Given everything else that’s been happening in real life, it made sense for my room mate and I to pick a new TV show to watch during our downtime. And of course we’d choose The Following, about a psychopathic serial killer obsessed with Edgar Allen Poe, and the cult following he develops.
Just a little light bedtime Netflix.
Poe’s horror work is masterful, though not really my favorite genre, so I can understand the literary obsession with him. The show’s cult, though, takes it to a gory extreme — “everything is death”, a pervasive knife theme, tanks of fake blood, the works.
The most frustrating thing about this show is its antagonist. Joe Carroll, in orange jumpsuit and a limited physical range, is creepy, threatening, even. But given a full range and an entire Poe-themed house to play in, Carroll turns trite. He leaves a novel for the protagonist, Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon in full dark-and-brooding mode) to find, full of the “story” of the gruesome cat and mouse game that they play — and of a horrendous number of ellipses.
The problem, of course, is that throughout a season it’s episode after episode of horrifying events and cult members stabbing people with great abandon, and then suspenseful music, and then end of episode.
Which of course leads to more episodes…
It’s certainly a a story we’re watching more for the plot than any great character development. It’s not that the characters are two-dimensional so much as that they just didn’t have that much time. There’s a female detective who seems to have escaped from a cult; I’d have loved to know more about how she got from there to FBI.
Now, of course, we’re in season two, until now, things have at least been entertaining — if not downright macabre. But here’s Joe Carroll monologuing again, and this might be a good time to read some real literature.