• Network: FOX
  • Series Premiere Date: Jan 21, 2013
Season #: 1, 2, 3
User Score
5.9

Mixed or average reviews- based on 401 Ratings

User score distribution:

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  1. Apr 29, 2013
    5
    Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy are great leads and with a solid supporting cast, Could really turn it into a show worth watching. However, The plot just wasn't there imo and that is what ruined the show. It was just boring moment after moment, It was poorly written and a real drag to get through each episode. They need to improve their writing staff if they wish to turn this show around. IKevin Bacon and James Purefoy are great leads and with a solid supporting cast, Could really turn it into a show worth watching. However, The plot just wasn't there imo and that is what ruined the show. It was just boring moment after moment, It was poorly written and a real drag to get through each episode. They need to improve their writing staff if they wish to turn this show around. I will continue to watch the show though because it has the potential to be one of the best drams on TV. That is why, despite my low rating of this season, it's worth checking out. Expand
  2. Jun 24, 2014
    4
    This show is entertaining and pretty violent, but that's it. The show is only getting a 4 with me because I was entertained. The show was nothing special. I'm not even watching the second season.
  3. May 3, 2013
    6
    The season premiere of The Following was one of the best, if not the best, openings to a show I've ever seen. TV shows have long been capable of film quality drama and production, but for suspense and horror, the pilot was as good as any slasher film I've seen. Within 45 minutes, we were introduced to Hardy and the FBI team as well as Carroll's wife and son, who are soon secured followingThe season premiere of The Following was one of the best, if not the best, openings to a show I've ever seen. TV shows have long been capable of film quality drama and production, but for suspense and horror, the pilot was as good as any slasher film I've seen. Within 45 minutes, we were introduced to Hardy and the FBI team as well as Carroll's wife and son, who are soon secured following Carroll's escape. Also secured was Carroll's last victim and the only one to survive, Sarah Fuller. She seemed set for a role in the show yet it turned out that through his cult, Carroll's reach is vast and her death summed the first episode up, dark, scary, brutal and unpredictable.

    Created by Kevin Williamson, the writer of Scream 1 & 2, I Know What You Did Last Summer and The Faculty, perhaps it was not surprising that The Following ventured further into a darker, macabre nature than most procedural police shows. The idea for the show was certainly original from the cult perspective but the notion that Carroll was an Edgar Allan Poe fanatic and based his murders on his works seems too hot on the heels of the 2012 film The Raven to be original. Also, it has to be said that Bacon's character ticks a fair number of boxes on the 'former agents returning to the job' cliché list.

    Unfortunately, the show's pilot episode was it's strongest and all later episodes were hampered by the contrived nature of Carroll's plot, the stupidity and ineptitude of the FBI agents involved, weekly introduction of the latest member of Carroll's cult to 'play their part' before inevitably being gunned down senselessly by the FBI and irritatingly repetitive metaphors to the structure of a book's plot by Carroll.

    As leading men for a TV show go, Kevin Bacon was a pretty big catch for FOX and on occasions you do feel that he is the heart and soul of the show and maybe the only reason you are still watching. That's not to take anything away from the likes of James Purefoy, though not quite as menacing as Hannibal Lecter as serial killers go, Shawn Ashmore, Natalie Zea and Annie Parisse, all of whom contribute willingly.

    The season ended on the up, if slightly predictably, and I dare say I will be tuning in to see how the events of the season finale are carried forward.
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  4. Apr 11, 2013
    6
    The problem with this show isn't that it's not entertaining, it is. It's just that it so lacks any real imagination. It falls back on the cheating premise that out of nowhere anyone can suddenly be a villain if the plot so requires it. Also there are far too many flashbacks which are actually quite redundant most of the time.This is still a watchable show, but an easy target for cynicsThe problem with this show isn't that it's not entertaining, it is. It's just that it so lacks any real imagination. It falls back on the cheating premise that out of nowhere anyone can suddenly be a villain if the plot so requires it. Also there are far too many flashbacks which are actually quite redundant most of the time.This is still a watchable show, but an easy target for cynics like myself. Also what is going on with tv shows these days that requires they all have to be over 20 episodes long! Please!!!!!!!! Expand
  5. Feb 7, 2013
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Excellent and STOOPID.

    The production value, direction, acting are all fine, etc. Kevin Bacon is excellent, and the supporting actors are mostly adequate (for Hollywood stuff).

