While some networks claim to be pushing the envelope, Fox (along with sister network FX) are actually doing it! Tonight’s debut of the network’s “The Following” not only promises to change the game, it succeeds. However the show is making news today as many critics have questioned if that sudden of a change will be to jarring for viewers not used to this type of series.
“The Following” is unlike anything on TV. It’s a cross between “Criminal Minds” and “Dexter” with a few new aspects thrown in for kicks. Starring ever-present film star Kevin Bacon (in his first starring role on television), the series focuses on a cat and mouse game between a FBI agent and a psychotic (yet brilliant) serial killer.
Bacon plays former FBI agent Ryan Hardy, who at almost the expense of his life (and sanity) finally captures his white whale in criminal mastermind Joe Carroll (played by the charismatic James Purefoy). Yet when Carroll stages a stunning and equally bloody prison escape, Hardy is lured back into his former life too once again stop a crazed killer.
In fact Carroll’s violent acts are what has made this such a buzzed about series. “The Following” goes places no other show on TV would (or have) dared to tread and the show's recent round of reviews drive that point home.
“Though dazzlingly plotted and acted, the show is not easily watched. Its violence is sudden, shocking and sanguinary — and, in a world where every newscast seems to bring a report of another delusionary sorting out his mental issues with the exhibitionist slaughter of strangers, sickeningly familiar.” Glenn Garvin, Orlando Sentinel
“The pilot rivals anything you'll see at the Cineplex in terms of acting, surprise, and suspense. You will go into each commercial break with your heart in your throat. But what really makes The Following more like a feature film than a primetime program is its extravagant, emphatic savagery. There are several scenes on Monday that I cannot describe in this review - not because I don't want to give away the plot, but because they are too graphic and gory.” David Hiltbrand, Philadelphia Inquirer
While on paper it’s not a new formula, creator Kevin Williamson (“Scream,” “The Vampire Diaries”) takes it to new places. Carroll’s success is dependent on an army of cyber sleeper agents who are his “followers” and can be called upon at any time to do his bidding. As a result, audiences will continuously be guessing who’s really playing both sides. It's a nice device that viewers should enjoy if they can stomach all the gore that comes along with the plot.
For the network, “The Following” is very important as Fox is coming off an under-performing fall season and needs a win here to steady the ship. Yet due to the show’s polarizing plot, audiences are either going to immediately be drawn to it, or immediately run from it. Either way it’s a huge gamble, but one that could have an equally huge payoff.
"The Following" premieres tonight at 9 p.m. EST on Fox.
So what's your take New York? Will you watch "The Following?" Are you happy to see Kevin Bacon on the small screen? Hit the comments and let us know.