This Is Not a Review: Fox's Serial-Killer Pilot The Following

We're not allowed to properly review the advanced pilot screeners sent to us by networks, but we ARE allowed to chit-chat about them and give you an idea of what to expect. Most of the season's pilots will undergo some form of change by the time they hit the air, so consider this is as a general guide to the feel of the show.



The Following (midseason on Fox, premiere date to be determined)

STARRING: Kevin Bacon (everything but let's go with The Air Up There), James Purefoy (Rome), Natalie Zea (Justified), Maggie Grace (Lost), Kevin Bacon, Kevin Bacon, and Kevin Bacon.

THE GIST: This series is kinda scary, guys! It's another Kevin Williamson show, but it's a lot different from Dawson's Creek or The Vampire Diaries. Bacon plays FBI profiler Ryan Hardy, who's called back to work after serial killer Joe Carroll (Purefoy)—someone Hardy put away years ago—escapes. But the real fun begins once Hardy learns that Carroll has been using the internet to build a network of people who also like to go on murderous rampages. The Following also features some of the most gruesome stuff I've seen on network TV, which is a major plus.

SNAP JUDGMENT: This is on a lot of critics' "like" lists, but not mine. Sure, it's creepy and twisted, but I just don't understand how a person can convince others to become serial killers through social media. However, if you're more interested in blood and things jumping at you and you don't mind some improbable situations that provide the foundation for the series, then this will work. And to The Following's credit, it looks really great and the performances are fantastic. Let's face it; this is going to be another show I don't really like but you love. Why can't we just get along? Oh who am I kidding, it's my fault.

PILOTITIS DIAGNOSIS: There are some cliches early on, but aside from that it's an outstanding pilot from a TV structure standpoint. Nothing egregious here!

FACE(S) TO LOOK OUT FOR: Kevin Bacon, duh! This is his first TV series, so let's be nice. And feel free to ogle Natalie Zea if you're unfamiliar with her. She should be a star.

RANDOM THOUGHT(S): The pilot aired at Comic-Con, and most of the audience was into it. Except for the guy behind me, who found it absolutely atrocious and just had to tell his bored mother about how bad he thought it was. Loudly.

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: I'm holding out hope that the positives outweigh the negatives and giving this a 6 out of 10.

TRAILER:


The Following is being held for Fox's midseason.


RELATED STORIES:
This Is Not a Review: NBC's Pilot Revolution
This Is Not a Review: NBC's Pilot Go On
This Is Not a Review: ABC's Pilot Red Widow
This Is Not a Review: The CW's Pilot Arrow


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

Comments (38)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Saw the pilot at comic con and was on edge of my seat the whole time. The premise that so many people are fundamentally lost souls whose inner darkness can be nurtured through social media resonates. What else i like about it , an FBI agent who gets out of breath running up stairs but still looks good in bike shorts, gay-acting straights, preppy killers etc etc. Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy TOTALLY watchable!
Reply
Flag
I was luck enough to see the pilot at comic-con. I thought it was amazing. It really surprised me what they were willing to show on network tv. Plus even though the plot is a little far fetched, James Purefoy's character just has so much charisma that I might consider killing for him.
Reply
Flag
this looks good but....they gotta keep it under 3 seasons especially if its in range of fox's ridiculous 22-26 episode per season quota
Reply
Flag
This looks very interesting and may be a good replacement once Dexter wraps up it's last season.
Reply
Flag
Casting Purefoy is pure (foy) genius. He'll make a great psychological serial killer.
Reply
Flag
Agreeing with others about how it hopefully won't turn into just a weekly procedural.
Reply
Flag
I bet Fox will cancel it, and then use a shitty reality show as a replacement.
Reply
Flag
Apparently HBO sees this as a major contender for next year's Emmys I believe. I can't wait to watch this!
Reply
Flag
Farfetched doesn't deter me at all. I dig the Mentalist and thats just ridiculous.
Reply
Flag
I'm looking forward to this one!
Reply
Flag
Let's say, as a common Internet dweller, @manson convinces me to kill, that is not so far fetched, but how will he get me to leave my house?
Reply
Flag
Knowing FOX it will only last 1 season and even if it meets FOX standards it will cancelled mid season causing fans to uproar.
Reply
Flag
Like "The Chicago Code" ! :(
Reply
Flag
The better the show, the earlier it gets cancelled with Fox...
Reply
Flag
Fox is in the business of making money. What exactly has Fox canceled recently that was so great anyway? Terra Nova was crap, Alcatraz was horrible, and they renewed Fringe. Even when they cancel something "good" it's because people aren't watching it.
Reply
Flag
What about "Lie To Me", "Human Target" and "The Chicago Code" ?
Reply
Flag
I hope this doesn't turn out like Alcatraz.
Reply
Flag
Should have let your wife keeping doing her show
Reply
Flag
This is one of the few new shows I'm looking forward to. My only concern is that this will end up being a bad guy of the week show.