    However, this program suffers "The Hollywood Writers' Guild" plague, namely, lazy writers who leave bus-sized holes in the plot, dialogue, and screen behaviour.

    I have watched 3 episodes now, and each of them presented at least 4-5 bits of stupidity, not at all like real human behaviour or actions. For example, from ONE episode only (jeez):

    (Spoilers follow)

    1. No one stops Poe-mask guy after he burns someone up in the street. He is otherwise non threatening, and America is chock full of true heroes, as well as inept do-gooders.

    2. The slow-guy cult member is left in the hospital bed eating his stuffing to choke himself. No one is watching him, the alarms don't sound on the medical monitors, etc.

    3. In the back yard, Bacon shoots the fire bug cult guy while his wife watches, but he doesn’t chase her. How far can she get really?

    4. The cult girl cuts her boyfriend's boyfriend's arm, but the boyfriend doesn’t notice or ask? He's clearly cut with blood on the bandage when he leaves. Duhhhhh

    5. The detective left with firebug's wife sees her phone ring, with a message "NOW". He helpfully reads this out to her without thinking. Duhhhhhhh

    6. When it's clear there are weird goings-on, that detective tells the guys in the car, but they both come to the front door? Duhhhhhhhh

    Holy carp, what a mess. The Writers' Guild insult us decade after decade.
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  6. Mar 4, 2013
    4
    After seven episodes of The Following it has occurred to me that it could be really made into a suspense thriller if they put the cast in a locked room and made them read the script.
  7. Jan 22, 2013
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Great acting by the two main actors Bacon and Purefoy. However, the plot is very weak with parts being unbelievable. I just didn't buy into Bacon running off to the B&B by himself, I certainly didn't buy some of "The Followers" being able to sneak into houses like they did. The "normal" FBI characters were two dimensional at best. Back to BBC for good, solid crime dramas. Expand
  8. qev
    May 28, 2015
    5
    well, though i know James Purefoy from working all too briefly together on "Rome" a while back, it proved no defence from squirting my pants a wee bit, waiting for the comedy to kick in
  9. Feb 7, 2013
    5
    I was waiting for this to come out for a while. And finally is here, but turns out is not as good as it promises to be. Kevin Bacon is great but the plot is just not convincing and it also comes out at times as pretentious and trying to hard. Better waste my time on something else than watch after episode 2.
  10. Jan 2, 2014
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I'll admit it, The Following had me hooked from beginning to end due to the numerous twists and surprisingly (in my opinion) sad love story of Jacob and Paul. I'll also say that I loved both Purefoy and Bacon's acting. Purefoy is definitely a high spot for the show. However, to keep enjoying the show I had to really, really suspend disbelief and common sense.

    For starters, the thought of Joe being able to amass a following of serial killers and other psychotic members without anyone else finding out is nearly unbelievable. Especially considering most of the main characters visit him in prison....where conversations are routinely recorded and listened to by staff. Early on, they seem to address this by Joe telling the visiting followers to not say anything incriminating while there but that doesn't last the whole way and during more flashbacks we see more characters revealing information about killing. I believe Rodrick does this the most.

    So, we are also to believe that every person Joe met was immediately mesmerized and didn't become disenchanted by him and go to the police. Or, that none of the followers had any friends or family who became concerned and went to the police.

    Aside from that, the biggest, most glaring and already talked about flaw is the police.

    Now, I understand that they might have been purposely written this way to show that the good guys don't always win. I'll give the show that much because it is true many times. But the mistakes and ineptitude they constantly display is mindnumbing.

    For instance, after Rodrick is discovered by Weston, he runs back to Joe's hideout...in a police squad car that is undoubtedly equipped with gps. But do the FBI track his car? Nope. They go on doing other stuff. This was the point when I nearly stopped watching but decided i'd gone this far so I might as well finish it

    I also knew from the start that Claire would die. The writers kept shoving the "Ryan Hardy Death Curse" down our throats so her death became super obvious.

    Also, what was with the Agent Parker semi-kinda-sorta swerve at the beginning where she hands Carroll the book in prison? Was that supposed to be a storyline that they changed their minds on or what? By the way, how does a person become a supervising agent when she can't even shoot a gun straight? Did I mention that Hardy kills nearly everyone he shoots at with one shot?

    It really seemed like the writers just ran out of creative ideas when they showed that Molly was a follower. I didn't see that coming but once they revealed it I laughed a little at how predictable it should have been. I mean, is everyone in the FBI, local PD and Hardy's life a follower now or what?

