FOX has finally pulled me in again with a show that is heavily gruesome but brilliant.
The Following follows
an ex-FBI agent
named Ryan Hardy: an alcoholic
loner beset by problems
stemming from a case involving serial killer
Joe Carroll, who uses influences from Edgar Allan Poe as his modus operandi. When Carroll escapes from prison, the FBI calls Hardy back into action to help them track Carroll down due to him being the one that single-handedly caught him in the first place. During his search, Hardy is opposed by a sinister cult that was assembled by Carroll during his time in prison. Cue the season-wide plot.
First of all, Kevin Bacon plays Hardy. That alone should be enough.
Realistically though, Bacon plays the part excellently and the character is one that you will root for the entire time. Hardy has some cliches about him but those are overshadowed by more original qualities and issues he has (for example, Hardy has a figurative "curse" that becomes a minor motif in the season where everyone he cares about seemingly dies). Overall, Hardy is a proficiently written character that has some typical problems but they are masterfully put down by Bacon's A-plus acting and other quirks.
Now, on to Carroll
, who might as well be the first troper to be a serial killer AND cult leader. As a character, Carroll is as evil as they come; and at first, you will like the character because of his charm, but as the season progresses, he becomes an absolute bastard. It's not like he ever was, but he profoundly shows it near the end. Carroll has some of his own new takes on how he kills, and those takes make his character all the better. Think of him as a mix of Hannibal Lecter, Red John, Charles Manson and Ted Bundy.
Also, James Purefoy. 'Nuff said.
On to the actual show, it is written with intelligence at the forefront. There are some liberties that are taken, but those are expected. The show reels you in with suspense and doesn't let go until the hour is up, and even then, you will be craving the next episode. Some parts seem fantastical and it has garnered criticism for its portrayal of the FBI's actions, but those are overshadowed much like the character cliches.
Overall, great show. I give it an 8.6 out of 10.