• Network: FOX
  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 21, 2013
  • Season #: 1 , 2
Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 35
  2. Negative: 4 out of 35
  1. Reviewed by: Bruce Miller
    May 29, 2013
    60
    Part Greek tragedy, part “Silence of the Lambs” offspring, The Following has an intriguing premise that almost rises above its layered plotting.
  2. Reviewed by: Sara Smith
    Feb 1, 2013
    60
    The Following, compelling and frustrating from its opening credits, sets viewers up for a season-long, blood-soaked rematch between an evil intellectual and his law-enforcement nemesis.
  3. Reviewed by: Tom Long
    Feb 1, 2013
    67
    [A] somewhat overheated but still fairly effective new thriller.
  4. Reviewed by: Geoff Berkshire
    Jan 22, 2013
    50
    Anyone looking for soapy twists and turns, shocking violence and a fast-paced ride will get what they want from creator Kevin Williamson and crew, just don't expect the show to dig deep into its characters or give you much to think about in the process.
  5. 60
    Nothing in this pilot promises how fascinating the show will ultimately become, and unfortunately, the show is more efficient than truly good. ... The first four episodes contain no aesthetically pleasing shots or sequences, just tedious coverage of talk and action, and too many of its 'shocking' moments are dependent on visual/aural shortcuts. ... Nevertheless, The Following fascinates, thanks to soulful lead performances by Bacon and Justified's Natalie Zea (as Carroll's ex-wife) and the nervy way it develops and sustains its central flourish.
  6. Reviewed by: Curt Wagner
    Jan 21, 2013
    75
    [Purefoy's and Bacon's] performances--and scenes that focus on Carroll's killer minions that I won't talk about lest I spoil things for readers--are the strongest parts of the series and overshadow the weaknesses. Those include numerous plot holes and some sketchy logic, plus Williamson's annoying habit of beating us over the head with the Poe references.
  7. Reviewed by: Mike Lechevallier
    Jan 21, 2013
    63
    The series loses some of its drive by its dreary fourth episode, when a labored love triangle between Carroll's disciples mars the overall flow of the central arc. ... Until that point, though, The Following is mostly engaging, even if it never truly substantiates its antagonist's godlike stature in the eyes of his worshipers.
  8. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Jan 21, 2013
    80
    Bacon, always a watchable actor, is the perfect, and necessary, counterbalance to Purefoy.
  9. Reviewed by: Liz Medendorp
    Jan 21, 2013
    70
    Referencing literary works and imitating horror films may seem derivative, but by drawing from the familiar, The Following obviates the need for extensive exposition and jumps right into the action.
  10. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Jan 21, 2013
    50
    Through the show's first four episodes, an unexpected love triangle develops among three of Carroll's devotees that's tinged with unexpected sexual politics and questions about sexual identity. It's the only aspect of 'The Following' that feels fresh. Too bad this plot only serves as a side dish; the main course is the same old reheated serial killer/crime solver hash.
  11. Reviewed by: Gail Pennington
    Jan 21, 2013
    75
    The Following is as graphically violent, gruesomely gory and generally horrifying as anything on network TV and most anything on basic cable. But as crafted by Kevin Williamson, 'The Following' is also riveting.
  12. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Jan 21, 2013
    80
    If what you're looking for is a good scare that's cunningly and ruthlessly executed, be forewarned. The Following is the real deal.
  13. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Jan 21, 2013
    10
    Despite its dour atmospherics and some attempts at higher-caliber acting from Kevin Bacon and a large ensemble cast, The Following is a trite, gratuitously violent exercise in still more stylishly imagined American horror stories. It is filled with melodramatic sleuthing that you've seen over and over. Enough is enough, isn't it?
  14. Reviewed by: Lori Rackl
    Jan 21, 2013
    75
    The story isn't brilliant or all that sophisticated, but the scripts are stocked with enough clever twists and turns to keep you guessing.
  15. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Jan 21, 2013
    50
    There are twists and turns a-plenty, and Bacon and Purefoy are so good they make up for the silliness - if not the gratuitous gore.
  16. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Jan 21, 2013
    80
    If you can make it through Monday's first episode of Fox's much-anticipated new suspense drama 'The Following,' you have some intense, but high-quality, television ahead.
  17. Reviewed by: Mary McNamara
    Jan 21, 2013
    70
    It's hardly a new story... But ... 'The Following' is tricked out with enough narrative and casting bling to warrant the huge push Fox has given it.
  18. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Jan 21, 2013
    58
    Williamson has crafted a pilot tense and frightening. But in the subsequent three episodes, The Following deteriorates into a serialized version of CBS' "Criminal Minds." ... After four episodes, this viewer was weary of seeing women terrorized.
