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on 14 April 2013
The premise of The Following involves Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), a former university professor with a specialism in, and fanatical adoration of, Edgar Allen Poe who, as the series opens, has just broken out of prison where he was serving a sentence for multiple, gruesome murders. Cue the FBI turning to the man who was responsible for putting him behind bars in the first place: former agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon). As a tiny spoiler (the clue, after all, is in the title), it quickly transpires that, during his time in prison, Carroll has succeeded in building up a legion of loyal disciples, all of whom espouse his mantra of death.

The Following could best be described as 24 without the time limit and where terrorists have been replaced with a murderous cult led by a convicted serial killer. The series is utterly captivating whilst being an exercise in frustration; like 24, progress is often one-step-forwards-two-steps-back. Most episodes contain some sort of twist which leaves you constantly guessing, and the anonymity of the cult members leads you to distrust almost all but the best-established characters.

What The Following does well is the depth it gives not only the leading characters, but also a large part of the supporting cast. Unlike 24, the timeline is not completely linear and a lot of the characterisation is built up through flashbacks, which works very effectively. Backstories add to the twists as well as the character development. Bacon is excellent as the troubled hero, dealing with Hardy's physical ailments (a hangover from his first capture of Carroll) and his emotional trauma and deficiencies. Purefoy is also highly convincing as the charming, charismatic, cold-blooded, sadistic killer; you don't struggle to believe that he could inspire the devotion of his army of murderers.

I should say that this may not be a show for everyone. If you're the type of viewer who likes total realism in your tv series then you may need to look elsewhere; whilst I wouldn't describe it as completely far-fetched, it does need to be watched with a partial suspension of disbelief. All too often, in order that the story isn't over after only a few episodes, the main characters appear to have had their commonsense glands temporarily removed. You will find yourself screaming in frustration at the screen when an agent refuses to pull their trigger (well, I was anyway), and shaking your head in disbelief when one or two agents go alone on a mission that requires an army (are we to believe that the FBI, in the hunt for a cult of unknown size, can't spare the manpower?). Equally, this is not for the fainthearted; the gore factor is set to `high' from the outset and the violence is graphic. However, if you can get past these points then I would highly recommend this as a compelling, gripping drama that fans of thrillers and/or 24 should enjoy greatly.
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on 22 August 2014
Brilliant nail biting series. Be warned, you'll want to watch the episodes back to back ...addictive viewing. James Purefoy is delectably devious and alluring as the manipulative serial killer and cult leader, Joe Carroll. Kevin Bacon is fantastic and utterly convincing as the relentless and courageous criminologist, battling his way through every twisted challenge in his pursuit of Joe until the season's dynamite finale.

This series redefines the term 'suspense thriller'. This is the new 'Hitchcock' for the 21st Century!
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on 8 November 2015
I brought this series individually as I found it cheaper that way, all three series are brilliant, each episode gives a different surprise and even so there is a main story we don't know what to expect next. To hear series 3 is the final series was a little disappointing but again a lot of series are ruined because they go on a long time, we can be thankful that this one will not be ruined by that and there is 45 episodes so plenty of viewing and entertainment, I can't find any reason to give this series less then five star as it keeps one on their feet and plenty of surprises, apart from the main actors one never knows who is who' friend or foe? Great writing, acting and story line 100% well worth watching and collecting.
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on 8 July 2015
This is a heavily formulaic FBI drama based around a Machiavellian British teacher-cum-serial killer (yawn), the eponymous following being those who espouse his philosophy, one unconvincingly (if not ridiculously) based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe who, from the paucity of American literature, is singled out by this supposedly ultra-intelligent academic as a paragon of the romantic.

There is a half-hearted attempt to match murders with Poe's ideas, though anybody hoping Kevin Bacon's trademark anguished scowl would be tested at this stage by a gigantic sharpened pendulum, or by walls slowly closing in to crush him, will be disappointed.

In fact this derivative saga, frequently punctuated with violence to gee things up, instead takes a lot of its references from mostly superior works of cinema, from The Master through Hannibal to the various Manson narratives, along with countless tropes from slasher movies, even shamelessly dropping Fight Club into its borrowings. This sounds like fun, but as the scriptwriters go to the well once too often they begin to bulk things out with an increasingly tiresome soap opera subplot based on the lives of everyday psychopathic folk, before the series ultimately hits the buffers with an ending that's just plain bad.

