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The Following Series Premiere Review: A Poe Excuse for a Serial-killer Drama

There's a lot of blood, shocks, and Edgar Allen Poe in Fox's new drama, but not much else. //

'The Following' premiere recap: Did Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy earn your loyal following?

After months of anticipation and an extraordinary viral marketing campaign, Kevin Williamson's serial killer thriller "The Following" debuted on Monday night on FOX. The dark, haunting drama brings Kevin Bacon to the small screen in his first television role, as former FBI agent Ryan Hardy. He's an alcoholic, a loner, and an expert on serial killer and cult leader Joe Carroll (James Purefoy).Former lit professor Carroll, on death row for murdering 14 college women nearly a decade ago, has used his considerable charm and seductive charisma to prey on some weak, disturbed individuals and create his own network of devoted killers outside the prison walls.In the pilot episode, Carroll escapes just long enough to finish the job he began nine years ago, before Hardy caught him. His idol, Edgar Allan Poe, never finished his final work, but Carroll is intent on besting him. With the help of "Billy" and "Will", two men who have been... //

'The Following' Review: Art Imitates Death

Kevin Williamson's best villains are writers. //

'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... //

Review: Kevin Bacon helps make 'The Following' worth following

The actor plays a former FBI agent tracking an escaped serial killer (James Purefoy). It can be disturbingly violent but is well made. In Fox's bloody new drama "The Following," Kevin Bacon plays one of the more oft-used characters in thriller fiction. Alcoholic and emotionally detached, his character is former FBI agent Ryan Hardy, who has never quite recovered from his dance with the devil. //,0,5532733.story

'The Following' Like A Movie Of The Week -- Every Week

If you've had your TV set to CTV or Fox, or been to a movie theater in the last month or so, " The Following " has been shoved down your throat. Hard. And despite the desire to not give in, all it takes is the first few minutes of the pilot and -- bam! We're sucked in. Kevin Williamson may be synonymous with teenage horror stories -- the "Scream" movies, "The Vampire Diaries," "Dawson's Creek" -- but his latest creation, "The Following," is as grown-up as it gets. Aside from appearances as himself ("Will & Grace," "Bored to Death"), Kevin Bacon hasn't been on the small screen since his pre-"Footloose" days as Tim Werner on "Guiding Light" (back when it was called "The Guiding Light"). But Bacon saw first-hand how great a TV gig is, thanks to his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, so he decided to follow (sorry) her to television. And, boy, oh boy, it's quite the return , one reminiscent of Kiefer Sutherland's run as Jack Bauer on "24" (and Fox is hoping lightning strikes twice). Bacon plays Ryan Hardy, a former FBI agent who is brought out of retirement when the biggest serial killer he ever put behind bars escapes from prison in as bloody a way as one can escape (think more T-Bag than Michael Scofield). Joe Carroll (James Purefoy, "Rome") plays the infamous killer, but we soon learn his escape is just the beginning of a sick and twisted revenge plot. Hence, the cult of serial killers he recruits to follow/worship him. The team of federal agents Hardy finds himself working with/for -- Shawn Ashmore ("X-Men") as Agent Mike Weston, guest star Billy Brown ("Dexter") as Agent Reilly, Annie Parisse ("Person of Interest") as FBI Specialist Debra Parker (she debuts in episode two) -- are likable enough, and Ryan's connection to Joe's ex-wife, Claire Matthews (Natalie Zea, "Dirty Sexy Money") adds a whole other element. But it's the relationship between the two men, the agent and the killer, the hunter and the hunted, the writer and his subject, that drives this story. Carroll's failure as an author has driven him to create a real-life tale, which focuses on killing as a sign of living with Hardy as his lead character, the reluctant hero. His inspiration? Edgar Allen Poe, particularly the premise that "insanity is art." There's a third component in "The Following," which has to do with his son (who looks more like Hardy than Carroll, hmmm) and three of Joe's disciples, but that's all I'll say about that. All you need to know is "The Following" isn't your average procedural. This is character-driven stuff, complete with flashbacks and backstories that are seamless and fascinating and, most importantly, make sense in the narrative. Tonight's pilot is a non-stop, creepy, watch-from-behind-a-pillow fare, and the second episode, "Chapter," slows down -- but not by much. In fact, it was just enough since my heart was still racing from the first edge-of-your-seat hour. In the coming weeks, expect the usual games of cat-and-mouse, but with the odd killing (or 10) each episode. If it's any consolation, it's not always eye-stabbing ickiness; sometimes it's pouring gasoline on the next victim and setting them ablaze in public in broad daylight. But it's more than a "Criminal Minds" episode (not to knock "Criminal," by any means); "The Following" just plays more like a movie of the week, every week. So if "Silence of the Lambs" is what you want to watch every Monday night, then "The Following" is the show for you. You freaks. "The Following" debuts Monday, Jan. 21 at 9 p.m. EST on CTV/Fox. //

Television Review: ‘The Following,’ Starring Kevin Bacon, on Fox

In Fox’s series "The Following" Kevin Bacon plays a burned-out former F.B.I agent brought out of retirement to hunt followers of a serial killer. //

Review: FOX's 'The Following' an empty horror exercise

HitFix's Alan Sepinwall reviews "The Following," the new FOX drama from "Scream" writer Kevin Williamson, in which Kevin Bacon chases a charismatic but cliched serial killer who has trained a group of eager followers. //

The Following: TV Review

The Fox series from Kevin Williamson turns up the violence, but falls short of gritty, cable-quality writing. //