The Following revolves around Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon), a former FBI agent who years ago put away serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) at great cost to his own physical and mental health. The FBI enlists his help when a coven of killers are unleashed on the world.
Others in the cast include Shawn Ashmore, Annie Parisse, Adan Canto, Kyle Catlett, Natalie Zea, Nico Tortorella, and Valorie Curry.
Does it sound like an interesting TV series? Is it worth watching? Here’s what some of the critics think:
LA Times: “It is a Very Big Deal that Bacon has come to television; anyone who saw his performance as the self-loathing pedophile in 2004’s The Woodsman knows that when a story goes dark, Bacon does not mess around. He may be playing a familiar character, but he plays the heck out of him. Purefoy as Carroll is no slouch either; he creates a villain so seductive he doesn’t have to leave his jail cell to continue his killing spree.”
NY Times: Carroll’s obsession with Poe gets a little silly, especially when characters use literary exegesis to decipher clues. (The raven, one says, symbolizes ‘the finality of death.’) But there is nothing funny or arch about The Following. Like so many prime-time shows it traffics in gruesome depictions of death, but it also takes its violence seriously. And that’s not such a bad thing these days.
Boston Globe: “This new series goes for generic thrills, using a lot of horror-story clichés. It’s a well put together show, but the writing doesn’t invite bigger thoughts, which is what violent cable series such as Dexter and Boardwalk Empire have done at their best. It just grabs us with an arsenal of bloody, familiar tricks.”
Kansas City Star: “The Following, having upped the network gore ante, will probably be a ratings monster, despite falling short of the quality cable fare Bacon could have scored. Or the country may turn away, finally weary of watching women and children in danger through the cracks between their fingers.”
USA Today: “Whether it’s a game you want to see played is a different matter. Some may grow tired of following a hero who always seems to be a crucial step behind, while others will be uncomfortable with the joy the show seems to take in mayhem… Whether you let your own child see it is up to you, though I can’t help hoping the answer is ‘no.’ Still, if what you want for yourself is a network series that will effectively and efficiently chill you to the bone, here it is. Follow at your own risk.”
NY Daily News: “If The Following isn’t always Hitchcock, it rarely gives the viewer any reason to relax and never offers much reassurance about who will win in the end. Not everyone wants this in a TV show, and even those drawn to Bacon, Purefoy and Zea may find the introduction rough. But those who can stand the seas will enjoy the ride.”
Star-Ledger: “The supporting cast is strong, including Annie Parrise (Law and Order’s Alexandra Borgia) as a sharp-eyed FBI cult specialist and Shawn Ashmore (Iceman of X Men) as an eager-beaver young agent who seems to idolize Hardy, although the body count for the white hats mounts pretty fast.”
What do you think? Does The Following sound like it’s your kind of show? Will you watch? If you’ve seen it, will you watch again?