Terry Morrow: 'The Following' question: Do we need more violence now, Kevin Bacon?

Kevin Bacon plays a retired FBI agent who returns to bring back a serial killer to justice in "The Following."

Kevin Bacon plays a retired FBI agent who returns to bring back a serial killer to justice in "The Following."

Maybe the timing isn't right for "The Following."

It can be dressed up with strong actors Kevin Bacon, as a dashing investigator, and James Purefoy, playing the serial killer the investigator is chasing, but "The Following" is arriving at the wrong time.

The show (debuting 9 p.m. today, WTNZ, Channel 43) is extremely graphic, with scenes heavy of gun violence and very thick with torture.

Given the recent debates about whether scenes of graphic violence on TV and film (and video games) influence society, "The Following" could be seen as a classic example of using violence to wrangle an audience. It's the same mentality behind that car wreck you just can't turn away from.

"The Following" does have merit. It's easy to see why an actor as established as Bacon would want to star in this.

Coming from writer Kevin Williamson ("I Know What You Did Last Summer"), the crime drama is filled with introspective moments, resulting in long speeches that actors love to dig into. In reality, they aren't very satisfying for the audience.

The cat-and-mouse aspect of the plot serves Bacon and Purefoy well for the most part. Bacon gets to be the emotionally tortured former FBI agent Ryan Hardy, who is brought out of retirement to track down the last guy he nabbed — and has since escaped prison.

And since a hero is only as good as the villain he faces (just ask Batman or Spider-Man), Purefoy can sink his teeth into the role of serial killer and cult leader Joseph Carroll, whose following stands by to carry out his orders even if he's behind bars.

"The Following" is intensely dark and tests the boundaries of reality — and even good taste.

Perhaps too much so.

Score: HHH(out of five)

Terry Morrow may be reached at 865-342-6445 or morrowt@knoxville.com.

© 2013 Knoxville.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments » 3

Midget writes:

I love a good mystery, but don't think I will watch this one again. It was too gruesome for me. This was Criminal Minds on steroids.

iamapotatohead writes:

Watched it last night. Looks like this show will be a hit. It was filled with high paced action and suspense. Reminded me of 24 with Keifer Sutherland. Kevin Bacon did a GREAT job. I am hooked.

tkehne#325313 writes:

Did Mr. Moore even view this program? I have to wonder why this reviewer calls out "scenes of heavy gun violence" in his review of a show about a serial killer slasher. While there were plenty of graphic/bloody scenes and implied torture, they were scenes of the aftermath of the or violence and/or torture, not the violence or tortuous acts themselves. The only physically violent scene was one of Kevin Bacon being beat up with a wooden board by the serial killer immediately before his recapture. And with the loan exception of a single bullet being fired by the (at the time) FBI Agent to save the victim Sarah Fuller's life in the flashback scene, all other violence was committed with a knife. There was one bullet fired in the entire one hour show. At least the premiere episode of this show can hardly be described as including "heavy gun violence".

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Already activated? Login