An obsession with Edgar Allen Poe, empty eye sockets, lots of scars, puddles of blood, and a pile of dead puppies. This is Fox’s new mid-season crime thriller show “The Following.” It’s an entertaining show with an interesting premise and what’s been shown so far leaves me wanting a whole lot more.
The story starts with gory prison escape and we are introduced to Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) a serial killer with a penchant for romantic horror like Edgar Allen Poe. In his former life he murdered 14 girls before being caught by a grizzled FBI profiler, Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon).
While the story mostly takes place in the present, flashbacks are used to flesh out the horrific world of Carroll and his victims and accomplices. Without getting to spoilery, there is a creepy cascade of followers that has formed around Carroll during his time prison. Think of the Manson Family but larger and much more organized. They want to murder for him and in his name.
This is where some of the plot requires a suspension of belief. When stories become convoluted, we often have to step back and just enjoy the spectacle. While there are some stumbles into implausibility, most noticeably, some really inept police protection, the show is anchored by a stellar cast.
Most noticeable is Kevin Bacon. He hasn’t had a recurring role on television since the soap opera, Guiding Light, in the 80’s and it’s nice to get a taste of Bacon every week.
Kevin Williamson is the creator and he combines his two best previous ventures, serial killers (“Scream”) and serialized television (“Dawson’s Creek”). The result is a mash-up of witty dialogue and vicious, stabbing homicides.
Further down the line, the show may run into some of the same issues that exist in modern television shows. They have a great story idea and the premise is solid, but where do they go when the novelty has worn off? Hopefully, it’s not to far off the crazy train and the tracks. Overall, “The Following” is definitely worth following.