This past July at San Diego Comic Con The Following was unveiled at its introductory panel with actor Kevin Bacon as the lead and scare extraordinaire writer Kevin Williamson (Scream franchise) as executive producer and creator, it seemed like a recipe for success. As soon as I saw the promo for this, I was hooked and couldn’t wait until the show started. It looks interesting, fresh, scary and action-packed. Finally, January rolled round and as I settled down to watch the first episode one thing was going through my head as the episode went on – “Oh my God, this is amazingly awesome – I think I’ve just found my favourite new TV show.”
Now, four episodes in to the series, I still have some of that feeling left. The Following really is a fresh TV show, filled with violence, intrigue and suspense with every episode feeling quite cinematic in scale. It has intelligent writing and an interesting premise as a sophisticated, creepy serial killer leads his cult of ‘followers’ to enact their own murders. James Purefoy plays serial killer Joe Carroll and is fantastic in the role – sadistic, manipulative yet charming and suave. The first episode sees Carroll escape (quite calmly) from prison and from there the action doesn’t stop as the bodies mount up; more blood is spilled and the violence and twists and turns of the series lets you know that you are dealing with writers that are not afraid of killing their characters and to make bold moves. The scare factor is also visible in the first episode, with moments that make you jump and also the idea of the unknown as the writers leave you guessing.
As Ryan Harding, Bacon is cast a slightly stereotypical detective who’s had a hard life – attacked by Carroll he almost died and has since been trying to piece his life together. He is private, untrusting and carries a lot of baggage with him, never letting anyone in. He reminds you of a puppy that never got anyone to play with. The first episode also brings Maggie Grace in as a guest star playing Sarah Fuller a survivor of Carroll and his last victim. It’s a good ploy to bring in someone like Grace in a guest starring role and then kill her off at the end of the episode, again reiterating the fact the writers do not want their audience to be comfortable and that everyone is expendable.
The following episodes move the story along; it’s interesting that apart from Kevin Bacon they seem to give the ‘followers’ more screen time and more character development – the love triangle between Emma, Jacob and Paul is interesting, but creepy. The detectives that work with Ryan Hardy are also starting to take on their own characters, particularly Shawn Ashmore’s character Mike Weston – Ashmore brings a likeability factor which allows the audience to root for his character.
I still think this show has potential, but only time and more importantly rating figures will tell about how long this show will be around for after its initial first season 14-episode run. Until we know more, I say long live Kevin Bacon on a television screen!
Joe: You know the human eye is connected by seven different muscles. I removed each one individually. Do you know how hard that is to do?
Joe: I will be your friend Ryan. Even though you slept with my wife.
Ryan: If this book ends with anything other than your death, you better plan on a re-write.