The Following is a very strange show for me to write a review on, because I am a big fan of it, though recognize it actually isn’t that good.
I will try to be as unbiased as possible in writing this review, and the main takeaway is this right here: The Following is a great guilty pleasure show. It’s a show that if you like it, you love it. If it’s not for you, then you can watch The Voice or whatever else is on Mondays at 9. That is the takeaway from the review of Season One.
But let me actually dissect the premiere season and tell you what I do and don’t like about it.
The acting in The Following is actually very solid. Kevin Bacon (yep, you heard that right) is in the show as former FBI Agent (yep, you heard that right too) Ryan Hardy. Kevin Bacon is really solid in almost all of the show, like the confrontations and on-the-run bits, but the only part I’d take off credit for is the ‘damaged’ aspect he’s supposed to be playing. The script tells you Ryan Hardy is a damaged human being, but you don’t really buy it. I don’t however blame that on the acting, I blame it on the writing, which I’ll get to. Then the next main performance in the show is Annie Parisse as Debra Parker, the female head of the investigation. She’s kind of like Sandra Bullock knock-off, but she pulls off her role really well. And she works really well with Shawn Ashmore (Iceman) playing amateur agent Mike Weston. Mike Weston is my favorite character because he’s the one in the show that actually thinks with his head. A lot of the characters in this show make really illogical decisions, but Mike Weston does exactly what I would. Then Natalie Zea plays Kevin Bacon’s kinda love interest. And I say kinda because they have this will-they, won’t they chemistry throughout the season which is actually really annoying. She is a character, again, who is supposed to be damaged, but you really don’t get that from Natalie Zea at all. I blamed the Kevin Bacon part of that on the writing, but in this case, Claire Matthews (her character) has some great lines, but Zea portrays them in such an annoying way. Then while we’re on annoying characters, let’s talk about Emma. She’s supposed to be a secondary bad guy in the show, but she. is. so. annoying. And it’s funny too because the writers of the show have said they want her to be the most annoyingly devious character on the show. So, mission accomplished? Luckily, in the first few episodes she gets to play off of these two guys, Nico Tortorella and Adan Canto and those two are good in the show. Maybe not good, but better than Emma and Claire? I wish they were written to be as major of characters as Emma was. But then there’s the main baddie in the show, who is a guy named Joe Carroll, portrayed by James Purefoy. Purefoy and Bacon (and Shawn Ashmore) basically carry the show. Their chemistry is unbelievably great. Joe Carroll is suave, but also menacing as Satan.
If you guys have noticed, I have not given a lick of plot information about this show yet, unless it was to describe the characters. That was for one simple reason: so you can be as confused reading my article as I was watching Season One of The Following.
The writing in this show really is a mess, at times. The first three episodes are actually really great. Like if the first three episodes of The Following were the first season, it would be a perfect season, 5/5, we’re done. Then there’s this weird filler episode, otherwise known as episode four. We move on awkwardly past that and then get to episodes five and six which were actually my favorites of the season and show. They blended in the suspense, darkness and thrill that the first three episodes had, and combined really great action and cyber elements. But then, the plot you think is going to be resolved at the end of episode six just isn’t, and after that the season is sloppy and every episode feels like it’s filler until the finale. The final three episodes of the season weren’t horrible, but they could have been put together much better. Actually, that’s how I feel about the show as a whole, I don’t hate it, it just could have been put together in a much better fashion.
Now I’ll give you some examples. The plot of the show is that James Purefoy’s character Joe Carroll has assembled a cult of serial killers that have some evil plot to get back at Bacon. So then all of his little cult baddies are sporadically introduced. The first few are introduced in a really neat way, but after that you feel like they’re just throwing in people at random times. You actually lose track of who’s who, or at least I did.
And the show tries to do these really neat twists too that you see coming a mile away. There have been two twists in the show so far that I didn’t predict, one was the very end of the season, like final shot of episode fifteen, and the other is in Season Two, but I’ll get to that.
So now comes the time wehre I have to give the show a rating, and this is me trying to be unbiased. It seems like I complained a lot about the show, but it is actually pretty enjoyable. It’s a violnt show for network television, so you’ll probably enjoy that! But if we take a good look here is the show on a basic level: it’s a few really great performances, muddled by some less than average performances, mixed with a premise that could have been cooler and writer that is at times sloppy. I’m going to give this show a very different rating, because I think if you go into it just wanting to watch a cool show, it’s positive. So as long as you know that going in, and are not expecting the next Breaking Bad, you’ll have a good time with Season One of The Following. If not, then this isn’t the show for you.
So guys, those are my thoughts on The Following Season One. I’ll get a Season Two review out here eventually, but we’ll see how long that takes (this review took me a couple weeks to write actually, TV is harder to review than movies). So what do you guys think of The Following? I’m really curious, and I encourage you to leave comments down below! You can see I’m indifferent, so I want your thoughts. And as always, thanks for reading guys.