Natalie Zea comes across as beautiful, sophisticated, vulnerable and interesting in her portrayal of Claire Matthews. However, (yes, there is always a however), the character that the writers give her seems to be a species of broken record by the seventh episode – and they need to up the game to keep her vital and interesting.
Imagine the television series 24 meeting the television series Prison Break. At least that’s how I feel when I watch The Following.
Tag Line: Even Serial Killers have friends.
Maybe on television, but most serial killers don’t have many friends. Most of them are loners and losers with higher than normal IQ’s but underdeveloped social skills. The writing staff tried to make the actors into those people, but they failed primarily because they don’t have the time to develop each dysfunctional murderer and the actors themselves are quite charismatic — because they’re good actors.
There is a large network of serial killers on the loose and they are conveniently embedded almost everywhere. Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon), a former FBI special agent has been sleeping with Dr. Claire Matthews (Natalie Zea), the wife of Joe Carroll (James Purefoy). They met while Hardy investigated Joe Carroll for a series of murders.
Joe Carroll is a former university professor who taught American Literature and has an affinity to Edgar Allen Poe. He recreates the murders in Poe’s work and as we find as the series progresses, he has hundreds of devoted murderers at his beck and call.
The writing takes on a unbelievable beat as Carroll and his followers seem to be at the right place and the right time while the FBI/Police never seem to be. Bacon and Purefoy anchor the acting talent, but the acting is very good across the board, so I’m not taking a shot at them at all. They are bound by the story telling, which varies between good and weak in my humble opinion. Emma Hill (Valorie Curry) does a great job of portraying one of the soulless serial killers who hang on Joe Carroll’s every word. The first season was recently renewed and so there will be a second.
In the series Prison Break (which included Kevin Bacon), the show held together for two seasons and then petered out in the third. The first two seasons were quite good. And The Following is good enough to keep me tuning in. I question that it has the depth to keep people coming back to the semi-slasher series after a season or two of melodrama, but I hope that the writers prove me wrong. 24 kept its audience by having the hero, Jack Bauer, jumping into new situations each year. It’s nearly impossible to do that with a slasher series because you get desensitized by the slashing eventually and the plot arcs are quite predictable.
My overall recommendation: It’s good enough to hold my interest so far, but I am skeptical that they can hold an audience through the second season despite superior actors in the cast.
7 out of a possible 10.