And there are how many seasons of this? Enough already.
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on 12 March 2015
I watched the first episode and Kevin Bacon was excellent. The storyline not too bad. After getting partway through the second episode I decided the storyline was relying too much on gore rather than real suspense and stopped watching.

This is a shame because it had potential but slipped into the type of contrived horror that one can see in any run of the mill film that has a cover picture with blood dripping down it.
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on 18 June 2014
Given the Americans’ almost reverential obsession with their serial killers, it was only a matter of time before the standard cat-and-mouse tussle between the killer and the FBI became the basis for a TV series.

James Purefoy plays Joe Carroll the urbane, intelligent, Hannibal Lecter’ish professor of English serial killer while Kevin Bacon is the somewhat dishevelled ex-FBI agent Ryan Hardy called back as a consultant following Carroll’s escape from prison. It all looks to conform to the standard formula but the presence of Carroll’s eponymous cult ‘following ‘ is a unique twist. Although the main plot thread is the hunt for Carroll, the gradual revealing of cultists drives the narrative while the relationship between Carroll, his ex-wife, son and Hardy adds a human dimension and allows some character development.

It is a well put together, violent, sometimes creepy & disturbing TV series which bowls along at a cracking pace but there are, unfortunately, some incredibly contrived plot devices which stretch the necessary suspension of disbelief more than a little. By the season finale it all seemed a bit improbable and silly but remained entertaining throughout. All-in-all, not as clever or intricately plotted as it could have been but not bad nonetheless.
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on 10 May 2016
4 stars because yesy i did like it lots of action and lots of suspence and gore and killings etc etc etc but towards the end of season 1 and a lot of season 2 its kind of yea yea done that already she died ohh no shes alive hes dead ohh no hes alive shes dead ohh no,, you get the point basically it is very good but its like they have dragged it out just to make more money this could have been a couple of very good films as it is I cant even be bothered to watch series 3 as it will be same stuff different series, good though i did like it would have been much better as a film or 2.
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on 24 May 2015
The series follows the exploits of Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon), a man with his own demons, as he heads up an FBI task force who is trying to catch a prolific and enigmatic serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy). But Carroll is no ordinary killer, for he's built up his own following who just happen to be serial killers. So it's the FBI verses the followers in a non stop nail-biting showdown shown over three series. No one is safe.

This enjoyable series is well acted and well written. If you like things that make you jump, gross you out and entertain then I recommend it. What is all the better is that the series has been kept short (with 45 episodes) so the story is pacey and fresh.
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on 21 April 2015
When the American TV companies want a good baddy they often pick a Brit actor - this time its James Purefoy and a good job he makes of it too. My wife and I watched the first season over the course of a week and found it compelling but we won't bother with series two or three because, basically the plot gets more and more rediculous - even though you can argue that Jonestown, Waco and Charles Manson were unbelievable events . And if you know how the first season ended then the idea of it continuing is even more rediculous. The problem with this programme is that every episode has around three or so gruesome killings, sometimes more, and it is just more and more of the same. And you have seen it all before anyway. The killings are horrible, often gratuitous and I would not recommend that anyone with mental health issues go anywhere near this programme - it is very disturbing. Should excessively graphic violence be portrayed as entertainment? This would have been much better if it had been a six episode mini-series, with less killing but more tension. One other really good thing about though is, despite the gruesome gratuitous violence there is little or no swearing!
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on 3 March 2014
I was given this as a present as I dont have the TV channel. It was intimated to me that this was one of the best series recently - what a massive disappointment. After the promising start in the first couple of episodes, the storyline degenerates into an implausible and incredible set of circumstances. Kevin Bacons character - a former FBI man - seems to have forgotten all he would have been trained in and subsequently does all the wrong things during the action. For me a series must have some credibility to work, and this loses all credibility the more episodes one watches. Holes bigger than the proverbial stagecoach appear and are left unattended, and when the plot looks like providing a sane answer, whoops- lets just invent a new set of circumstances. Sorry but I would have liked this to be a real attention grabbing series - as it is I have asked not to be given the next ones to be released as it just drives you up the wall due to sloppy script writing and ludicrous scenarios that just wouldnt happen. A big no no...
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