Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy brought to life the dark and creepy battle between Ryan Hardy and Joe Carroll on The Following this year, revealing that anyone can be a follower, death is around the corner and writing the perfect novel is easier said then done.
But was the freshman season a true murderous masterpiece? Or did it quality drop as storylines repeated themselves? See what we thought of The Following Season 1 in our latest TV Fanatic Report Card...
Best episode: The pilot really got the ball rolling on what type of show The Following would be and the creepy, gritty, dark, and intense aspects of the show ramped up to a riveting and best episode, "The Siege." Ryan Hardy not only closed in on Paul, Emma, and Jacob, but it felt like we were at a game changing moment. Everything felt like it was all going to be exposed and explored, adding compelling layers. Not to mention there was a brilliant cliffhanger leaving me wanting more. The elements were combinined for a great hour of television.
Worst episode: The problem is the series felt like it slowly began it's downhill course after the nail-biter "The Siege." And where the finale was disappointing in the grand scheme of the show, it at least provided some level of closure where Joe was concerned (for now) and left some possibilities for season two open. Yet it was "Havenport" that took the worst title as it just felt like a silly detour on the show to kill off an intriguing and compelling character. I wanted to see more, but once again, it was all about running around chasing after the bad guy of the week leaving us no where closer to seeing Ryan and Joe face off. It was just another episode near the end that made it harder to stay invested.
Best character: Ryan Hardy. Kevin Bacon hands down nailed the flawed hero worth caring about. Not only was Ryan a bad ass who took pretty much every bad guy out, but a majority of the story revolved around him and trying to understand who he was as a person. He's certainly taken a dark road, but if anything, it's made him more determined to stop anyone that wants to cause him or others harm. He certainly helped keep this show interesting.
Worst character: Claire drove me nuts with her choices, but at least she was consistent about it. Rather, bringing on FBI lead Nick Donovan felt like an unnecessary hindrance to add internal good guy drama. But it wasn't even entertaining. Rather he barked orders, got in Ryan's way, and felt more suspiciously like a follower. Not to mention getting stabbed in the eye and then not really mentioned after made his whole presence more throw away than anything else.
Creepiest Poe moment: The Poe mask was all kinds of scary, but I actually jumped in "Chapter Two" when Ryan Hardy was attacked by the man in the Poe mask. Not only were there multiple masks seen during the intense hunting moment, but I missed seeing the actual person in one. It made me really think the whole Poe legacy and connection was going to be even scarier as the show progressed. Definitely glad we got to see the mask one last time in the season finale also.
Hopes for Season 2: I have no idea where The Following is going to go when it returns. It can't have Emma as the new leader, right? If Joe doesn't come back (and as much presence James Purefoy has, I might be better with Joe actually being dead) whatever new villain comes to face off must be a powerful and commanding force. Hopefully, one who has a larger vision of the chaos they want to cause for both Ryan and the world. Of course, Ryan's survival and potentially more chances for him to utilize a little humor throughout all the darkness would be a great addition.
Definitely a chance for the surrounding characters to grow and not killed off before we get to know them also. And as much as the show thrives on the dark scary tone, it's got to make a larger story feel like it's going somewhere without just silly random followers and the FBI completely unable to do anything until too late. Season two is definitely going to need a revamp when it comes back, but with Kevin Bacon still taking the lead, I'm willing to see what new direction it wants to try.
Overall Grade: C+
Your turn, TV Fanatics! What grade would you give The Following Season 1?
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.