For fans of the murder genre, the television has a lot on offer
The new trend in Tamil cinema can be accurately summed up by the words natpu, sarakku and thaththuvam, and the Hollywood equivalent of that is vampires, zombies and serial killers. While it can be said of the first two genres that there has been resurgence in the past few years, there has never really been a lull in the serial killer stories.
Our fascination with this genre largely stems from a curiosity about minds that work differently to ours. A person devoid of normal emotion — someone with no empathy — is both frightening and exciting at the same time. Right from Norman Bates in Psycho, through Hannibal Lecter in The Silence Of The Lambs to the recent Zodiac killer from, well, Zodiac, the genre has brought forth many memorable characters over the years.
And television has not been sitting idle either. Last year saw Dexter coming to a rather tame end after eight brilliant seasons. But even with this loss, fans of the genre were left with a lot to choose from. Both Bates and Lecter have been reincarnated for the small screen on Bates Motel and Hannibal respectively, both of which are prequels chronicling their early years. While Bates Motel has received critical acclaim, Hannibal has suffered from wrong casting decisions that have marred an otherwise well-written drama. Nevertheless, these shows are drawing in the crowds.
Elsewhere, Kevin Bacon stars in The Following, following in the footsteps of other A-list Hollywood stars that have turned to television. The show follows an FBI agent who tracks down serial killers. And while the writing is above par, the show falls into familiar formulaic territory with twists and reveals placed at appointed times — a remnant of other shows from the noughties like Supernatural, House and Castle.
But if formula isn’t you thing despair not, for where The Following has just one A-lister on its payroll, HBO’s new series True Detective has three! Yes, Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson and Michelle Monaghan have come together in this crime drama set in Louisiana of the 90s. Gritty and unrepentant with sombre visuals, haunting music and brilliant writing, this show has garnered a lot of interest, despite being only three episodes in.
But it’s not just the Americans who like their psychopaths — season 2 of The Fall starring Gillian Anderson (or Agent Scully as she is better known) is currently in production. As is typical of the BBC, the first series comprises just five one-hour episodes. Set in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the show portrays the story from two perspectives — that of the serial killer (who is a grief counsellor) and of the Met detective who tries to track him down. With good writing and a character-driven story, this is definitely one to look out for. So whichever side of the Atlantic you prefer, your appetite for serial killers is well satisfied.