years ago
I like this topic, and it's very interesting to talk about how its done. The key to it is that the serial killer has to have a motive that is relatable to its viewers. Light Yagami from death note starts killing criminals because he wants the world to be a better place, and slowly over the course of the show he loses his way making his journey interesting. – Cojo6 years ago
I am one of those people who sympathize with such characters, they are always my favourites in the show. It's an interesting topic and I think it's important to discus why people like them so much. In Dexter's case especially it's easier for viewers to relate with him because he has "Harry's Code," shows present them as still having a sort of moral code. For example, Dexter's later girlfriend who is also a serial killer was not exactly a favourite character because she didn't share those moral guidelines and attacks Debra because she feels threatened by her ability to take Dexter's attention away from her. The show argues that Dexter can't help his urges, it's a mental disorder that he struggles to overcome. Hannibal doesn't have the same excuse as Dexter to be liked (underlying morals) but I think because he is presented as so intelligent and aware of what he's doing, viewers side with him because they feel that he's a product of his society. – Slaidey6 years ago
We can add The Following and Criminal Minds to the mix. To better tackle the question involves asking about popularity and does it make people more apathetic? Can we humanize them yet not forget their heinous acts? I suggest waiting until Richard Armitage does his take on Francis Dolarhyde to really get this topic cooking. – fdemelo6 years ago
Don't forget other shows that glamorize and almost sexually lavish themselves in serial murder. There was [The Following] and the failed attempted clone [The Cult]. [Dexter] is mild compared to [The Following] and [Hannibal]. – wolfkin6 years ago
There's definitely a romanticization element to it as well. Shows like Hannibal and Dexter have created fandoms where people even romanticize actual serial killers (i.e. entire blogs dedicated to Jeffrey Dahmer).
I also think it'd be helpful to note that this trend started in literature. Hannibal Lecter is Thomas Harris' creation in "Red Dragon" and "Silence of the Lambs." If you'd like to look to non-ficiton, there was also a bit of controversy surrounding Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" (which is also a movie) where he humanizes murderers Dick Hickock and Perry Smith to a point where Capote was speculated to have romantic feelings towards Perry Smith. – pixiemina6 years ago