TV Talk: The Following

Published March 9, 2013 by mrsrag

Starring: Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Shawn Ashmore, Natalie Zea, Annie Parisse, Valorie Curry.

Airs Mondays at 9 PM on Fox.  Crime/Drama.

We’re starting a new feature here at MRSRAG, TV Talk, where Maria and I will discuss, diss, revel, lament, vent, sing praise, et al, to the shows we watch on a regular basis.  Please feel free to comment if you like, hate, agree or vehemently oppose any of our sentiments.  This should be fun!  We’re starting with Fox’s new hit The Following.  Seven episodes have passed for this once (and possibly still) promising fast-paced Kevin Bacon vehicle.  But as we have previously mentioned, we are card carrying Nitpickers, and The Following has us in a bit of a frenzy at present.  The premise is cool.  Edgar Allen Poe obsessed, former college professor turned serial killer Joe Carroll  (Purefoy) was caught in the recent past by former FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Bacon) and WAS on Death Row.  Carroll escapes prison in the gruesome first scene of the first episode.  Hardy, who was critically injured by Carroll when he caught him, has a pacemaker, a best selling book and a life in shambles.  But the FBI still calls him in to help because he was the one who apprehended Joe in the first place.  Like I said, cool premise.  Hardy gets the job done again, not so much by good investigative work, Joe let him catch him AFTER killing the only girl who ever got away from him.  It’s here when we get the first glimpse into Joe’s followers.  The crucial players in Joe getting his “revenge” were the “gay” couple who lived next door to the poor girl (a surprisingly short stay for Lost and Taken actress Maggie Grace) for two years plus.  This is where credulity began to breakdown a bit for me, and things get worse on those lines.  Much worse.

The series has a spectacular premise, but honestly it could better reach its potential on a channel like HBO, Showtime, Cinemax or AMC.  As of late, viewers like myself have become seriously spoiled by groundbreaking shows such as Boardwalk Empire, Weeds, Breaking Bad, The Sorpranos, Game of Thrones, Mad Men etc. etc. etc.  There are so many unbelievable offerings that I can’t even come close to composing a concise list.  Recently we’ve seen an influx of big screen talent slowly leaking into network television and the aforementioned channels, which is only adding to the appeal of new and returning series’.  One of my guilty pleasures that I forgot to mention is True Blood.  I’ve read all of the wonderfully cheeky Charlaine Harris novels and although the series is a complete trainwreck, it’s MY trainwreck.  My problem with The Following is that it takes itself too seriously.  At least with True Blood I know its tongue-in-cheek and kind of laughing at itself, which is the feel of the books as well.  The Following showed major potential in the pilot episode, but has gradually lost my interest.  Between our incessant nitpicking of flaws that seem to be multiplying, the unbelievability of the plot twists and the predictability of stupid decision making, the show has infuriated us week after week.  But for some reason, we’re still watching.  I guess we just keep hoping that one episode will resonate with each of us and make a lasting impression.  Perhaps we’ll give it another try this week, but as far as I’m concerned it is skating on thin ice.  With so much great television we have to start being cutthroat about what we’re going to watch.  Next time you hear from us on TV Talk, we may no longer be following The Following.

Maria is right, there are so many great shows on the cable channels, the networks are kind of behind the eight ball with their constraints on language, nudity etc.  The Following certainly would be better served away from Fox, but that being said, it still has problems.  We’re now on our second prison escape from Death Row in seven episodes.  The followers are EVERYWHERE.  FBI, SWAT, local cops, lawyers.  In one episode, three “follower” kidnappers escaped from a house that was surrounded by various law enforcement agencies.  AND, despite knowing that they can’t seem to trust anyone, the FBI are forever sending people in alone without back-up to get killed.  Joe’s Ex Claire (Zea), in protective custody for her own safety, was allowed to “escape” to meet one of the “followers.”  At the end of episode seven, Joe pulls up to the new hideout, and “followers” come pouring out of the house like clowns out of a Volkswagen.  It’s ridiculous, really.  We may keep watching, but something has to change or it won’t be much longer.   

 

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