my sweet wife and i watched the pilot episode of ‘the following,’ and the next two episodes as well, making a total of three (see? i can do math!).
lemme tell you what i think.
the show had immense potential. huge. ginormous, if you will. kevin bacon is a solid lead – no complaints there. same for whoever the plays the bad guy – the oddly handsome and dirty looking creep who mirrors hannibal lecter if hannibal lecter sucked and wasn’t really scary.
plus: there is no jodie foster to make us feel awkward.
anyway, i have two major complaints about the show:
1) the ‘network television drama includes a spoon and a bib for its viewers’ complaint
2) the ‘we’re not really good writers, so we’re going to rip off eddie a. poe and rely on shock violence (mostly against women) because we have no real clue what the f*** we’re doing’ complaint
‘the network television drama includes a spoon and bib for it’s viewers’ complaint (#NTDIaSaaBfiV)
the fbi has placed a major task force in charge of bringing down a cult of surprisingly well-dressed-and-groomed-weirdos, but only kevin bacon seems to know . . . anything.
random fbi guy: ‘we found this clue eight hours ago. it’s blueprints of a house.’
kb: ‘let me see those’ *kevin bacon reads blueprints*
kb: ‘these are the blueprints to the house in front of us! the house where the serial killer’s wife lives! the house that we’ve been inside and stationed near since all this ish went down!‘
one is left to assume that absolutely not one person on the fbi payroll can read or understand blueprints.
. . . possibly read, period.
this ish happened all the time in the episodes my sweet wife and i managed to stomach. this is a network television issue – not trusting the viewer. nothing can happen off-screen, and only major characters flat-out explain what they realized, even though there is a team of experts who seem to struggle making the simplest of realizations.
there’s no subtlety, and it makes for either boring television or ridiculous television, because the writers have to swing wildly to shocking the viewer with tactics that make even less sense than only kevin bacon knowing how to work the microwave in the mobile fbi headquarters.
this lack of subtlety leads to my second complaint:
reliance upon shock noun (violence, writing twists, new characters, bodies falling from the ceiling without eyeballs, etc)
-it’s unattractive story telling
-it sets a bad precedent
the violence in ‘the following’ isn’t really that much ‘worse’ (i use that while somewhat rolling my eyes, because i have to qualify what is and isn’t acceptable violence on network television) than many films or other tv series.
it is, however, too . . . easy. in a show that revolves completely around a serial killer mutilating young women, it’s surprising that the violence was still too much.
the normalizing of that kind of violence . . . i just don’t really think it’s ok. women are beaten and/or killed gruesomely and casually. like i might eat an apple while walking around my house, women are brutalized.
this is the major reason i stopped watching ‘the following.’ i can put up with lazy/ridiculous writing (’24’ was my jam), but i can’t swing shock value entertainment that also treats women as this show does.
try ‘the americans’ on fx or ‘southland’ on tnt if you want to actually be entertained by a show that keeps you guessing and relies on characters instead of corpses falling from the sky to tell its story.