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on November 12, 2013
The Following is the Spring sensation that took Fox viewers by storm and led to some of the highest ratings for a mid-season debut in network history. After watching one episode, I could see why this show was so popular, it really is right up my ally, and is easily one of the best written shows on network television.

10 years ago, College professor, Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), was convicted of the murders of 14 young women. He sits on death row, waiting to be executed, when he launches a daring escape. Completely stunned, the F.B.I. brings in the now retired agent who originally caught him to track him down. Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) is a troubled, lonely man, who just wants to move on with his life and leave all the horrors he's known behind him. Reluctantly, he agrees to find Carroll and to everyone's surprise, does it with ease. As it turns out, getting caught again was all part of Carroll's plan. While in prison, Carroll had spoken with and gotten to know many different people who admire what he did. The charismatic killer has tricked these people into believing that they need to give their lives meaning by being a part of something special, his resurrection. Carroll's getting easily captured by the F.B.I. was nothing more than a signal to his many followers to begin reeking havoc all over the eastern seaboard. The targets are seemingly anyone Carroll ever interacted with and the acts all meant to torment the man who caught him, Ryan Hardy. With no other choice, Hardy agrees to stay on and try to stop whatever was set in motion, before Carroll's plan can come to fruition.

I know what you're thinking, because I was thinking the same thing. It's a great story for one season, but how in the world can they continue this show after that, without it becoming old and repetitive. It was something I thought a lot about while watching this show, however my doubts may have been premature. The more this show continued, the better the writing got, and if anyone can keep this show interesting and fresh it's this talented cast and crew.

Kevin Bacon has always been a tremendously underrated actor, because for 30 years, he's simply been known as that guy from Footloose. I've seen many of his films and now his new TV show, and I have to tell you this guy is phenomenal. It wasn't just being able to pull of the character of Ryan Hardy, but also the chemistry he had with James Purefoy. Joe Carroll is one of the best villains I've seen since Hannibal Lechter and the chemistry Purefoy has with Bacon, easily rivals that of Hopkins and Foster.

The show is made even stronger by a tremendous support cast of complicated characters, all of whom have their own hidden past and issues that are brought to the table. Movie actor, Shawn Ashmore is terrific as the young agent who wants nothing more than the praise of his idol, Ryan Hardy. The boss is played by Annie Parisse, perhaps best known as A.D.A. Alex Borgia on Law & Order.

This show really has deep, well developed characters, that you get quickly attached to, and every time you think you know what's coming they throw a curve ball at you. The Following is such a strong story, that is so well written, that it really has the chance of being on the air for years.

Season one is now streaming on Netflix and season two debuts on Fox in January. I really can't wait to get there. Rarely do I watch shows on the air, I prefer to wait for the DVD to avoid the commercials and watch as much or as a little as I want. The Following is different though, because this show was just so amazing to me, that I honestly can't wait to see what season two has in store for me. I am more than willing to sit through the commercials in order to get there that much faster, and I think once you've seen this show, you'll feel the exact same way.
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on March 11, 2013
I love thrillers. I'm a bit over bloodiness -- it's tolerable here. The suspense is awesome on this!! Kevin Bacon's acting gets much better as the show progresses. I think they do a good job after the 3rd episode of building out the characters. Each show leaves with such a cliff-hanger I can hardly wait for the next episode. Interesting story line although I'll be very curious how they can keep it going after 1 season... seems to be the trend lately where shows fizzle out after one season of a strong plot. Stringing plots along season to season is key and many shows can't seem to succeed with that lately.