Reply
Flag
This is one of those shows that I'll know by the 1st episode if I like it or not.
Reply
Flag
This is one of a handful of shows I'm really looking forward to. There's a good probability that it disappoints -- shows with better premises seem to have a tougher time executing -- but I have a feeling it'll be pretty good.
Reply
Flag
I'll check it out, if only because its from the guy who made Scream 1, 2, and 4, Dawson's Creek, (Eh, got quite stale in the end, but the early episodes were good.) and The Vampire Diaries. My only concern is that it becomes too procedural..y.
Reply
Flag
Maybe. It sounds like a pretty serious drama and that'll make me more likely to watch it. I'll probably DVR the first 4 episodes and check out the reviews and decide then.
Reply
Flag
It come be interesting but then again they show all the good bits to get you ready for the show then after the first maybe second episode it all falls apart.

So right now no real judgement as yet I will watch it but I am not holding my breath for it to be one of the best shows.

I do agree with Mate Kevin Bacon does dark really really well.

So in short here's hoping.
Reply
Flag
This looks great. Kevin Bacon does dark very well. Natalie Zea is a great actress even though she has a tendency to play somewhat annoying characters. However, this character looks great. Maggie Grace needs to stop getting kidnapped. Seriously, she is going to get typecast.



As for the Plot, i would say that it is entirely plausible for a serial killer to not only get rabid fans, which they do. They get women, multiple ones that Marry them while they are in prison, even when some are on death row. They also get fans, and though I would question a warden as to his brilliant idea to let a serail killer on facebook, it is possible. Especially when the world is an messed up as it currently is, people that have no power want to connect with something powerful. They read about this genius serial killer and want to talk to them. After that it is just a matter of time until they are a rabid fan and though the percentage would be low for followers to graduate to wanting to kill like hims. If he has say a million followers and maybe .01 percent of them would be willing to take that to the level of killing for him that is 100 people. The social media brings us all closer together. Even the mentally disturbed.
More+
Reply
Flag
You can't deny Facebook, Twitter, etc. to them. Their right to engage in social media is protected under the First Amendment-it's free speech. They just can't misrepresent themselves as not serial killers.
Reply
Flag
Staff
The Air Up There, terribly underrated Kevin Bacon movie.
Reply
Flag
Staff
Also "The Following"?...cmon FOX! Change it to: "The Killer's Code"
Reply
Flag
....and after they change the name to that they can just have a block of cheese in the background when they have the title come up during the show....
Reply
Flag
It depends on what sort of 'social media' this show ends up using as to whether or not that part of the plot is believable, but if you've ever stumbled upon the darker parts of the internet (in my case, accidentally), that plot point really isn't all that hard to believe. There are websites and forums for everything these days, even sites for people who like murder, (actual, real-life killing), and forums for people who like to discuss things like snuff films they saw of other people being killed, as messed up as that is. So really, one killer convincing a bunch of murder-enthusiasts or wannabe-killers to go on a killing spree isn't that big of a stretch.

Still though, I don't think I'll be tuning in. I have Dexter, and that's enough.
Reply
Flag
I'm definitely intrigued - Kevin Bacon is a plus for sure and I am ready to believe in the possibility of internet savvy socially isolated individuals who sign up to follow up some evil mastermind...



My only concern is that they try to introduce a procedural element and each episode becomes a 'disciple of the week' chase rather than focus on the main characters... That approach completely ruined Alcatraz which had a much more interesting premise (on paper at least)
Reply
Flag
Often when I hear the premise of a show I think it's a great idea, but question how long it can go on. The same goes for this show. I'm guessing they are aiming for long seasons since it's on FOX, but how many episodes of hunting for Carroll's minions are we interested in? Is it a waste of great actors' talent to have them do six-seven seasons of a show like this?

Well, I guess we'll see. But I'm afraid a show like this can amass a large amount of filler episodes.
Reply
Flag
If it's like Dexter and they have one main bad guy per season it might work, but yeah I think you're right.
Reply
Flag
so far i didn't try any of the other 'the' shows. the river, the killing, terra nova, but that could just have been the lack of well knowns. i really don't like gruesome so while i'll probably give this a shot due to the cast i would turn it off if stomach turning by way of visuals or ideas.



with that said while thankfully a social netowork of serial killers does seem very far fetched i'm blown away by some of the disgusting stuff readily available even on sites like youtube. and that people choose to subject themselves to it. f-ing humanity...
Reply
Flag
Just sign me up already to watch this,Like you said, Kevin Bacon, Kevin Bacon ,Kevin Bacon!
Reply
Flag
Actually if you read up on the psychology of serial killers--high functioning, psychopathic ones--the premise of developing a cult following of believers and those who would commit crimes and kill out of hero worship or twisted belief in them is actually quite plausible and does occasionally happen. I don't know how this premise is executed in this show but I'm looking forward to giving The Following a try regardless
Reply
Flag
I happen to share America's unhealthy obsession with serial killers, so I look forward to this coming out. Kevin Bacon is the man.

And I totally buy into the serial killer persuading others to kill via social media. Everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame, after all, and there are definitely enough messed up people for some to buy into it. Especially if you give them an agenda. That's what terrorism is after all.
Reply
Flag
I'm here for James Purefoy. Here's to hoping its good.
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook