When The Following returns for its second season (Monday, Jan. 27, 9/8c on Fox), a quick scene establishes the fate of Claire (Natalie Zea), and then the show jumps ahead a year to show us a very different Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon). Although the tortured FBI consultant has pieced himself back together after the apparent death of Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), not all is right with the world. Obviously.
"I [appear to] have lost my obsession for Joe," Bacon told reporters at the Television Critics Association winter press tour on Monday. "[However,] the truth is that he is incredibly important to me, sadly the most important thing in my life."
Joining Ryan this season in his misery is his niece Max (Jessica Stroup) — a New York City detective — and Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore), who will behave more like a friend and less like an overeager protege this season. "We watch as Ryan creates a family for himself," Williamson says. "He might see a little hope and a reason to live. Of course, the Followers come calling."
Despite a somewhat sunnier outlook, Ryan remains convinced that Joe Carroll is still alive. When a new group of Followers stage an attack on a New York City subway wearing Joe Carroll masks, that seals the deal for him. "There's a lot of push and pull this year with his inner struggle," executive producer Kevin Williamson says, "his struggle to find some hope in life to find some reason to live." To that end, Williamson says that Joe Carroll is on a similar journey. "It's a second coming. They're all trying to find their place on this planet."
One more thing: Williamson acknowledges that he understands the criticism that the authorities on the show appear to be comically inept, and that they plan to address it. To wit: Ryan will no longer work with the FBI. "We've taken Ryan Hardy to a brand-new world," he said. "We're not searching for Joey Matthews every single week. It still has the fast-paced dynamic, but it's not an FBI quest show."
What do you think? Are you excited for The Following 2.0?
The Following will premiere Monday, Jan. 27 at 9/8c on Fox.