    Finally, a semi-automatic handgun does not have a sound. Everytime someone de-holsters their piece they added the sound. It was overly noticeable in the show.

    ...I'll probably watch Season 2 and hope it gets better but if it doesn't I doubt i'll finish it.
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  11. Apr 19, 2013
    6
    I am surprised by all the low scores. The acting is great, the story is suspenseful and unpredictable. The plot twists are sometimes implausible, but there must be room for implausibility in a thriller series. This show is more suspenseful and graphic than anything else on network television.
  12. Nov 24, 2014
    4
    I watch a lot of murder mysteries...Im a bit disappointed with this one. Police are total fools, including Kevin's character. First, we learn over time that the death row seriel killer has dozens of visitors...hmmm....nobody questions that, and really he is allowed to use the library and the internet in prison....hahahaha. After his first escape and capture they realize what he isI watch a lot of murder mysteries...Im a bit disappointed with this one. Police are total fools, including Kevin's character. First, we learn over time that the death row seriel killer has dozens of visitors...hmmm....nobody questions that, and really he is allowed to use the library and the internet in prison....hahahaha. After his first escape and capture they realize what he is about...about his unknown followers etc. Then a 2nd escape...that was so ridiculous...so does his lawyer really believe after she was tortured and threatened he would keep her alive after she helps him escape. And other characters.. How many times do you almost get killed, or you lose partners do you continue to try and deal with situations way out in the boonies in abandanded large buildings by yourself or with one other fellow officer? Even once they know they are targets by his followers (no protection details)...the entire series and its failure to catch the killer and his followers are all about idiot police and FBI.....even the wife of the seriel killer is stupid more then once tries to go on her own....all these followers and police/fbi people seem to think they wont get killed left to their own devices when dealing with the killer. Seems incredibliy irrational. Expand
  13. Apr 22, 2013
    4
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Everyone on the 'good' side of the law is incompetent. Cliche plot devices such as escaping from incarceration during unneeded transport and always being two steps behind the antagonist are constantly thrown at us. The dialogue is never particularly interesting or able to convey to the audience the charm and leader qualities that fuel the unparalleled cult lead by a professor turned serial killer.

    Episodes are generally fast paced, yet unsatisfying because they play out in the same way. X cult members with military training burst from hiding to kill X law enforcement and maybe the occasional civilian. Bacon then wards off the stragglers and returns to gather more disposable officers. It's like the battle of Gettysburg or some as officers and cultists die endlessly, yet no resolution is reached.

    As the first season draws to a close we find our hero and savior Bacon journeying to the castle to rescue the princess.

    I want to like this show, but it's decidedly unconvincing thus far. Poe wasn't that interesting of a guy, frankly, and I haven't felt an emotional attachment to any of the characters. One of the antagonists (who we're supposed to connect with?) was killed by his psycho girlfriend. Why is this surprising? I kind of wanted him to die before he was even revealed to be more than a gay neighbor.

    I wouldn't have so much of an inherent problem with a literature professor leading a cult that can out-perform modern task forces if the show wasn't so one dimensional.

    Bacon makes everything better but consistent with his character he can only do so much.
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  14. Apr 28, 2013
    4
    This show started off with great promise. I really liked how they set it up and Kevin Bacon is a great lead. Then after a few episodes it started going downhill with the frustrating scenarios and development.

    Every episode after the 2nd it was like, "Now i'm a part of the cult! No! i'm a part of the cult." Kind of got ridiculous. Every time some development would happen the writers
    This show started off with great promise. I really liked how they set it up and Kevin Bacon is a great lead. Then after a few episodes it started going downhill with the frustrating scenarios and development.

    Every episode after the 2nd it was like, "Now i'm a part of the cult! No! i'm a part of the cult." Kind of got ridiculous. Every time some development would happen the writers would cop-out saying "Well too bad! I'm a part of the cult too!"

    Then after that, Joe's character just didn't develop at all. How is this guy a leader of so many people when he's so self serving and continually making idiotic decisions. To me, i think the writer's just didn't follow through with the story development as well as they could have with the premise.

    Just the situations the cops put themselves in is ridiculous. How in the heck do you go off by yourself when there is a massive manhunt for a single person? No backup? Just go off by yourself? really?? i mean that stuff is just dumb and very unrealistic.

