Great, or not so much?

Everybody should have friends.

Everybody should have friends.

I’m of two minds after watching the first two episodes of the new Fox show, The Following.

On the one hand, it’s beautifully shot, the casting is great and getting the opportunity to see Kevin Bacon exercise his dramatic chops on a weekly basis is sublime. Plus, Kevin Williamson – the creator of Dawson’s Creek and the Scream horror movie franchise, among others – has created a wonderful villain, the serial-killing high priest of an Edgar Allan Poe cult who lures his followers by becoming their friend. There’s a lot of potential here, a terrific set-up.

On the other hand, the writing is … not always awesome. When we meet Hardy (Bacon), it is years after he has captured the killer, Joe Carroll (James Purefoy). Carroll escapes, and Bacon – once the FBI’s darling, now an outcast from the agency – is brought in as a consultant. When Bacon originally catches Carroll, it is after Carroll has stabbed him in the heart with an ice pick. We find out through the course of events that Hardy also falls in love with Carroll’s ex, but doesn’t stay with her as Hardy fears for her safety should Carroll seek retribution. So as we watch Hardy work in the now, it is literally with a broken heart (powered by a pacemaker). That’s the labored, hammer-you-over-the-head metaphor from Episode 1. Another such metaphor pops up in Episode 2. Toss in some very by-the-numbers, on-the-nose, been-there-done-that exposition (see Hardy addressing the FBI agents upon first meeting in Episode 1), and it’s a little troubling. A lack of respect for the intelligence of viewers frustrates me in any show, and Williamson is a better writer than that.

That said, there’s enough here to keep my attention. I look forward to seeing where The Following goes.

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