Review: The Following

Since the channel Sky Atlantic came to British screens just over two years ago, it has been showcasing some of TV’s most diverse and riveting shows, such as fantasy epic Game of Thrones (mentioned eight times in the top ten most-watched shows on the channel, according to the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board), journalistic drama The Newsroom, historical romp The Borgias, and something altogether more sinister, in The Following.

Now nearing its sixth week on the channel, The Following tells the story of Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon), an ex-FBI agent who has been called back onto the force to revisit the case of Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), a man he caught in 2003. Carroll was an English college professor with a love for Edgar Allan Poe, who savagely murdered 14 of his female students.

However, there is another layer to the story. In the eight years that Joe had been in prison, he had enlisted the help of a group of people who had been visiting him, and had begun to admire his work and live by his teachings. The group are targeting anyone who is associated with Carroll, and it is up to Hardy and the team to get inside Joe’s head and find out exactly what is going on before it’s too late.

Even after only watching a few episodes, you can see that this is not your average police drama. The viewers have already been treated to developing relationships beautifully brought together through the art of flashback, – as well as amazing performances from Bacon (who may be playing the cliché ‘fallen hero making a comeback role’, but is doing so with a great sense of modesty) and Purefoy, (a menacing, charismatic manipulator who you should really loathe and despise, but in reality he is charming and intelligent, so you can’t take your eyes off him).

Mix this in with fantastic supporting actors, the right amount of blood for it not to tip over the edge into ‘gore-porn’ (a la Saw), and literary allusions for the book lovers to lust over, and you have a sophisticated and spine-chilling thriller which is guaranteed to keep viewers guessing until the very end.

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