    The 2nd to last episode was much better until the end where yet again a detective wanders off by herself. I basically just want the last episode to air since i've stuck with it this long, i might as well finish it out.
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  15. Feb 9, 2013
    6
    I'll admit I'm a bit let down so far. The pilot was very good, intense. The 2nd episode, while good, was a bit of a let down. The 3rd episode was just mediocre.
    Parts of the show are good. However, some are just not believable. Kevin Bacon is awesome. The rest of the cast is kind of boring. I wonder how long this show--or plot--can drag on for. How much can they do? Are the cult members
    I'll admit I'm a bit let down so far. The pilot was very good, intense. The 2nd episode, while good, was a bit of a let down. The 3rd episode was just mediocre.
    Parts of the show are good. However, some are just not believable. Kevin Bacon is awesome. The rest of the cast is kind of boring. I wonder how long this show--or plot--can drag on for. How much can they do? Are the cult members limitless? I'm curious.
    I also dont really see the fascination these cultists have to Carroll.
    So, overall, the show is decent. I'll continue to watch it. If each week it gets worse, I probably wont bother
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  16. Feb 20, 2013
    4
    What an amazing trailer! Am I right? Unforgivably, the story might have gassed out already. Unfeasible behaviors, dragged out pacing that span multiple commercial breaks, forgettable characters, and confusing love triangles. There is but one way to salvage this show. Kevin Bacon needs to pull a BattleStar out of his--I give it a four.
  17. Feb 26, 2013
    4
    It is angering to watch Kevin Bacon doing a great job in show that seems too ridiculous. The cops, FBI, prison guards, and US marshals are all stooges. As much as I want to like this show, I come away feeling frustrated at the stupidity of the good guys and the the unrealistic resources and organization of the antagonist.
  18. Mar 7, 2013
    4
    I loved the premise of this show and anticipated its arrival. How quickly it failed. It can only continue if every character does the absurd. No one in law enforcement or government would ever consistently do so much wrong. No establish police or forensic procedures are followed. It just has become idiotic. Love Bacon! Amazing actor and the premise is still good, but please stop insultingI loved the premise of this show and anticipated its arrival. How quickly it failed. It can only continue if every character does the absurd. No one in law enforcement or government would ever consistently do so much wrong. No establish police or forensic procedures are followed. It just has become idiotic. Love Bacon! Amazing actor and the premise is still good, but please stop insulting our intelligence and make the police and FBI into bumbling idiots. OH, the lawyer no one noticed or asked how she suddenly lost fingers!! Come on. I give the show two more episodes and I am done if they don't get smarter. Expand
  19. Mar 12, 2013
    6
    Overall, I've enjoyed watching the show. It has a good concept, character interaction, plot development, and story line. However, this week's episode (3/11) went way over the line of violence and bloodshed for me. Yes, I understand that this is the nature of The Followers themselves...As a former psyche student, I am trying to understand the depravity of the human mind and how someoneOverall, I've enjoyed watching the show. It has a good concept, character interaction, plot development, and story line. However, this week's episode (3/11) went way over the line of violence and bloodshed for me. Yes, I understand that this is the nature of The Followers themselves...As a former psyche student, I am trying to understand the depravity of the human mind and how someone could allow themselves to go against the "norms" and decency of society. Their fellow man means nothing to them, except in furtherance of the "cause", which is far from a righteous one! Expand
  20. Mar 21, 2013
    4
    On "30 Rock," Tracy Morgan's character starred in a fictional movie entitled "Hard to Watch." Well, I think that "The Following" has, if nothing else, become something that is truly difficult to watch. At the same time, if you've already set your DVR to record it, and you can skip the commercials, it also becomes something more along the lines of "hard to watch, yet, I almost want to seeOn "30 Rock," Tracy Morgan's character starred in a fictional movie entitled "Hard to Watch." Well, I think that "The Following" has, if nothing else, become something that is truly difficult to watch. At the same time, if you've already set your DVR to record it, and you can skip the commercials, it also becomes something more along the lines of "hard to watch, yet, I almost want to see if they'll actually figure out how to write the script better one of these days"...

