And I could have written what I wrote in a paragraph, no apologies necessary.
Interesting comments, and it is an interesting subject. I think it should be for anyone who writes or who enjoys trying to understand ‘what is going on in society’ backtracking from such shows that they might popularly engage in. Hannibal Lector and the mythology of the series is one of the more fascinating of these topics out there.
I can not speak much on the original poster’s writing, as he is dealing with abstract models of society and trends which I do not rely on, though I do agree with that subset of the population that there are severe problems in society, globally, which will eventually demand a rectification, or reckoning.
You do hit at an excellent point in contrasting the two Hannibals. In the new show, he should be expected to not show his “teeth”, whereas in the original series people have already seen his “true nature” and so he has less reason to hide it.
That very aspect of the show, actually, I find one of the most engaging aspects of it. The secrecy, the duplicity, the battle of wits, the power he displays in controlling people…? I am not sure if that was what was so engaging about it. I have seen that interplay in other shows, and Dexter, in some seasons, well played it.
Perhaps it is the contrast between the “shown self” and the “hidden self” which makes that manner of story strain so interesting? The audience sees the “hidden self” (and so we would think closer to the “true self”), whereas the audience also sees the “shown self”. That contrast is dramatic and made deep, perhaps a difficult thing to do.
Though, I have long had an interest in that manner of character, for one reason, because it does tend to be popular: the spy or secret police agent, the superhero, and not infrequently in supernatural series tends to attempt to depict and draw out a deep contrast between “what some see” and “what the audience is intimately made privy to”. In our own psychology, we all also have layers, where we share one side or sides of ourselves, while our intimate selves are closely guarded. So, perhaps, that is part of the allure of this manner of character?
In the original series there is also a hinted at, and very strange, but I find potentially alluring concept: with both Buffalo Bill and the Red Dragon Killer (I forget his name)… Hannibal mentions his understanding of their psychology as their each trying to work a personal “transformation” which is never adequately explained but seems as if some manner of secret he has shared with his patients.
On “anti-hero”, I would agree that at the end of the last season, Hannibal did seem to move from sketchy anti-hero to outright villain. And at the end of the first season, we also saw such a transition. In one case, he befriended Will Graham, which was redeeming, but then it turned out he was false in his intentions and betrayed him for something as minor and selfish as saving his own skin. In the second season, I do not entirely recall what he did which had him end up, in my mind, as going full on villain, though I do recall he brutally attacked Will Graham, and some others.
I would likely have to rewatch some of those episodes to really look at his actions and try and understand what actions might contain reveal some manner of universally acknowledged condemnatory aspect about them. Which also usually involves considering the shown and apparent intentions behind the actions.
I do expect the writers to be switching the character back and forth between villain and anti-hero. And they seem to enjoy trying to leave the audience wondering. Will the audience find themselves rooting for someone they later discover is atrocious? Reminds me of a story where a prank is played and someone is given disgusting food to eat, such as cow penis, disguised as something acceptable, like flank.
Which, of course, is exactly the sort of thing Lector was shown to do to the audience’s horror in this very season.
(And what does that mean? Why does that concept fascinate people? Does it tie into the fact that we all suspect at times something we might fully buy into is actually entirely disgusting? The fear of being wrong, yet the certain knowledge we likely are?)