This year it felt like an all at war of the minds as we watched serials killers try to outwit the good guys. Hannibal Lecter and Joe Carroll took viewers into the darkness of the human soul. They showed us the trouble with trusting people is that you take them at face value. You can fear the unknown all you like, but the true danger can be living next door. But, evil is not created equal and there’s always a darker force waiting in the shadows. The question has to be asked, which is serial killer is better? Hannibal or Joe Carroll?
When The Following started, it was able to maintain a sense of fear in viewers. The idea that close friends, neighbors, and family members could be apart of a cult, ready to kill at any moment, caused some chills. Trust is an important tool in our survival. Slight debates begun on who would come out as the newest follower in the show. One of the biggest draws to the show became it’s over the top reaching. While Joe Carroll was clever and charming, it is still hard to believe that he could gain as many followers as he did. His obsession with writing “their (Ryan Hardy and his) sequel” took the edge off of him. Joe Carroll quickly devolved in the first season. He lost most of his charm and wit.
Hannibal had the opposite effect. The series started off showing hints to the true nature of Hannibal Lecter. Every week, there was a new serial killer and every week Hannibal would either have to lie, misdirect, or manipulate those working the case. He was quick to find an advantage in any situation and showed no guilt, fear, or worry over being caught. There was a sense of quietness to the character that made him feel like a hunter. His method of murder changed to fit his needs. No one is safe around him. He makes a move and has planned out the next five steps. Mads Mikkelsen is doing a noble job at capturing the character of Dr. Lecter. It feels as though he is always planning, replanning, and trying to find the right course of actions for his needs.
Both The Following and Hannibal have been renewed for a second season. The two shows have interesting moments, but Hannibal is able to touch on the elements of what makes a true serial killer, while crafting a slightly believable storyline. Joe Carroll is too flashy, too self-centered to be able to function as a serial killer for very long. He seemed to be the kind of killer who would phone the police and tell them they had it wrong. Meanwhile, Hannibal would enjoy the fact that someone else took the blame for his crimes. He enjoys toying with people and his freedom too much to care about gaining credit. This is why Hannibal will always be the better serial killer and a must see next season.