The Following, TV review


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The Independent Culture

Hands up who actually believed serial-killing cult leader Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) had burned to death in the boathouse at the end of the first season of The Following (Sky Atlantic)? In this first episode of series two, he was back, of course, but then if you've seen enough scary movies, you'll already have guessed that. Crazed murderers have a way of coming back from the dead.

Kevin Williamson, the show's creator, certainly has seen enough scary movies, which he proved when he kicked off the Nineties slasher movie revival with knowing, self-referential scripts for Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer. The Following's dialogue rarely exhibits the wit which made Williamson's name, so thank goodness for Kevin number two, Kevin Bacon, who stars as Ryan Hardy, the FBI agent on Carroll's tail. It's easily forgotten, but when he's not flogging internet service providers, Bacon is a brilliantly watchable actor.

Two impressively creepy scenes stood out this episode. Early on, a knife-wielding gang stormed a New York Subway carriage wearing masks of Joe Carroll's face. Later, a pair of Patrick Bateman-wannabe twins romanced the corpse of a young woman. Hopefully, we'll see more of these two weirdos, because it's hard to imagine another compelling plot being wrung out of Joe Carroll's increasingly implausible survival. The Following is one of the most reliably gory shows on television, but it could still do with some new blood.