This week on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday, Tiffany and I decide to take on the same show once again! Given our very different tastes and personalities (she is the Zoe to my Wash, ya’ll) we occasionally like to offer up our views on the same show.
What are we watching together this week?
The Return of Bacon.
Errr…I mean, The Following.
[Warning: This show contains some disturbing content – it may not be for everyone]
Bacon plays Ryan Hardy, former FBI agent who gets called in to consult when a serial killer escapes prison. Why does he get called in for this particular killer? Because he is the one that captured him the first time around.
Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) is the charming literature professor turned killer who escapes prison to finish what he started. You see, Bacon caught him before he could kill his last victim, one of his female students. (If there’s one thing ladies can’t resist, it’s a literature professor with an accent.)
Hardy is initially reluctant to consult, a feeling he handles with copious amounts of vodka in his water bottle*. And it’s understandable, considering he was stabbed by Carroll in their last encounter. Oh, and he did write a book about the guy. Oh! And he had some sort of fling with Carroll’s wife.
Hardy is clearly a man with great ideas.
So, is this going to be a seasons long chase, consultant versus serial killer (think Patrick Jane versus Red John)? Not quite.
Somehow, Carroll kept in touch with the outside world via the internet. These contacts were about more than getting the latest sports scores and finding out what happened on The Bachelor. Carroll developed a following, a network of people he could manipulate to do his work, whether he was locked up or not.
Creepy prospect. What good is locking up a serial killer if he can exert his influence beyond prison walls?
I enjoy psychological thrillers. I’ve never been one for horror or gore, but the mind behind even the most horrendous deeds is interesting (and disturbing) to me. What went wrong? What drove them?
And that’s why I’m on the fence with The Following.
Sure, we have a killer, one who uses the writing of Poe to inspire hm, albeit in some fairly common view of Poe’s work (I expect all this “Nevermore” nonsense from a college freshman, not a seasoned professor). But so far, the writing isn’t giving me anything more than an outwardly charming and intelligent man doing the unspeakable.
From a procedural standpoint, some of the clues when Hardy is investigating are a bit on the nose, a bit too obvious. Is that the major network assuming the audience won’t get what’s happening unless they get slapped in the face with it?
[Speaking of getting hit over the head, there is dialogue in the second episode referring to the disconnected society thanks to the internet that made Carroll’s minions possible – I can only wonder how many “social media is killing us all!” speeches we have in store]
That doesn’t even touch on how quickly we get told that Carroll developed a following on the outside via the internet. How exactly? Is it common practice to allow serial killers internet access?
And don’t get me started on the use of Poe and how so absolutely wrong it is.
I know. It probably sounds like I hate the show.
Bacon is a solid Hardy, even if Hardy is starting out as a bit of a TV trope as the former agent with bad habits who reluctantly helps with a case that threatens to consume him once again. And Purefoy? Charming. In the “I’ll kill you in your sleep” sort of way. (That’s a thing, right?)
With such solid lead actors, I would hope the writing tightens up as the show moves forward. My request? Less glorification of the serial killer – because, make no mistake, that IS what is happening here – and more focus on the psychology behind Carroll and his followers. I know the big three networks seem to think they need to shock us to get viewers, but subtle is so much more interesting. Also, less obvious clues during the procedural elements, or prior to revealing bad guys.
I give The Following an SSTV, with a warning that even if the writing on this show picks up, the disturbing subject matter may be too much for some.
And now, for something fun! In honor of the return of Bacon, our author friend Jen Kirchner recommended we play a little “Bacon Degrees”.
Where do I fall? I am proud to say that I have a Bacon degree of two. Sort of. You see, the wonderful world of social media means coming in contact with people I probably would never meet otherwise. In my case, I’ve had a couple of interactions with (and am now followed by – squee!) the awesome Joshua Malina. Since Mr. Malina is a mere degree away from Kevin Bacon via A Few Good Men, that places me two degrees away.
Did you watch The Following? What did you think? Let me know that, and how many degrees of Bacon you are in the comments! (You can use http://oracleofbacon.org/ to help you find out!)
Head over to Tiffany’s and get her thoughts on the latest Bacon.
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV):It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (NyQuil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech