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Hannibal Lecter is no Joe Carroll, but is that a good thing? Ask The Following

- January 21st, 2013

James Purefoy and Kevin Bacon

PASADENA, Calif. – The Following has been put in a bit of an uncomfortable situation because of what it’s following.

A consistent line of questioning at the recent Television Critics Association tour centred upon the relationship, if any, between TV and movie violence, and the percentage of people prone to committing violent acts in real life.

The violent acts that have plagued society in the past few months have been well documented, so there is no need to detail them here.

Specifically with regard to The Following, which debuts Monday, Jan. 21 on Fox and CTV, I have to tell you what my honest first reaction was when I watched it:

Sigh, ANOTHER show about killers. More specifically, another show about serial killers.

I almost felt guilty watching it.

That’s not to say The Following isn’t reasonably well done. It is. And with Kevin Bacon (above right) and James Purefoy (above left) leading the cast, it’s the biggest-buzz debut of TV’s “new fall,” a.k.a., January.

Bacon plays former FBI agent Ryan Hardy, who is called back to the bureau because of a serial killer he helped put behind bars. The killer’s name is Joe Carroll, played by Purefoy.

In addition to their “good guy versus bad guy” history, Ryan and Joe have a personal history as well. The latter seems to have made it his life’s mission to taunt and torment the former.

Ryan soon discovers that Joe has inspired an ever-growing cult of followers who are more than willing to do his bidding, either directly or philosophically.

“But these are people who don’t need the slightest bit of convincing to do the things that they do,” Purefoy explained.

“These are people who have joined up with (Joe) because he offers them a non-judgmental and a safe place to enact the things that they want to do. So these aren’t people who were forced to join a cult. These are absolutely willing accomplices.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about this and about The Silence of The Lambs, and that actually as we shoot the show more and more, I’m more and more convinced of how little Hannibal Lecter‘s vision … how unimpressive it is. Like, I mean, really, he could only see up to the next meal.”

To which Bacon added, “He (Hannibal Lecter) is no Joe Carroll.”

Amusing quips aside, the fog of violence in The Following is very thick. The show doesn’t break any of network TV’s content rules, obviously, but situationally, it can weigh on you.

To be clear, I am absolutely not pointing my finger at The Following and making it the poster boy for TV violence.

But an interesting question moving forward is whether TV audiences will continue to embrace shows that suggest or depict significant levels of violence, or if there’s any prospect at all of viewer fatigue.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

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1 comment

  1. Shaiaz Shah | December 25, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Personally ; Having watched both Hannibal Lecter and Joe Carrol ; l must say that Lecter is FAR more Cunning than Carrol. Why ?
    1. Carrol works with groups. Lecter works alone and gets all the work done on his own.
    2.Lecter escaped maximum security prison on his own. Carrol needed assistance.3.
    3. Carrol was captured twice and has been killed. Lectern was only captured once by pure luck . After his escape ; he has successfully evaded capture.
    4. Lecter only usually kills his victims to eat them. He has no motive to gain public attention. If he wanted to gain public attention ; then he would be far more successful than Carrol.
    5. Unlike Carrol ; Lecter actually survives in the end of the final film.
    6. Lecter is extremely calm ; unlike Carrol who tends to have fits of rage if things don’t go his way.
    7. Lecter staged a bloody dramatic escape from prison; evaded cops for 10 years and escaped Sardinian mercenaries.
    8. Carrol targets col ledge girls. Easy prey. Lecter has killed soldiers( as a boy) cops and criminals.

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