With successful serial killer dramas like Dexter and Criminal Minds already captivating audiences of the silver screen, what is it that separates Kevin Bacon's new serial killer drama, The Following, from the rest?
One word: originality. Originality is what drew viewers to Showtime's hit TV show adaptation of Jeff Lindsay's Dexter novels, and now originality is what separates The Following. It is in no way similar to the twisted first person dark avenger drama that is Dexter and is not a procedural like Criminal Minds. Instead it is a chilling take on the modern serial killer, who not only possesses the sociopathic nature to be an infamous killer, but also possesses the charisma and charm to cultivate an obsessive, cult-like following.
In its pilot episode, The Following seduces its viewers in believing the show will follow a straight forward plot; serial killer escapes from jail and resumes his murderous rampage. However, as more and more twists and turns begin to define this dark and thrilling drama, audiences realize the show they originally thought to be simple is anything but.
Just as killer Joe Carroll uses Edgar Allen Poe to not only inspire his kills, but to symbolize them; the show often uses Poe symbolism themselves with their use of loud thundering sounds of heart beats ("The Tell-Tale Heart") in several sequences. The literary symbolism along with the suspenseful and mind-boggling twists and turns command the first installment of The Following, making it a must-see show of the new year.
A crucial aspect as to why this show is so good, it the cast. Kevin Bacon headlines the show as Ryan Hardy, the off duty FBI agent that is thrust back into action when the killer he once caught is on the loose again. Bacon digs deep into his role to convey his character's hardships, while also giving audiences a protagonist they not only yearn to learn more about, but a protagonist that they can root for. As the charming yet sadistic, Edgar Allen Poe worshiping killer Joe Carroll, James Purefoy brings to screen a character that can easily be seen as hated by many, but also acquires the charisma and passion to be worshiped by some.
Full of pulse-pounding moments and clever writing, The Following proves to be the next greatest serial killer drama. As for what comes next... you will just have to follow to find out.