THE FOLLOWING (WB, 2013) Creator: Kevin Williamson, w/ Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy. Rating: NNN; DVD/BR package: NNN Rating: NNN
The Following never hits the loony heights of 24, but it rides the same one-damn-thing-after-another rails, with non-stop shootouts, murders, abductions, rescues, punch-ups and torture.
You'll have to do some heavy lifting, though, if you want to suspend your disbelief. The driving premise is flat-out preposterous: a serial killer on death row, working with nothing but a few face-to-face meetings and some internet chat, enlists a handful of culties eager to kill and die for his silly obsession with the beauty of death.
That might work in a Batman world, but The Following strives for realism and emotional engagement, so we're expected to swallow the Big Bad's (James Purefoy) love of his wife and son (Natalie Zea and Kyle Catlett, the main abductees) and a romantic triangle involving his main minions.
Purefoy does well enough with the standard Vincent Price-Anthony Hopkins charming menace but only gets really scary toward the season's end, when his self-control starts to dissolve. Frightening in a different way, the always excellent Kevin Bacon brings powerful truth to the bleak inner life of the hero, a physically and emotionally damaged ex-FBI agent.
Series creator Kevin Williamson (the Scream franchise) and producer/director Marcos Siega rattle through informative nuts-and-bolts commentaries on the pilot and season finale episodes. Elsewhere, cast members try to explain their characters.
EXTRAS Pilot and season finale commentaries, Williamson doc, cast and characters doc, more. English, Spanish audio. English, French, Spanish subtitles.