|Created by||Kevin Williamson|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||45|
|Production location(s)||New York City, New York|
|Camera setup||Single camera|
|Running time||42-45 minutes|
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original release||January 21, 2013- May 18, 2015|
The first season follows former FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) trying to help recapture serial killer Joe Carroll, while Carroll's assembled cult captures Carroll's son from his ex-wife and sends Carroll's messages to the world. The second season introduces Hardy's niece, who provides help in finding Carroll after his fake death while also dealing with a new cult.
The series was broadcast on the commercial broadcast television network Fox. In its first two seasons, it starred Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy in leading roles, as well as Shawn Ashmore, Natalie Zea, and Valorie Curry. The first season, comprising 15 episodes, premiered on January 21, 2013, and concluded on April 29, 2013. On March 4, 2013, the series was renewed for a second season, which premiered on January 19, 2014, and concluded on April 28, 2014. The series' renewal for a third season was announced on March 7, 2014, and the season premiered on March 2, 2015. On May 8, 2015, Fox canceled The Following after three seasons. The final episode aired on May 18, 2015.
The Followings first season centers on former FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) and his attempts to recapture serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), following the latter's escape from prison. Hardy soon discovers that Carroll has surrounded himself with a group of like-minded individuals, whom he met while teaching and while in prison, turning them into a cult of fanatical killers, including his right-hand, Emma Hill (Valorie Curry). When Carroll's son, Joey Matthews (Kyle Catlett), is abducted by his father's followers, Agents Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore), Debra Parker (Annie Parisse), and the rest of the FBI team discover that it is the first step in Carroll's wider plan to escape custody, humiliate Hardy, and be reunited with his ex-wife Claire Matthews (Natalie Zea).
The second season centers on a new cult, led by Lily Gray (Connie Nielsen) and her twin sons Mark and Luke Gray (both played by Sam Underwood), as they begin to make public statements to lure Carroll out of hiding while the rest of the world believes him to be dead. Weston is re-recruited by Special Agent Mendez (Valerie Cruz) and the FBI in order to find the new cult, while Hardy and his niece Max Hardy (Jessica Stroup) have their own plans to track them down and find Carroll, if he is in fact alive.
The third season follows Hardy's life after Carroll's arrest and shows Hardy in a better place. He is close to his niece and has a girlfriend. Weston follows a different path and chooses to hunt down Mark Gray. Carroll is on death row, waiting to be executed, but plays an important role in the season. And another serial killer proves to be just as dangerous and capable as Joe Carroll.
Kevin Williamson pitched The Following to Fox rather than another company because it was "home of his all-time favorite show, 24". Comparing Hardy to Jack Bauer, he described the character as someone who "will die saving the moment" and "[carries] the weight of every victim on his shoulders".
Williamson knew he wanted to produce a show that would be gory and knew it would be controversial. When Fox Broadcasting Chief Operating Officer Joe Earley was asked about the subject material, he answered that the network felt pressured to draw in a large audience to equal the broad scope and intensity of the narrative.
To slip gory scenes past the Standards and Practices department at Fox Broadcasting, Williamson explained, "There are tricks... Okay, in the same episode there's an actor cutting someone in the jugular, and you're harping on the sex scene? So I sent a little email to [Fox Entertainment chairman] Kevin Reilly, and within 15 minutes the broadcast-and-standards people were like, 'It's okay'".
Williamson wanted to cast "a tough guy with a boyish side" as Ryan Hardy and told his agent that he had someone like Kevin Bacon in mind for the role. When his agent suggested Bacon himself, Williamson discovered that Bacon had spent the past four years trying to find a television program he would like to do. Bacon described his attraction to the role as stemming from the way it centered on a life-or-death situation.Jeananne Goossen was cast in the role of FBI agent Jennifer Mason in the pilot, but the role was reworked and in subsequent episodes her character was written out and replaced by Special Agent Debra Parker, played by Annie Parisse.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||15||January 21, 2013||April 29, 2013|
|2||15||January 19, 2014||April 28, 2014|
|3||15||March 2, 2015||May 18, 2015|
Including other digital sources, the premiere episode was watched by a total of 20.34 million viewers.
|Season||Timeslot (ET)||Number of Episodes||Premiere||Finale||TV Season||Overall rank||18-49 rank||Overall viewership|
USA Todays Robert Bianco rated the show highly, calling it "one of the most violent, and certainly the most frightening, series ever made by a commercial broadcast network," adding "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 [Kevin] Williamson has mastered it -- just as there's no question that the match of wills between the wounded [Kevin] Bacon and malevolent [James] Purefoy is exceedingly well played."
Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly stated: "The weakest part of The Following is the idea that Carroll was a college professor who held his classes spellbound with lectures about Thoreau, Emerson, and, most crucially, Edgar Allan Poe." He added: "The drama's strongest elements override this flaw. Both Bacon and Purefoy are so intensely earnest, The Following quickly supersedes its patent Silence of the Lambs setup. The moments that focus on Carroll's criminal cult give the series its real power, and the modern-day variations on Charlie Manson's kill-crazy crew are genuinely spooky."
The Wall Street Journal's Nancy Dewolf Smith considers the series "both better and worse than those movies where a procession of young people get killed so reliably and gorily that the audience laughs after it screams," adding, "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. Is it a case of a serial-killer cliché too far?"
Hank Stuever of The Washington Post called the series "a trite, gratuitously violent exercise in still more stylishly imagined American horror stories." He added, "It is filled with melodramatic sleuthing that you've seen over and over."
Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times said the series was "hard to turn off and even harder to watch" and that "precisely because it is so bleak and relentlessly scary, The Following offers a more salutary depiction of violence than do series that use humor to mitigate horror -- and thereby trivialize it."
|2013||39th Saturn Awards||Best Network Television Series||The Following||Nominated|
|Best Actor on Television||Kevin Bacon||Won|
|2014||People's Choice Awards||Favorite Dramatic TV Actor||Kevin Bacon||Nominated|
|40th Saturn Awards||Best Network Television Series||The Following||Nominated|
|Best Actor on Television||Kevin Bacon||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor on Television||James Purefoy||Nominated|
The series is broadcast in Canada through the CTV television system. For season three, the show will be broadcast on Canada's sibling specialty service Bravo. Internationally, it also airs on Nine Network in Australia, TF1 in France, Warner Channel in Latin America, SABC 3 in South Africa, Jack City in the Philippines, Canal+ & TVN7 in Poland, FOX in Portugal, and Sky Atlantic in the United Kingdom, and around 2015 will start to air in Colombia on Caracol Television.