  19. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Jan 21, 2013
    30
    Given that this show was created by "Scream" writer Kevin Williamson, there's the usual showy deconstruction of scary-story cliches, but that deconstruction just draws attention to how hollow this project is. ... Ultimately, my dislike for The Following has less to do with its gore factor than with its essential laziness, silliness and pretentiousness.
  20. Reviewed by: Troy Patterson
    Jan 21, 2013
    60
    When the show talks about crime literature, it's quite dull, but when it shows instead of tells, it's something to see.
  21. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Jan 21, 2013
    88
    Some plot twists seem implausible at best, others are overdone or gratuitous. But some implausibility comes with the horror/suspense genre, and there's no question Williamson has mastered it--just as there's no question that the match of wills between the wounded Bacon and malevolent Purefoy is exceedingly well played.
  22. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Jan 21, 2013
    60
    I had hoped The Following' would be a more self-aware about its own violence... Instead, The Following simply goes for more generic thrills, using a lot of horror-story clichés including making the most virulent followers into boys and girls next door. It's a well put together show, so that the four episodes sent for preview flew by. But it doesn't invite bigger thoughts, which is what violent cable series such as "Dexter" and "Boardwalk Empire" have done at their best.
  23. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Jan 20, 2013
    70
    Though dazzlingly plotted and acted, the show is not easily watched.
  24. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Jan 20, 2013
    70
    The Following ... is one of the most disturbing procedural dramas on television, in its own way creepier than similar network shows and even cable series like "Dexter" or "Breaking Bad" or "The Walking Dead." It's hard to turn off and even harder to watch.
  25. Reviewed by: David Hiltbrand
    Jan 20, 2013
    80
    The pilot rivals anything you'll see at the cineplex in terms of acting, surprise, and suspense. You will go into each commercial break with your heart in your throat. But what really makes The Following more like a feature film than a primetime program is its extravagant, emphatic savagery.
  26. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Jan 18, 2013
    58
    The Following is a bummer of significant proportions. Not that it's bad--it's not--but it's bleak, sordid, blood-spattered and creepy (though not necessarily always "creepy" in a good way, like "The Walking Dead").
  27. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Jan 18, 2013
    42
    Williamson may have put thought into what this show is about, but what comes across on screen is an empty exercise in fetishizing the charismatic evil of serial killers.
  28. Reviewed by: Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Jan 18, 2013
    50
    There is some suspense here, even if it is mainly because the violence when it comes is so swift and sickening. But the show still feels slack.
  29. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Jan 18, 2013
    67
    This is a genuinely scary and unsettling series.
  30. Reviewed by: Joanne Ostrow
    Jan 17, 2013
    80
    The plotting is intricate, the entire acting ensemble is first-rate.
User Score
5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 361 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 54 out of 144
  2. Negative: 75 out of 144
  1. Jan 28, 2013
    3
    I really liked Kevin Bacon in this, but everyone else seems out of place. The dialogue is very bland, and it's unconvincing how people worship James Purefoy and follow him by killing college girls. All because he is so inspired by Edgar Allan Poe. I just don't buy a college professor turning into this methodical serial killer. The show would have been much better if Purefoy was an Agent turned into a terrorist like what Homeland does. Oh well, spend your time watching something else Full Review »
  2. Jan 23, 2013
    0
    It's hard to believe that a show that had so much promise fell so short. Even with Kevin Bacon attached, how could it have gone so wrong? It's predictable, routine and stale material.Bad writing, over-acting round off the mix. Full Review »
  3. Jan 31, 2013
    0
    Wow, this is a pathetic attempt to make another serialized show about a serial killer who wants to play cat and mouse with an FBI anti-hero who once beat him, and is so pretentious that even Poe would call him a hack. Actually, Poe would consider this guy a phony. While the actor who plays the serial killer isn't bad, he's nothing special when it comes to manipulation. Especially to the point of having a cult. He's not high IQ hippy with tons of drugs and a bunch of lost, angry people searching for something DIFFERENT. He's not charming or even a mystery of having actual different personas like Bundy or Kemper. And he's not as cunning as the Zodiac or Jack the Ripper. He gets caught and his wife bangs the guy who catches him. The masks are beyond silly. The fact that some of these brainwashed clowns have any sort of college education is even more laughable. Poe would be considered boring still. They should have gone for H.P. Lovecraft, and an actor who radiates charm and a pretend down-to-earth ego so people would be more easily played. Manipulation is an art, not a science. Poor Kevin Bacon, he deserves better than this derivative, vacant show written by a guy who once wrote Scream and Dawson's Creek. Chris Carter, Whedon, Minear, and many others could have done a better job with this supposedly dark material. This is tame compared to Millennium, The Inside, and other shows that Fox has tried. Seriously, Dexter is ACCURATE compared to this Hot Topic drivel. Full Review »