'The Following' review: Mindless violence, soapy shenanigans run amok after killer debut

The pilot for FOX's serial killer drama "The Following," starring Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy, is so slick, so tense and so grisly that it sets a high bar for the series that follows. But it's the subsequent three episodes that truly set the tone for what emerges as another disappointing attempt by network television to channel the best of cable TV.The set-up involves an imprisoned serial killer, Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), who shares a dark past with a troubled FBI agent, Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon), including mutual affection for the same woman, Claire Matthews (Natalie Zea). When Carroll manages to escape, Hardy is determined to protect the sole survivor (Maggie Grace) of Carroll's previous reign of terror. What Hardy doesn't yet know is just how far Carroll's reach extends. Anyone looking for soapy twists and turns, shocking violence and a fast-paced ride will get what they want from creator Kevin Williamson and crew, just...



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