If you like thrillers and are looking for a new show, this is a must see!
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on February 27, 2013
Im not going to write a long review. And i am not going to compare it to novels or as in one review that actually got four stars, talk about how much carnage there is, and how long it will take for some sick person to copy what they see on tv? This is what everyone is giving 4 stars for? The story is about a guy who is a genius. He has a cult. "The Following"......Kevin Bacon a once, I think FBI agent, left the force, and was called back to help catch this guy and bring him in. But just cause he is in jail, doesn't mean his cult is not fully planned and doing as instructed. The force with Bacon's help is trying to solve all these bad things that keep coming up all through great planning of this psychopath.....In short Im sure we all have seen something like this in a movie at some point. But as for tv? I think it's fresh, and Bacon and im sorry i don't remember his real name (the bad guy in jail), he is just amazing and perfect for this role. could not get any better than him. All the acting in this is First class all the way. Very entertaining. This show will last as long as Bacon stays on. It's a six year contract. So if you like action, police shows, a little bit of cult thrown at you, then i think you will love this show. It's actually a rush. It moves fast when it needs to, and slows up for really intense moments. You really get to enjoy each scene. Great writing i think. It is certainly worth at least watching the first two episodes to see if you like it. My only complaint, is i wish they allowed Bacon a little more room to act. Meaning to open up just a little. I understand he has a rough past, but allow him character to let one of the agents closer to him even a little. It will also allow Bacon to use more of his acting skills. Great show. I hope they don't take it off the air......5 stars all the way.
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on March 16, 2015
If you want a summary of the premise for 'The Following', try this:

An FBI agent hunting a vicious serial killer seeks the aid of a brilliant university professor for his insight into the murderer's motivations. As it happens, the prof IS the serial killer. When the truth is revealed, a brutal life or death struggle ensues, except... neither man dies. The killer is fast, striking first and striking hard, but the agent hangs on to consciousness long enough to stop him from finishing the job. The psychopathic professor is badly wounded, but is patched up and sent to prison. The hero is more seriously injured, and bears emotional as well as physical scars. Years later, the now-retired agent is called upon to help with another series of killings that his maniacal nemesis is the key to stopping.

That's actually a summary of the premise for 'Red Dragon', but it also sums up the back-story for 'The Following' perfectly well, and comes pretty close to quite a few other serial killer movies and TV shows, of varying quality and limited originality, that have appeared since 'Silence of the Lambs'. The show's writer and creator, Kevin Williamson, knows all about clichés, making a name for himself with 'Scream'; it was a clever satire that played with the comically repetitive tropes of the horror genre, and a fairly suspenseful horror film in its own right. He also created 'Dawson's Creek', and some truly mediocre movies like 'I Know What You Did Last Summer'. There's no real excuse, then, for the criminally derivative aspects of 'The Following', especially coming from a writer as attuned to pop culture precedent as Williamson; actually, there's never any excuse for the recycled garbage that ends up as 'cop show 5267B', but...

'The Following' manages to rise above the mire from which it sprang, to some extent. The idea of a serial killer who becomes the leader of a cult devoted enough to carry out his nefarious, convoluted schemes, isn't THAT hard to accept, after the Manson family, and the Patty Hearst case, and Jonestown, etc. Memories of the Heaven's Gate cult, the corpses neatly arrayed in bunk-beds, with their identical track-suits and running shoes, provide a vivid example of the power a disturbed but magnetic guru can exert over followers; murder seems like it's just a couple stops past drinking the poisoned kool-aid on the weirdo-cult crazy train. The Manson family's brief rampage, however, has remained an isolated event in the annals of American crime. What's more, the power a cult leader exerts over his followers is based almost entirely on a freakishly powerful charisma, and once removed from that strange gravity, critical thought processes begin to function in whatever diminished capacity passes for normal amongst cult members, and loyalty wanes. Nevertheless, if the guru was charismatic enough, he might be able to pair his will with a pseudo-religion or philosophy compelling enough to start his own holy war.

The idea of using Edgar Allan Poe as a sacred text, however, is pretty uninspired. It's not as whacky as using the lyrics to a Beatles song as a divine manuscript, like Manson did, but 'truth is stranger than fiction', and fiction writers -- unfortunately -- have to try harder than Manson did for something believable; oftentimes motives are a mystery in the real world, but never in fiction. Williamson's use of Poe is pretty lazy. Once again, he stole the idea from 'Red Dragon', in which a serial killer has formulated his own hermetic philosophy based on the art and poetry of William Blake. Blake is a far more interesting inspiration than Poe, who is seemingly the writer of choice for every crappy horror movie and TV show. For all aspiring writers: you might think Poe, Dickens, and Twain are fascinating, and you might believe you have a profound connection to their literature, but dig a little deeper. Williamson, I think, just pulled the name closest to hand and easiest.

