|Created by||Kevin Williamson|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||22 (List of episodes)|
|Location(s)||New York City, New York|
|Camera setup||Single camera|
|Running time||42-45 minutes|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original run||January 21, 2013– present|
The Following is an American television drama series which premiered on Fox on January 21, 2013, about an FBI agent trying to catch a serial killer and his murderous cult. The series was created by Kevin Williamson and is jointly produced by Outerbanks Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television.
The first season premiered on January 21, 2013 and consisted of 15 episodes. On March 4, 2013, the series was renewed for a second season, which premiered on January 19, 2014. The series' renewal for a third season was announced on March 7, 2014.
The Following's first season centers on former FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) and his attempts to re-capture serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) following the latter's escape from prison. Hardy soon discovers that Carroll has surrounded himself with a group of like-minded individuals, whom he met while teaching and while in prison, and turned them into a cult of fanatical killers, including his right-hand, Emma Hill (Valorie Curry). When Carroll's son Joey Matthews (Kyle Catlett) is abducted by his father's followers, Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore), Debra Parker (Annie Parisse) and the rest of the FBI discover that it is the first step in a wider plan for Carroll to escape custody, humiliate Hardy, and be reunited with his ex-wife Claire Matthews (Natalie Zea).
The second season centers on a new cult, led by Lily Gray (Connie Nielsen) and her sons Mark and Luke (Sam Underwood), as they begin to develop and make public statements to lure Carroll out of hiding while the rest of the world believes him to be dead. Weston is re-recruited by Special Agent Mendez (Valerie Cruz) and the FBI in order to find the new cult; however, Hardy and his niece Max Hardy (Jessica Stroup) have plans of their own to track them down and find Carroll, provided he is in fact alive.
Cast and characters
- Kevin Bacon as Ryan Hardy, a former FBI agent, recalled to assist the FBI once Carroll escapes and his cult begins to develop
- James Purefoy as Joe Carroll, a former professor turned serial killer and cult leader
- Shawn Ashmore as Mike Weston, a young FBI agent
- Valorie Curry as Emma Hill, a follower and romantic partner of Joe Carroll
- Natalie Zea as Claire Matthews (season 1), Joe Carroll's ex-wife, who also had a relationship with Ryan Hardy
- Annie Parisse as Debra Parker (season 1), head of the investigation on Carroll and his cult
- Nico Tortorella as Jacob Wells (season 1), one of Carroll's followers and romantic interest of both Emma and Paul
- Adan Canto as Paul Torres (season 1), one of Carroll's followers, working closely with Jacob and Emma
- Kyle Catlett as Joey Matthews (season 1), Joe Carroll and Claire Matthews' son
- Jessica Stroup as Max Hardy (season 2), niece of Ryan Hardy and a New York City Police Department cop
- Connie Nielsen as Lily Gray (season 2), one of Carroll's followers and mother-figure to Luke and Mark
- Tiffany Boone as Mandy Lang (season 2), daughter of Judy, an admirer of Carroll
- Sam Underwood as Luke/Mark (season 2), twins that are both followers of Carroll
Kevin Williamson pitched The Following to Fox rather than another company because it was "home of his all-time favorite show, 24". Comparing Hardy with Jack Bauer, he described the character as someone who "will die saving the moment" and "[carries] the weight of every victim on his shoulders".
Williamson knew he wanted to produce a show that would be gory and knew it would be controversial. When Fox Broadcasting Chief Operating Officer Joe Earley was asked about the subject material, he answered that the network felt pressured to draw in a large audience to equal the broad scope and intensity of the narrative.
To slip gory scenes past the Standards and Practices department at Fox Broadcasting, Williamson explained, "There are tricks... Okay, in the same episode there's an actor cutting someone in the jugular, and you're harping on the sex scene? So I sent a little email to [Fox Entertainment chairman] Kevin Reilly, and within 15 minutes the broadcast-and-standards people were like, 'It's okay'".
Williamson wanted to cast "a tough guy with a boyish side" in the role of Ryan Hardy and told his agent that he had someone like Kevin Bacon in mind for the role. When his agent suggested Bacon himself, Williamson discovered that Bacon had spent the past four years trying to find a television program he would like to do. Bacon described his attraction to the role as stemming from the way it centered on a life-or-death situation. Jeananne Goossen was cast in the role of FBI agent Jennifer Mason in the pilot, but the role was reworked and in subsequent episodes of the series, her character was written out and replaced by Special Agent Debra Parker, played by Annie Parisse.
|Season||Episodes||Originally aired||DVD and Blu-ray release date|
|Season premiere||Season finale||Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|1||15||January 21, 2013||April 29, 2013||January 7, 2014||December 2, 2013||November 13, 2013|
|2||15||January 19, 2014||April 28, 2014||TBA||TBA||TBA|
Including other digital sources, the premiere episode was watched by a total of 20.34 million viewers.
|Season||Timeslot (ET)||Number of Episodes||Premiere||Finale||TV Season||Overall rank||18–49 rank||Overall viewership|
USA Today's Robert Bianco rated the show highly, calling it "one of the most violent, and certainly the most frightening, series ever made by a commercial broadcast network," adding "some plot twists seem implausible at best, others are overdone or gratuitous. But some implausibility comes with the horror/suspense genre, and there's no question [Kevin] Williamson has mastered it — just as there's no question that the match of wills between the wounded [Kevin] Bacon and malevolent [James] Purefoy is exceedingly well played."
Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly stated: "The weakest part of The Following is the idea that Carroll was a college professor who held his classes spellbound with lectures about Thoreau, Emerson, and, most crucially, Edgar Allan Poe." He added: "The drama's strongest elements override this flaw. Both Bacon and Purefoy are so intensely earnest, The Following quickly supersedes its patent Silence of the Lambs setup. The moments that focus on Carroll's criminal cult give the series its real power, and the modern-day variations on Charlie Manson's kill-crazy crew are genuinely spooky."
The Wall Street Journal's Nancy Dewolf Smith considers the series "both better and worse than those movies where a procession of young people get killed so reliably and gorily that the audience laughs after it screams," adding, "There is some suspense here, even if it is mainly because the violence when it comes is so swift and sickening. But the show still feels slack. Is it a case of a serial-killer cliché too far?"
Hank Stuever of The Washington Post called the series "a trite, gratuitously violent exercise in still more stylishly imagined American horror stories." He added, "It is filled with melodramatic sleuthing that you've seen over and over."
Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times said the series was "hard to turn off and even harder to watch" and that "precisely because it is so bleak and relentlessly scary, The Following offers a more salutary depiction of violence than do series that use humor to mitigate horror — and thereby trivialize it."
Awards and accolades
|2013||39th Saturn Awards||Best Network Television Series||The Following||Nominated|
|Best Actor on Television||Kevin Bacon||Won|
|2014||People's Choice Awards||Favorite Dramatic TV Actor||Kevin Bacon||Nominated|
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