Return of The Following
That's right guys and girls, The Following is yet again back on our screens! This short post will cover my thoughts on its return and on the first season.
This post will contain spoilers just to warn those who don't want to know what happened in the last season.
For those of you who were living under a rock the last year or so, The Following was one of the most popular shows of last year and for me a highly anticipated one. Starring Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy as the two leads (Ryan Hardy and Joe Carroll) , we were captivated by the story and by Purefoy's powerful on-screen presence.
The story was based around the relationship between the two lead characters but more importantly James Purefoy's character Joe Carroll; a charismatic serial killer who did something no other serial killer before him had ever done, created a network of highly dangerous serial killers, believers...followers.
The FBI estimates there are currently over 300 active serial killers in the United States. What would happen if these killers had a way of communicating and connecting with each other? What if they were able to work together and form alliances across the country? What if one brilliant psychotic serial killer was able to bring them all together and activate a following. via IMDB
What made it great
The thing that made it such an anticipated series for myself and others was in my opinion very much because of the marketing in the lead up to the start of the show.
In what was probably a great move by Fox for a mid-season show, they began marketing The Following in early October, which was pretty early considering it premiered late January.
They began with a teaser campaign using a mixture of mediums that conveyed the show’s cult themes. But I think the most striking one that caught everyone's attention were the living one sheets with statements like: “Even Serial Killers Have Friends”; “Do I Look Like a Killer?”
The marketing behind it was truly great. Yes they did have the cannon in their arsenal which was the tastiest man in Hollywood aka Mr Kevin Bacon but they played that down and concentrated on the idea that a killer could be anyone which was the core premise of the show.
A series of teaser trailers followed on and the shows launch was pretty much a world-wide event as everyone went crazy for it and thought it would be the show of the year.
The Following had some of its best moments with the selective use of flashbacks. One of these moments set Ryan up as a man who was capable of anything even if he seemed like a saint, it was a shock to find out he murdered the drug addict behind his fathers death.
In the first half of the season flashbacks were also the only way we were able to connect with Joe outside of his cell with the best moment being when back before Ryan suspected him of being a killer, they bonded over scotch.
Joe Carroll was an immediate icon with the way he was played by the talented James Purefoy and the addition of other great acting talents such as Shawn Ashmore of Xmen fame helped to boost the shows popularity even more.
Where it fell down
Unfortunately the shock factor that The Following brought to the table wore off after every other character was either a killer or expendable. This lead to people being a bit turned off by the show.
One of the biggest annoyances to people was the idea that the FBI could not find the massive mansion that a bunch of serial killers were hiding in and that they were still able to kill as and when they pleased.
There was also the idea of the curse Ryan had that everyone around him died or that every other person was a follower. While interesting at first it quickly got played out so much so that it pretty much became a game to guess which character would die because of Ryan in the next episode and which would be a follower.
It got so bad that when it was revealed that Molly; Ryan's nurse girlfriend was actually Joe's follower almost no one was surprised.
The finale did tie up a lot of loose ends with a lot of death, which I liked. If there's one thing to love about the show it's not afraid to kill a character. However they made Carroll seem like such a little bitch, which in my opinion was just so wrong for him.
The Following returned last week and the newest episode is on tonight. The story has moved on a year and so the characters have been given the opportunity to mature and change.
Ryan is now a teacher, has nothing to do with the FBI and has a sponsor for his addiction. Carroll has seemingly been confirmed dead and everything is fine and dandy.
This illusion is very quickly shattered as followers rise back up on the anniversary of Carroll's death. Ryan has secretly been investigating Carroll and his following. And at the end of the episode it is
revealedconfirmed that Carroll didn't go out like a little bitch in a fire (he did however hide out like one for a year!).
I hope very much that Carroll has a damn good reason for hiding out other than his wound he had at the end of the first season.
With the new season has come a change of style in both the characters and the way the show is being marketed online.
It's evolved from what it was in the first season and has taken on new life and this is reflected in the content being put out to fans of the show. While still carrying the same themes from the first season the style is just that little bit more playful and almost voyeuristic in nature.
My thoughts on where the show should go with the new season are that it should build on what it did in the first season. So more innocent bodies, more FBI failures and more shocking follower reveals. But this time...do it better!
I think everyone wants to see how this show will end so I don't think the audience for this dark show will abandon it. As long as it can effectively capitalise on the creepy moments and allow itself to be more playful I think this show could truly hit its potential.
Hope you enjoyed a brief extract of my thoughts on the show and I hope you watch the second season. I will probably do a more detailed version later in the season or at the end.
As always I'll end this with something TV related that appropriately sums up my thoughts on the first season.
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