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)
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.
The Following is being held for Fox's midseason.
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom