Jeannane Goossen, Kevin Bacon
Saturday night, BBC America introduced Ripper Street, a 19th-century procedural haunted by the grisly barbarism of Jack the Ripper. Now comes Fox's much scarier, infinitely more graphic The Following (Monday, 9/8c), a gruesomely chilling no-holds-barred thriller that owes a morbid debt to the macabre imaginings of Edgar Allan Poe.
Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy
Chances are you've probably heard a lot about Fox's new serial killer drama The Following.
It's violent. It's suspenseful. It's often terrifying. And someone does something unimaginable with an ice pick in the very first episode. But according to creator and executive producer Kevin Williamson (Dawson's Creek, The Vampire Diaries), it's also a love story.
Winter TV: Get the scoop on must-see new shows
The story goes like this: Literature professor Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) brings his obsession with the works of Edgar Allan Poe to life by murdering 14 co-eds before being caught by FBI Agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon, making his TV series debut), who now wears a pacemaker as a permanent reminder of the encounter. After beginning and ending a relationship with Carroll's wife Claire (Natalie Zea) and going on an alcohol-soaked downward spiral, Ryan is called back to duty when Carroll escapes from prison just days before he's set to be executed....
Fox is bringing home the Bacon.
For his first regular series role since playing troubled teen lush Tim "TJ" Werner on CBS' Guiding Light in 1981, Kevin Bacon is going even darker, and it's a killer fit. Just don't call The Following another police procedural. Even though the ink-black thriller centers on the hunt for a madman's cult of homicidal fans, "I was not interested in playing that procedural formula," says Bacon, 54, looking relaxed and boyishly shaggy in his trailer on the show's Brooklyn set. "That is something I asked about a lot."
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Question: I rely on your advice for new shows, so is The Following worth watching? I love Kevin Bacon, but I have given up on The Mentalist because of the whole Red John thing. If they had laid that to rest when it appeared that they did, I would still be watching. It seems like this new show will be very similar, but I haven't heard enough to make a decision. What do you think? — Tom
Call it a tale of two networks. Whereas NBC's chairman dwelled on the network's great past year at the TCA winter previews, Fox's Kevin Reilly was focused on the future. "We here at Fox sort of limped our way in here from 2012," he said. "Nobody's happier than us to turn the page and get onto a fresh year and better things to come."
Reilly said Fox struggled with airing shows consistently because of the usual interruptions (postseason baseball), as well as the presidential debates. But he also acknowledged lower ratings across the board because of the overall "vibrant" ecosystem of television.
"There is more choice, more quality, more breadth of quality," he said. "There are so many access points, so many availabilities. ... That is very good for the overall television business.
Kevin Williamson, whose new series The Following is about a serial killer and his cult-like acolytes, admits that he can't help but be influenced by the mass shootings at Columbine, Aurora and Sandy Hook when writing his stories. But in the same breath, he wants people to know that his stories are works of fiction. "We were all traumatized by [these events], and it reached a moment when it's all too real [and] it affected me, so when I take pen to paper there's a reaction to it. But I'm just writing; I'm a storyteller," Williamson told critics at the TCA's winter TV previews.
Kevin Bacon, AnnaSophia Robb
It's 2013, and with the new year comes a new outlook, new resolutions and yes, even new TV viewing habits.
Midseason TV: Check out the day-by-day schedule
Not that there's anything wrong with the shows you already love, but some scheduling changes have necessitated a rejiggering of priorities. While some series aren't continuing past the midseason mark — XOXO, Gossip Girl! Adios, Partners! — new shows are stepping in to fill the void. And since most of us didn't get a second DVR for the holidays, we still need to pick and choose how these new offerings will figure into our limited viewing time (if at all). Below are four of the busiest midseason timeslots and our take on what to watch, DVR, skip or just watch online.
TV's killer cauldron is getting crowded. Now that viewers have been thrilled by the likes of
The Walking Dead's Governor, Dexter's titular killer and American Horror Story's Bloody Face, the broadcast networks are looking to maim cable's momentum by airing their own dark, twisted tales this midseason.
On Fox's The Following, James Purefoy plays Edgar Allan Poe scholar Joe Carroll, a serial killer who...
The broadcast networks haven't been feeling the love from viewers this fall, and it won't be getting any easier. Here are some big challenges they face as they try to sway hearts, minds and remotes in the second half of the season.
Will high-flying NBC falter when Sunday Night Football ends and Revolution and The Voice take a break?
"It's going to be different," admits NBC's scheduling guru Jeff Bader. "But we have faith in The Biggest Loser on Monday." He also believes Deception, a serialized murder mystery that will replace Revolution starting Jan. 7 and follow Loser, will appeal to...
Fox has released two versions of the trailer for its upcoming gritty serial killer series The Following — one for all audiences and a spookier new trailer that's rated "Intense" and comes with a "viewer discretion is advised" disclaimer.