When I first heard that Kevin Bacon was going to star in this suspense thriller created by Kevin Williamson (Scream, The Vampire Diaries), I knew that I was going to be a big fan of this series. Unfortunately, I missed the first couple of episodes during its regular run so I’m now just catching up. I just finished the first season and boy, what a ride!
After being dismissed by the agency, former agent Ryan Hardy (Bacon) is called back by the FBI to “consult” on the case of Joe Carrol (James Purefoy), a charismatic professor who was put away by Hardy after killing 14 girls. Ryan learns that aside from escaping from prison, authorities learned that Carrol was able to establish a network of psychologically disturbed individuals who share Joe’s passion for killing. In order to unravel the extent of Carrol’s network and catch him, Ryan must play by Joe’s rules and outsmart him, all while keeping the people close to him safe and prevent Joe from victimizing more innocents.
The Following is one of the best shows on television right now in my opinion, because of the excellent cast — Bacon and Purefoy are joined by Shawn Ashmore as young agent Weston, Natalie Zea as the two lead’s common love interest, and Annie Parisse as Agent Debra Parker. On the villains’ side, Valorie Curry as Emma Hill, a psychotic Caroll superfan, Nico Tortorella as Jacob and Adan Canto as Paul were real standouts, but among Caroll’s followers, my favorite was Warren Kole as Roderick. This dude was just the epitome of a badass I suddenly wished he was cast in Stephen King’s Under the Dome as one of the more sinister deputies to spruce up that show. As an ensemble, they work fluidly together to bring to life Caroll’s complicated master plan and the results are goosebump inducing.
I think that The Following is a great thriller because of the cliffhangers and the constant cat and mouse game that Ryan and Carrol play. The mind games and the rivalry between these two characters is so intense that viewers will be able to identify with them even from the early episodes of the series. If there is one person who plays the tormented soul to perfection, Kevin Bacon is that guy. And as the main antagonist, Purefoy does embody a sort of diabolical charm that psychos may really identify with. It also helps that the backstories were fleshed out by excellent insertions of flashbacks so viewers get a fine understanding of what the two are really fighting about.
But the really scary thing about this series is the possibility that it could really happen and how complicated and the problem is for authorities even with Ryan’s help. Its disturbing to see so many people who follow Caroll willingly and take lives with no remorse. Its just so twisted that people who have not killed are considered anomalies in Caroll’s cult. And its terrifying to think that there are people like these who exist in this world.
All in all, watching this series is like watching an extended version of a teen slasher flick, only with more mature characters and a more fleshed out plot. Kudos to all those who are involved in developing this series. They really have done a good job. I think its genius and hope that season 2 is as great as the first season.