Saturday, January 26, 2013

‘The Following’ offers fun take on serial killer genre

There weren’t very many shows I was looking forward to this mid-season.

One of the ones I was genuinely excited about, though, was FOX’s ‘The Following.’

Not only does the show star the underrated Kevin Bacon – but it also follows a cult of people that were brainwashed into killing for an incarcerated serial with a narcissistic personality disorder.

The show debuted last week, and I have to say it didn’t disappoint.

Between a deranged fan covered in Edgar Allen Poe quote tattoos stabbing herself in the eye in the opening minutes to Maggie Grace’s surviving heroine dying in the final minutes, the show was a non-stop roller coaster.

‘The Following’ is a limited run series at this point – and I like knowing that certain things are set in the show. It’s not that I don’t trust FOX – but I don’t. They’ve killed too many shows before their time while holding on to reality dreck like ‘American Idol.’

James Purefoy of ‘Rome’ fame stars as Joe Carroll, the former professor with a fetish for killing his students.

Bacon’s Ryan Hardy is the former detective that was obsessed with him – until finally catching him. Of course, he got stabbed in the chest in the process and now is kept alive by a pacemaker.

Shawn Ashmore plays a young investigator and Natalie Zea plays Carroll’s former wife.

A lot of the intrigue in the series revolves around Zea’s Claire Matthews. Not only did she give birth to her serial killer husband’s spawn – but she also had an affair with Hardy after Joe Carroll’s arrest.

While I could barely tolerate Zea on ‘Justified,’ I find her quietly compelling on ‘The Following.’ I reserve the right to change my opinion, though, as things progress.

The story I was most interested in was Maggie Grace’s Sarah Fuller – a former nursing student who was the only known survivor of Carroll. After escaping custody, though, Sarah Fuller comes to a rather brutal (and surprising) end – and Carroll willingly gives himself back up to police.

While Grace isn’t exactly a huge star, she is a big enough name that people know who she is. I was surprised they killed her off so soon. It was a gutsy move, though.

Now, Hardy realizes that there is more evil than just Carroll himself, Carroll has had his followers kidnap his son, and the endgame of a man that lives to play games has been set in motion.

‘The Following’ is never going to win any awards, but for fans of the serial killer genre – it has a lot of bite and a charismatic lead. It’s definitely worth a shot for crime aficionados.

‘The Following’ airs at 9 p.m. Mondays on FOX.


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