Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Following 'THE FOLLOWING' on FOX ...

Have you been keeping up? I have, from the very start, and although noticing SOME problems with the show from the get-go, I had HOPES for Fox's new thriller, The Following, starring Kevin Bacon as broken, former FBI agent Ryan Hardy, to find some improvement over time ... But is has NOT. ... Let's discuss ... Shall we?

Its not QUITE the "torture porn" that one friend warned me it was gonna be, yet it does have its graphic moments ... But I don't really care about that. I care if a 'crime thriller' about an FBI agent trying to catch a Serial Killer and his murderous cult disciples is going to be interesting, compelling, and exciting or not ... And, unfortunately, it just refuses to be any of those things.

First - the painfully redundant images, quotes, and references to Edgar Allan Poe that serves as the inspiration and motivation for arch-villain Joe Carroll, played by James Purefoy ... (they hammer it into viewers' heads every 10 seconds so that they'll never forget it ...) *Yawn* and corny.

Next, none of the characters have ANY personality other than the most basic and archetypical, regardless of HOW many layers the writers ATTEMPT to paint on them. Isn't there a rule against one character having to VOCALIZE what another character's personality is, just so the viewers get it?

My main problem with the show is that it just isn't smart. They say the 'the measure of a hero is based the magnitude of his opposition or the obstacles they must overcome' ... The Following is thee most inept 'cop show' you have ever seen. The FBI, the police, and every other branch of law enforcement on the show are eye-rollingly ineffective. They cannot do ANYTHING right, making it that much easier for the villains to always be one step ahead, coming off as that much more genius with their plans.

Every character consistently makes all the worst decisions possible. Nobody EVER sends backup, or backup is always 10-15 minutes too far away ... People break out of prison or sneak through dragnets like nothing when the home or building is surrounded ... No matter how many innocents the bad guys kidnap and kill, officers will always announce themselves and point their guns at them first, instead of just shooting and ending the insanity ... (the villain then usually has time to escape or turn the tables and kill the good guy) ...

How many more NEW people will they show each week in a flashback, visiting Joe Carroll in prison, that turns out to be one of his 'followers'? Yet for some reason, the FBI (for gods sake) can't nail down or even identify any of these people that have been having private, unmonitored conversations and visits with this convicted serial killer for 8 years right under their noses.

So then you might say - "Well, EJ, if cops did everything RIGHT all the time, they would catch the bad guys too fast and then there wouldn't be any show!"

And I say to you - "Shut up and go bury your head back in the sand." If you have to make characters stupid and continually do the implausible in order to advance the plot, then you suck as a writer. You're supposed make the good guys capable, competent, and have them make all the right moves, and THEN you concentrate on sculpting the bad guys as still being able to outwit them ... Not only outwitting the protagonists, but also outsmarting the audience, which is what 'thriller' viewers want. Otherwise? What's the point?

Take a show like Hawaii Five-0 - maybe not the most intellectual cop drama on TV, but Steve and Danny are always on top of any situation on hand. They track people, make use of any and every form of video surveillance from traffic cams to local store security monitors ... Hack computers, utilize forensics, and call in police, U.S. Marshals, the Coast Guard, etc. for support when needed ... Basically everything you'd EXPECT that a group like the FBI would be able to do on The Following ... but doesn't, because ... Well, the writers would then need to find a way to make the villains smarter ... instead of just "telling the audience that they are".

I could just go on forever with my frustrations over this show (already feels like I have) , ... I mean, we all love Kevin Bacon, but he, everyone, and everything else on The Following is just so empty. They waste so much time to trying to establish a feeling and mood for the show ... only to wind up with nothing else of substance.

Is it possible that I'm just still missing a former FOX show, and taking my pain out on The Following? ... Remember "24"? Can't help but feel CTU super agent, Jack Bauer, would have wrapped this whole thing up with the quickness ... Broken a few people's necks in the process, maybe? ... Ah, thems were the good ol' days ... Whatever.

The Following airs Monday nights @ 9pm on FOX.

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