Show Reviews

“The Following” (FOX)

the-following-cast-fox-kevin-baconWarning: SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW

Movie star Kevin Bacon makes his first official foray into television with the Fox drama, The Following. The series stars Bacon as Ryan Hardy, a former FBI agent that dedicated 18-months in tracking down serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy). When Carroll escapes years later, Hardy comes back to hunt him down.

The series really starts after Carroll surrenders again after he has some of his “friends” kidnap his son. Hardy realizes there are many copycats out there and has to use his resources in the FBI to track them down.

The Following features a strong ensemble cast including Shawn Ashmore (Animorphs, X-Men) and Natalie Zea (Justified) and relies heavily on Edgar Allan Poe references. While conventionally darker than normal broadcast dramas, the show brings Fox back to its edgier days in the 90s.

The series has also had a lot of negative publicity recently due to the Sandy Hook tragedies last December. While this might hold merit, the series does rely on strong writing and is highly topical. Serial killers have been looked at for years, going back to the Zodiac and recently with the Green River Killer. While shows like Criminal Minds have shown this in a procedural way, The Following does a great job with focusing on a single man.

What also helps The Following is that the show has a smaller episode order. In the vein of Bacon’s wife’s series The Closer, Fox agreed to a 15-episode order that will air uninterrupted. This not only helps from long hiatuses, but also keeps the writing sharper.

Time well tell if the general viewing audience is open to a broadcast series like The Following, or maybe we will see that the show was made for cable. But Fox must be applauded for taking the risk, because this series is the best hour of drama television airing right now.

UPDATED: The Following debuted to a strong 3.2 in the 18-49 last night with over 10.4 million viewers. That’s just .1 lower in the 18-49 than Alcatraz debuted to last spring, but much higher than The Mob Doctor which debuted to a 1.5 this fall, when ratings are generally higher in the fall.

This makes The Following the second highest new drama of the year, right behind NBC’s Revolution.

Final Grade: 9.5/10

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