    Overall...yeah, it's just gratuitous violence, and the plot leaves more than just a little to be desired, but I think I'll still DVR a few more episodes...
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  21. Apr 22, 2013
    4
    Of course there is some suspending of reality while watching anything on tv. However, this show takes the cake! As could be seen by way happened in Boston, this fool and his cohorts would have experienced so many more setbacks and most likely be dead or arrested after the first episode. That said, the premise is interesting, just very lazy writing. Huge lack of creativity beyondOf course there is some suspending of reality while watching anything on tv. However, this show takes the cake! As could be seen by way happened in Boston, this fool and his cohorts would have experienced so many more setbacks and most likely be dead or arrested after the first episode. That said, the premise is interesting, just very lazy writing. Huge lack of creativity beyond that base premise. Expand
  22. Jun 29, 2013
    6
    The concept of The Following is excellent, and I like that the cult is based on something like Edger Allen Poe. The first few episodes were quite good but as the series went on there seemed to be a struggle with the length of the plot as a result there was a need for stupid and quite annoying actions of many of the characters especially Claire who seem to fail to realize that SHE was theThe concept of The Following is excellent, and I like that the cult is based on something like Edger Allen Poe. The first few episodes were quite good but as the series went on there seemed to be a struggle with the length of the plot as a result there was a need for stupid and quite annoying actions of many of the characters especially Claire who seem to fail to realize that SHE was the advantage the FBI had over the cult thus these actions ruined the experience for me. If the writers had added some episodes that were based more on the back stories of the characters like Ryan or Joe Carroll then maybe the stupid actions and over lengthened plot could have been avoided and maybe they could have gotten more than 15 episodes. It is a good concept and interesting plot but there are some flaws that should be rectified in order to perfect this series. Expand
  23. Jul 21, 2013
    4
    The show was attractive at first for its premise and Kevin Bacon. However.its become a how-to-become a serial killer manual and showcase for the bumbling FBI and police. I dont see the charm or hold Joe Carroll has on his followers. And no one seems to have a moral conscience on this show. Not the writers, producers or any of the characters except for maybe 2. Its hard to watch. I usuallyThe show was attractive at first for its premise and Kevin Bacon. However.its become a how-to-become a serial killer manual and showcase for the bumbling FBI and police. I dont see the charm or hold Joe Carroll has on his followers. And no one seems to have a moral conscience on this show. Not the writers, producers or any of the characters except for maybe 2. Its hard to watch. I usually have to fast forward through some scenes. Even True Blood has more of a moral conscience and less reprehensible characters than The Following. Not sure if I'll watch season 2. Expand
  24. Dec 17, 2013
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Great pilot and plot. Honestly, this show fell off for me several episodes in because the plot became predictable cops always one step behind the cult, cops get close to spoiling cults plans, cults outsmart the cops... for satisfaction, every other episode, Kevin Bacon kills a not-so-important member, and everyone is happy until... (repeats cycle).

    My frustration is that this show paints the police as totally incompetent in the common sense department. Do you really think it's best to split up and go solo through an unknown building? Do you really not think of drawing up a plan to stop the bad guy's get-away car before you swarm into a building? I guess that's entertainment though... root for the "not-so-smart but potentially amazing dark hero"... Love Kevin Bacon but I may part ways with this series after I finish this season (13/15 episodes)
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  25. Dec 21, 2014
    5
    I found the first few episodes of season 1 promising and downright scary. Then, moving on , 2/3 or so of the first season is good, but then things take a turn for a worse. Nobody to blame here but the writers. All TV crime shows requires some suspension of belief. Heck, all TV shows do. And almost all movies. But this one asks just too much from the audience. First, we have the mainI found the first few episodes of season 1 promising and downright scary. Then, moving on , 2/3 or so of the first season is good, but then things take a turn for a worse. Nobody to blame here but the writers. All TV crime shows requires some suspension of belief. Heck, all TV shows do. And almost all movies. But this one asks just too much from the audience. First, we have the main villain, who one could say is rip-off of Hannibal Lector, except Lector is far, far more competent. This guy's FOLLOWERS are pretty scary, particularly early in the season, but Carroll himself is just one seriously inept supercriminal. And these cops, oh, these cops are dumb. They're the kind of dumb that makes TV audiences yell at the screen, 'No, you idiot, don't put your gun down!," "What?? Are you nuts? Look out behind you!" That kind of thing. Worst, this series requires belief in a premise that makes no sense. I kept hoping they'd get me to the point that I'd buy it, but it never happened. How, exactly, were these people "recruited" into a murderous cult through interactions with Carroll while he was in prison? By talking to him for a few minutes through milky plexiglas while visiting him in prison? It just doesn't makes sense and not enough effort went into that backstory. Still will give it a few points, as Kevin Bacon turns in pretty decent performances, as do a few stand-out cast members. And, there's some fun in yelling at dumb FBI agents on the screen. Expand
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.