Kevin Bacon attempts to steer clear of the Christian Slater syndrome. You know where you start taking lackluster parts and perform below that level. So, wisely, Bacon turned to supporting roles, it's something he can pull off with greater authority. That isn't to say he isn't a good actor as he is quite solid, but if he is great the evidence is yet to surface. Perhaps, his new TV-series "The Following" will give him the opportunity to once more be the leading man, maybe even providing him a vehicle to prove some greatness.
The Following wastes no time as it begins with the bloody escape of a high-functioning death-row serial killer named Joe Carroll. Bacon, playing an heart-health challenged retired . agent Ryan Hardy is asked to "consult" because no one knows Carroll better as he ended Carroll's bloody reign, but with the heavy collateral damage necessitating his retirement. In the interim Hardy wrote a best seller about Carroll. Hardy acquiesces, getting ready filling his water bottle with vodka, and we realize in short order he fits in with other agents not unlike a square peg in a round hole ("I read your file, I know you don't play well with others). Perhaps the book he wrote after leaving the . wasn't an agency favorite? Carroll's ex-wife Claire Matthews as well as a former Carroll student Sarah Fuller, who also was left for dead by Carroll, are under protection. Things get heavily complicated as Carroll has a contingent of female groupies who the agency assemble thinking something to help find Carroll may be revealed through interviews. Things descend into chaos as a female follower calmly stands, undresses revealing Edgar Allen Poe quotations tattooed over her body then impaling herself with an ice pick through her eye. Carroll, apparently, is so persuasive he can have others do his work for him. This will become a large shadow cast as these women are only part of more followers to come.
Bacon plays Ryan Hardy well enough with his "one-color" style of depressive acting. He's damaged goods who also functions highly. As earlier noted by a female . agent he is a "lone wolf" and we see he goes about capturing Carroll in his own fashion. Through no fault of his, however, Sarah Fuller is abducted and ultimately murdered before he finds Carroll. Carroll actually lures Hardy to find him as he wants to gloat about finishing what he felt he needed to achieve for his "art" to be complete. Back in one of the prison's interrogation rooms he gives Hardy notice that his terror reign is still in progress. Ryan Hardy comes apart breaking some of Carroll's fingers and also signaling he himself can't walk away until all Ryan's followers can be brought to justice.
Is The Following a show worth of multiple episodes? That remains to be seen. While the script attempts to be somewhat cerebral it is really a re-hash of several similar "monster" type serial killer movies condensed thus isn't particularly as creative as it aspires. Bacon's character isn't particularly endearing or dynamic, serviceable at this point describes Ryan Hardy. The pull of this series, therefore, is going to lie in the writing. To rise it needs to get more inventive while retaining the slam it aims for. If it can do that and Bacon's Ryan Hardy character can evolve into a more likeable protagonist The Following has a future. If it remains a series of re-writes there may not be enough entertainment factor to get past a compact first will have to stay tuned for now.