People get murdered all the time. Heck, I just murdered three people on the way to get some Mountain Dew at the corner store. But do you want to watch a whole show about people getting murdered? Fox thinks you do and has high hopes for The Following, a new drama about a serial killer and the FBI guy who wants to stop him. I've seen the piot and will answer some of the made-up questions you have on your mind to help you decide whether it's worthy of your eyeballs.
Kevin Bacon (yes, he of the loose feet) plays former FBI man Ryan Hardy, who left the bureau due to a drinking problem and a punctured ticker after putting James Carroll, one of the country's most infamous murderers, in prison. But when Carroll, a former literary professor, escapes the clink after creating a network of copycat fans via the internet who are willing to do his bidding, it's up to Hardy to stop all of them and work out his inner demons. (Yes, this is the actual premise.)
Honor Martin Luther King, Jr. with a debut viewing of The Following on Monday, January 21 at 9pm on Fox! Although I have a feeling King's dream didn't involve women poking icepicks into their brains.
If you've recently murdered a dog or a cat or a college coed, you'll like The Following. If you're a fan of deranged serial-killer movies like Silence of the Lambs and Se7en or dig horror-porn like Saw and Just People Getting Killed in Gross Ways V: The Grossening, then you'll probably like it. If you prefer vistas of lambs prancing in the sunny Scottish Highlands or you get a kick out of the laughter of children, I'd watch something else.
Atmosphere is key to a psychological murder thriller like this, and The Following is legit creepy; it even has people walking around in the dark with flashlights and stuff. There are moments when the camera does a great job of defining a character, like when we first meet Hardy. And the idea that Carroll's cult of followers can stand in as the case-of-the-week subjects is a great way to give longevity to a show that's really about a serial killer playing games with an FBI agent. Purefoy is pretty intense as Carroll. Plus Natalie Zea (Justified) is in this and she's really pretty.
Okay, exactly who is so convincing that he can build an armada of murderers via the World Wide Web who do what he says, particularly when that "what" is KILLING OTHER PEOPLE? It's the core premise of the show, and it's also entirely ridiculous. The pilot includes several concept-defining moments that require huge leaps of logic, and no one in their right mind can jump that high. The show flaunts Carroll's obsession with Edgar Allen Poe like it's found some genius angle, but nope, sorry, it's just silly and cliched. And the violence is mostly mindless, with nothing much to say about anything.
Look, people are going to be split on this one. The Following has the spooks and gore to distinguish itself from the rest of network TV, but from what I've seen, it's not actually good television. If the series had more to say than, "Hey look what our makeup department can do!" it might be worth watching. But until it does, it's just senseless violence for shock value.
Bloody Marys. Ha, I kid. Those should be consumed before 8am only. Fill some water bottles with vodka and chug, just like Det. Hardy does.
The Following premieres Monday, January 21 at 9pm on Fox.