The FOX network has been a swear word for as long as I can remember. When the summer sun sets for the last time and the leaves turn a new color, the major networks show off their new programming with hopes of longevity, and yet FOX seems to be the network that blows through programming more than any other network.
According to an screenrant.com, about 65% of all new shows will not see a second season. It’s stated in the article linked above that for the 2011-2012 season FOX actually averaged a whopping 72% of new shows canceled.
While FOX is not be the worst culprit of last season (I’m looking at you CW) their largest offense is the good content that they axed. Just look at their death list:
- Lone Star
- Greg the Bunny
- The Tick
- Family Guy…even though this one was resurrected and still continues to run, despite maybe going past it’s prime.
- Arrested Development …yeah this one is coming back too (why hello, Netflix!)
These are just a few of the many shows that have been laid to rest over the years. While some have been given a second chance, others live on in the hearts and memories of their fans (Joss whenever you are ready to make that Firefly Kickstarter, the nerd team is waiting for you).
So when FOX announced that they had a show that was to be headlined by the Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy (for you Rome fans, he was Julius Ceasar), I found myself apprehensive that what we had on our hands was another procedural, peppered with big names in order to draw ratings, that would ultimately be taken out by FOX a mere two episodes after the pilot, leaving me to feel like I had invested in something that would never find resolution (why hello, Alcatraz). However, these fears never came to fruition.
The Following is the story of former FBI Agent Ryan Hardy (Bacon) who is thrusted back into the field to after his most dangerous foe, Joe Carroll (Purefoy), escapes from jail and is reunited with followers (you see Carroll is the leader of a Manson–like cult). I know what you are thinking: man chases serial killer for 22 episodes, what’s so great about that? Well, the serial killer’s murders were inspired by works of Edgar Allen Poe! I know right!? Don’t you feel silly for doubting me.
I’ll be honest, I am not the biggest fan of procedurals. I find them boring, repetitive, and mostly carbon copies of one another. The Following, miraculously, does not fall into any of these characteristics. It’s a fresh spin on the procedural, and is more like a novel: detailed, graphic, and engaging. As the audience, you jump back and forth between specific cult members and the FBI’s continued search for Carroll.
The series is created by Kevin Williamson, the man you gave us the Scream franchise and Dawson’s Creek. With those two credits, we know that Williamson can write horror elements as well as relationships, and The Following is a perfect a marriage of the two. Bacon’s performance is subtle, when it’s given many opportunities to be over-the-top His chemistry with Purefoy is excellent as they play a very clever game of cat and mouse. As I mentioned it’s something we’ve seen before, but because it’s Bacon vs. Purefoy I beckon more to my plate with anticipation.
What is so impressive about The Following is that it doesn’t get stuck its own mythology. You don’t feel like there are many filler episodes that mildly progress the story forward (while I love LOST, that third season was littered with filler episodes because the writers didn’t know where they were going…that’s another conversation). Each time you see a flashback of a character, you getting a traditional origin story, then it takes that slight tilt, which is then followed with something that makes you audibly say, “What the f***!”
The Following is an inventive show that plays to all demographics and keeps things fresh. While it only has 3 episodes left of this season, I would highlyrecommend that you nerds check it out on Netflix when you can. It’s worth the viewing.
I am excited to see how this season will end and how they will sustain a second season.
If you are a nerd that has seen the show and disagrees, please let me know; I am down for all friendly discourse!
The Following: B+
Until next time!