TV Review: “The Following” – Not Even Worthy of a Participant

Written by Spencer Sterritt February 11, 2013

The Following, Bacon Goes Carrolling

“The Following” is being billed as the show that finally brought Kevin Bacon to television, and I honestly can’t tell you why he would sign up for such a derivative and blase show. Maybe he felt that his own following was diminishing, maybe he needed to get out of the house, or maybe his life is just a bit too peaceful at the moment and he needed a chance to scream and over-emote a lot. He is the only thing that “The Following” has going for it, but unfortunately even he, the great Kevin Bacon, can’t save the show.

“The Following” concerns itself with serial killers and cult, with Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) being the twisted, Poe obsessed killer at the center. Having been imprisoned for more than a decade, Joe has amassed quite a following of similarly Poe-obsessed killers due to his charisma and intelligence, and he makes use of all of them to bring about terrible crimes and twist the knife into everyone who has ever wronged him. Kevin Bacon plays Ryan Hardy, the FBI agent who put Carroll away in the first place.

Following All The Same Rules

Let me rattle off some of Ryan Hardy’s characteristics, and try to name as many shows as possible where you’ve seen them before. Ryan was kicked out of the FBI for being a hothead, but he gets called back because he knows Carroll best and he’s the best they have. Ryan got too close to Carroll before capturing him. Ryan is also a drunk (even though characters only mention this and he never seems either drunk or hungover). He has intimacy problems, a huge guilt complex, and an even bigger temper. As much as I love Kevin Bacon, even he can’t make anything out of this character. He’s stuck playing the typical angry cop with all the typical problems, and instead of making me root for him all it does is make want to see Kevin Bacon play a well-adjusted, in control, and nice cop.

The Following, Kevin Bacon's pensive face

He might just look depressed, but he is only thirty seconds away from flipping his shit.

No one else fairs any better. Poor Natalie Zea, last seen on “Justified” plays Carroll’s ex-wife and all she does is whine and yearn for some sort of male figure to be in her life. Carroll himself isn’t anything special, and even though James Purefoy is a lovely and charismatic actor, he isn’t given anything to do beside make cryptic statements and seem brooding.

Too Generic for Cable!

A lot has been made of the gore and blood on “The Following,” especially all the eye-gouging, but no one needed to worry about it. Sure there’s a lot of blood, and there’s a substantial body count after only three episodes, but none of the violence and gore sticks. It’s just blood for the sake of blood, as if throwing down two buckets of fake blood instead of just one will shock and disturb viewers.

It's sad when the promos are more disturbing than the show. I'm looking at you "American Horror Story!"

It’s sad when the promos are more disturbing than the show. I’m looking at you “American Horror Story!”

The over use of gore isn’t the only trap “The Following” falls into. If you have any sort of pet peeve with procedurals, whether big or small, chances are it will appear in the first few episodes. My biggest pet peeve with the show is how it rarely uses any other poem other than “The Raven.” If I see the word “Nevermore” scrawled in blood one more time, I’m going to flip.

It’s all a crying shame really, because I was really excited about “The Following.” It could have been a mature, groundbreaking network procedural, with Kevin Bacon of all people at the center! There’s a lot of potential depth in the story, especially in terms of who is the real following, the ones in the show or the people tuning in every week to see the latest eye-gouging. But instead “The Following” is more concerned about getting to the next gory murder scene, and it loses any chance of being a good show, even one with Kevin Bacon as the main character.

 My Rating: 4/10

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About Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt

Spencer Sterritt: former Editor-In-Chief for We Eat Films, future President of the Men With Beards Club, and hopefully candidate for ruler of the world.

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