Everyone else involved tries harder than Williamson did, which isn't that unusual, in network television. James Purefoy is one of my favorite actors. I had a fairly well-defined image of Mark Antony in my mind before watching the HBO series 'Rome', but by the time the series was done, his performance as one of history's most fascinating characters had made Purefoy indistinguishable from the real figure. He was one of the many reasons that series stands out as one of the best ever made -- top 5, unquestionably. In fact, if you haven't seen it yet, forget 'The Following' for now, and watch both seasons of 'Rome'. The same goes for 'The Wire'. If you haven't seen 'The Wire', WTF are you doing here? If, however, you've already gone through the 'best of' list, and have now worked your way down to 'The Following' (waaay down), its got enough story and suspense to hold your interest, and the cast is excellent. The writers have their moments as well, suffering occasional fits of creativity that save the story from drowning in a swamp of deja view.

Compared to the inexcusable crap that passes for crime drama on network TV -- like CSI: Miami, Law & Order: SVU, NCIS and Criminal Minds (profilers are only marginally more useful than psychics to any serious investigation -- 'We need an APB on a middle-aged Caucasian male, who may or may not be a bed-wetter, and who probably molested woodchucks as a boy... judging by the pattern of the stab wounds and the butterfly-like shape of the blood-splatters, it is believed this unsub might be dangerous...'), 'The Following' represents a sharp improvement. Compared to the one series whose creators, producers and writers paid for the privilege of ransacking Dr. Lecter's storage locker, however, 'The Following' is far inferior. 'Hannibal' reinterprets the mythos created by author Thomas Harris in ways that are very clever and unexpected. Ironically, it's also the rare show about serial killers and FBI agents that actively avoids falling into the deep ruts previous incarnations of the Hannibal saga have cut into the trail. If it's a question of finding the best take on ingenious psychopathic killers, it's 'Hannibal'. If you can't get enough of this sort of thing, 'The Following' is a distant-but-decent second-place finisher (or third place, if you put 'Bates Motel' in the same category).

The inexplicable stupidity really does run rampant: Bacon's character is just a 'consulting agent' (Ugh. How many times...), but every episode finds him rushing to the scene ahead of everyone with just one agent for back-up. Every time this happens, instead of waiting for back-up, he decides to 'go in', but not before sending his partner off to 'cover' the back of the warehouse/farm house/crack house, and face off against multiple armed and dangerous suspects alone. No agent would allow another one to enter a situation like that alone -- and especially not when they're the ones giving the orders. Nevertheless, when the agent in charge of the case allows him to run into the abandoned factory without her in episode 08, she proves completely useless -- the three or four surviving 'followers' come rushing out the door she's been left to cover (they're all armed, but flee when Bacon surprises them and kills the extras without speaking parts, despite the fact that he's alone with a close-to-spent clip), pile into the vehicle she should have rendered inoperable by pulling a spark-plug, or cutting the tires, and escape before the backup that should of accompanied them from the start. Bacon gets held at gunpoint by Joe and his followers over and over again, at which point the gunman always looks smug, says he can't die yet, then makes vague, grandiose threats. He usually manages to get the upper hand before long, and chase his captors before they ultimately escape, capture one of them, or kill them. Hollywood gives the average FBI agent way too much credit for intelligence, imagination, and common sense, and 'The Following' is no different. But the stupidity they display in every crucial situation almost seems like Williamson's anti-authoritarian, passive-aggressive way of giving the feds a narrative b***h-slap.

