Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Following

I like to talk a big game. A new television season starts in the fall or networks begin airing their mid-season replacements in the winter and I inevitably say that I don't want to start watching anything new. And then, inevitably, I start watching something new. And I get hooked.

That's the thing about these new dramas that hit the TV. I'm sure Lost wasn't the first television program to cause addictions, but it's the first one that I really felt like I couldn't miss on a weekly basis. And it seems like, since Lost's beginning, so many new shows try to recapture that magic. They come up with their hook, their mystery, that attempts to get people to come back for every new episode. It's worked for some shows (Once Upon a Time), not so much for others (The Event).

When Fox started showing ads for their new Kevin Bacon drama, The Following, I knew it would be one of those shows. So I was hesitant to watch it, even though I thought it looked awesome. Of course, I decided to watch it.

The pilot episode aired last night. And I missed it. But that's what miracles like Hulu are for. My initial impression? This show is freakin' awesome.

How do I describe the new series? It's a mystery/thriller that kind of plays out like you're watching a movie. At least, that's how the first episode felt. There's a lot of back story that was not revealed. But what they do reveal is enough to get you through that first hour.

Kevin Bacon plays Ryan Hardy, a former FBI agent who single-handedly brought down serial killer Joe Carroll, played by James Purefoy. Purefoy, you may recognize from A Knight's Tale, in which case you know that his word is beyond contestation. Bacon, of course, you would recognize from the classic game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Both play their roles very well.

They set up the series in a fairly grand fashion by playing out pieces of these characters' pasts. When Hardy was still an agent, he caught Carroll, nearly dying in the process. While Carroll has been rotting in prison, he's been plotting. He's been building a fanbase of psychopaths via various social networks. And now he has a cult of followers who are willing to do his bidding. Carroll was a college professor before being convicted of his many murders. That teaching bug never really went away now that he is grooming a flock of killers.

I won't give away any more of the show. It's not fun to watch. It's creepy, but it's very well thought out and very well written. I'm hooked. So if you happen to be looking for a new cop drama that isn't a typical cop drama and don't mind getting involved in a week to week whodunit, check out The Following.

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