HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Following: Season 2
HTS Overall Score:73
Shows that revolve around serial killers have become real popular as of late. We’ve got “The Mentalist”, “Hannibal” and “Bates Motel” just to name a few that are still airing and the list only goes on. There’s something about the macabre and the terror that these hunters of men imbue in us that creepily attractive. Watching Season 1 of “The Following” just left me a bit dry in the mouth, as the 15 episode series had a fantastic premise, the tale of a serial killer who manipulated other people into killing for him and create a “following”, or “cult” of killers, so to speak. The characters are extremely well done, as Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy play off of each other extremely well. Even Shawn Ashmore does a decent job as the FBI agent as well. The problem lies with the writing as the characters are fascinating and well layered, but when the ridiculous takes over the show starts to falter big time. The series tries to have the viewer believe that our Killer, Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) has this magical ability to manipulate people into killing for him and have them almost raptly worship him at the same time. The implausibility factor just starts to outweigh the good, similar to how Red John in “The Mentalist” almost took on super human powers and skill. Still, I loved the characters and with the Death of Joe Carroll at the end of the 1st season I felt the show had some legs to stand on and start creating some interesting plot devices.
Season 2 is back and so is Joe Carroll. It seems that he didn’t die in the lighthouse explosion as we thought and is living out in the backwoods with a country prostitute named Judy (Carrie Preston of “True Blood”) and her young daughter, Hannah (Susan Heyward). While he’s out there trying to rebuild his life, FBI consultant, Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) is back trying to solve a series of serial killings done by a set of twins, all trying to mimic Carroll’s MO and celebrate the anniversary of his “death”. Little do we know, these killings are meant to draw Joe Carroll out into the spotlight once more, bring him back to the land of the living (and dead) in an effort to commune with him.
Ryan Hardy man no longer be working for the FBI, but he still is DEAD sure that Joe Carroll is still alive, so he starts his own investigation into the lighthouse death and his conclusions all point to the same thing. There’s going to be a lot more killings and Joe Carroll most definitely did not eat it as we had previously thought. Working on his own without the help of the FBI soon lands him in hot water and people he thought were his friends turn out to be enemies, and some of his enemies turn out to be unlikely allies in his effort to track down the psychopathic killer.
The best way I can describe this show is junk food TV. It’s full of empty calories and is either a guilty pleasure or will cause you to spit it out of your mouth in disgust. Surprisingly it has an enormous viewership with over 7 million people watching each episode, which far eclipses many other television shoes in this genre. “The Following” is a bit interesting, considering that I both really like and really dislike certain parts of it. The characters are done flawlessly and show just how good of an actor James Purefoy is (and severely underrated since his last stint of popularity in “Rome), but the writers seem to want to stick to what they know best and not expound on the character growth. With Joe biting the bullet I was really hoping to see something new this season, but this is just a rehash of last season, the same old cat and mouse game, just adding in the twins and their little cult worshippers in to the mix as well. Not only does the premise end up being rehashed and “done before”, but the level of ridiculous climbs up the ladder pretty quick. Joe has this innate ability to manipulate and did so quite well in the first season (even with the eyerolls), but this season his supposed sphere of influence causes one to bang their head against the wall as police, FBI, politicians etc all fall into hero worship with him. It’s almost as if the writers took a page from the Red John handbook and said “it seemed to work for The Mentalist” and went with it, and didn’t bother to look why “The Mentalist” ratings started going into the toilet (yes “The Mentalist” was going good till they turned Red John into a super hero and drug his plotline out 3 seasons too long). By the end of the series I was kind of glad it’s over with. It wasn’t a horrible series, but the good and the bad were a bit too heavy on the “bad” side’s mixture. I really wanted this show to gain new legs, for every first season tends to wobble a bit, but this one just couldn’t get off the ground and spread its wings. Who knows, maybe next season it will find that solid footing, but as of now I can’t see it happening.
The Episode Rundown is as follows.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=30465[/img]The 1.78:1 AVC encoded television series looks quite excellent on its Blu-ray debut, showcasing its standard dimly light imagery and the rather sallow skin tones that the show likes to put forth. Detail is there in spades as you can see all the little stubble and aging lines on Kevin Bacon’s face, the clothing is perfectly represented and even long shots, like the hovel that Carroll lives in is exquisitely detailed. Sometimes the show gets a bit too dark as black crush starts to take over and rub out some shadow detail, but that’s really the shows only major flaw. Skin tones like a bit sallow as the color palette tends to lean towards a weird mix of yellow and blue that tends to sap some of the facial coloring. Colors are bright when needed to be, tend to be a bit muted in the dark surroundings, although I doubt the show could look any better on Blu-ray due to this being a seemingly stylistic choice.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=30473[/img]The 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is also on that “quite good” pedestal as well. It tends to be rather front heavy and not one to suck you into that immersion level that other shows have done recently, but like I said in the video, not the fault of the encode as the TV broadcasts have that same front heavy sound to them. There is some nice bass with plenty of whallop to the jump scare moments and adding some weight to the gunshots and ambient noises like the slamming of a door or an explosion. Dialogue is crisp and clean, with some nice panning effects up in those front 3 speakers. I have no complaints with the dynamic range as it seems quite appropriate given the front heavy nature of the show. It does its job well and I have no complaints.
• Following Marcos Siega
• The Religion of Joe Carroll
• The Joe Mask
• Bonded by a Common Foe
• Inside The Following
• Severed scenes
• Season 2 Alternate ending
• Comic-Con Panel 2013
I really liked the premise of the show and it hooked me for a short while, but then I lost caring once I realized they were going for the whole “superhero serial killer” plotline that I so disliked in “The Mentalist”. It’s got a LOT of viewers though, so you may see something in the show that I didn’t and it’s not a hard show to find since it’s on Netflix right now. I’m more disappointed than anything, as the show had plenty of potential and then devolved into a rather clichéd pattern. I WAS really impressed with the shows guts at not being shy on killing off main characters. Much like “Hannibal” you’re honestly not sure who’s going to die from episode to episode as main characters bit the bullet left and right. However, unlike “Hannibal” the show isn’t as smart as it wants to be and just sputters out with record speed. Still, the audio and video are good, and there’s some decent extras on the discs so if you’re a fan, then it’s an easy decision. Otherwise I’d advise people to check it out on Netflix before spending any hard earned coin on the show.
Starring: Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy, Shawn Ashmore
Created by: Kevin Williamson
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French, Spanish DD 5.1
Runtime: 710 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: October 7th, 2013
Buy The Following: Season 2 Blu-Ray on Amazon
More about Mike