So... the Feds in this series are brain-dead, and they're also way better at killing people than the actual serial killers, and... less bothered by it. The bad guys let them live, then get murdered by Kevin Bacon. Maybe the worst thing, however, the cliché that has it's roots in Greek mythology and drama, is the nemesis. The killer is always the dark reflection of the hero cop. In 'Hannibal', they get back to the myth, in which your nemesis is a doppelganger wearing the antlers of a stag. Will Graham is haunted by stag imagery throughout the series, often in surprising and creepy ways, symbolic of his powerful connection to Hannibal Lecter. So far, Hannibal has avoided uttering some pathetic variation of the line that makes me ill - 'We're not so different, you and I'. It has popped up in hundreds, and possibly thousands, of films and TV episodes since Belloche popularized it in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark', freeing it from its pulp fiction and comic-book origins. Purefoy is a great Nemesis, but the idea is just exhausted. Played out. Done. End it.
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on February 16, 2016
The book follows Kevin Bacon's fallen FBI agent as he tries to deal with the machinations of a mass murderer.

The twist in this series is that mass murderer is in prison for most of the series.

Instead of committing crimes himself, the villain works through a mass following that is willing to go to any lengths to venerate their cult leader.

It is an interesting premise, and the stories are well written.

It is a little bloody, and the level of cult following seems a little "over the top," but if you don't mind gore then this might be a good series for you.
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on March 4, 2015
This series has a lot of potential. It tries to be like Hannibal Lecter/ Criminal Minds. I can understand why there are a lot of 1-star reviews because, I was leaning that way too. The 3 main protagonists seem always lacking manpower and often ambushed by the more organized cult/criminals and it does seem implausible. Perhaps in season 2 they can correct a lack of manpower and the lack of tactical competence shown by the SWAT members, as they too are often ambushed and quickly executed.

I think this Hannibal-&- Edgar Allan Poe like criminal as more realistic, since Joe Carroll shows a lot of monomaniacal impulses and weaknesses of a typical sociopath. He is not perfect like Hannibal Lecter nor as brilliant, but he is often several steps ahead of the FBI...I thought it might have had potential but it doesn't...Season 2 was a failure. Too much stabbing, shooting, screaming and mindless characters...to sum it up...it goes from Edgar Allan Poe to religious cults...or Jesus Christ cults....how original.
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on December 27, 2013
When I heard about the casting of this show, I was over the moon about James Purefoy being, not just a regular, but an evil costar.
I was a bit afraid that his tremendous talent would overshadow poor Kevin Bacon. But he's done his best to make us forget "Tim, the alcoholic" from Guiding Light.
Yes James is wonderful, hot, sexy. and, of course exceedingly talented, but this show doesn't let any of that go to waste. So thank you, Fox, for delivering James Purefoy into my living room on a weekly basis, in a vehicle worthy of his great looks and talent.
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on March 16, 2013
I am enjoying this show quite a lot. There were some initial criticisms that the show was too gory and violent, but I think there are a lot of other shows that are much worse in that regard. I do enjoy the cat and mouse feel of the show and the unanswered question of
"Why is Joe Carroll doing all of this - from a jail cell most of the time?" Kevin Bacon is great as Ryan Hardy, the FBI agent who put Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) away years ago and reluctantly returns to hunt the mad who almost killed him years ago. And what a chilling performance from James Purefoy as the chilling serial killer leading his cult of killers. Lot of edge of your seat tension in this show.
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on April 29, 2013
this is one of the best new TV shows!! Kevin Bacon is great as Ryan Hardy. It is a must see, watch from the beginning you won't stop. Great show!! SO glad it got renewed for a second season!! HIGHLY recommend! it is a definite must see..
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on April 25, 2013
This is a good nail biter kind of show with twists and turns, but they make the FBI, and all law enforcement, seem like idiots. They are always splitting up when searching places where the suspects are supposedly hiding. And shocker, some of them always end up getting killed or kidnapped. Somehow, the suspects always seem to escape, typically due to a lack of manpower. Seriously, if there was a cult of serial killers, do you think the Feds would send less than 100 agents to take them down? Of course not, they'd send hundreds, if not thousands.

My wife and I find ourselves often guessing the plot before it happens whenever someone splits up or the suspects start running away. So I guess you could say it's predictable given the way the plot has gone so far. However, they do throw some good twists and turns in every now and again to throw you off. I just wish it was a little more believable.
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