The Following

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
The Following TV Poster Image
Gory crime drama swimming in blood, dead bodies, suspense.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 9 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The tone is extremely dark, painting the world as a violent and dangerous place with an overarching sense of distrust and foreboding.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Although he's clearly fighting evil, the main character is bit of an antihero whose own troubled past makes him an iffy role model.

Violence

Violence is shocking and surprisingly gory, with sudden stabbings, hangings, and plenty of blood.

Sex

Some suggestions of nudity and sexual activity, but nothing graphic.

Language

Characters use words like "damn," "hell," "ass," etc.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The main character has a drinking problem. In one scene, he fills a water bottle with vodka, etc.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Following is a prime-time crime drama that plays like a horror film, with sudden jolts and gory scenes that are extremely disturbing. Viewers will see dead bodies and plenty of blood, plus violent acts like a woman stabbing herself in the eye. Sexual content and language are tame by comparison, but there's some adult-oriented innuendo and regular use of words like "damn," "hell," and "ass." The main character also struggles with alcoholism and psychological issues.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bykathybaker12 February 19, 2015

Other Reviews are Ludicrous

I agree with the 16 label for season 1. It definitely deserves it. Season 2, however, is very non-violent compared to the first. I never let my kids watch durin... Continue reading
Adult Written byJudith365 February 19, 2015

Season 2 is a different story

I watched season 1 and was very shocked in seeing gratuitous violence. I didn't let any of my kids watch. However, there is very little violence in season... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byDavid Bluhm February 8, 2013

Possibly my favorite show of all time–and I've seen 3 episodes.

I completely agree with the above review–it is like watching a Silence of the Lambs marathon–mainly in the sense that it is an absolutely *brilliant* show with... Continue reading

What's the story?

Nine years after former FBI agent Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) put cunning serial killer Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) behind bars, Carroll mounts an unlikely escape and pulls Hardy back into the game -- and out of retirement -- to secure his capture. The killer is swiftly returned to death row. But it doesn't take long for Hardy to uncover a dizzying network of "followers" who are prepared to do Carroll's bidding on the outside.

Is it any good?

If a script can lure longtime movie actor Kevin Bacon to series television, logic follows that it must be good. And while this darkly violent crime drama -- a thematic blend of creator Kevin Williamson's Scream franchise and The Silence of the Lambs -- at times threatens to derail itself with corny dialogue and overblown characters, it ultimately proves watchable and compelling.

It's also genuinely unnerving, thanks to well-placed "gotcha" moments that literally make you jump, which is precisely why The Following will be way too intense for most kids. On the plus side, older teens who watch will be exposed to the work of Edgar Allan Poe, whose macabre writings figure prominently in the plot and may even spur them on to further reading.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how The Following's level of violence compares to other crime dramas on television. Is it too violent for TV? Who decides how much is too much?

  • Writer Edgar Allan Poe is central to the plot of The Following. What do you know about Poe and his work? How have Poe's writings influenced other types of media, whether it be books, movies, or music?

  • Does The Following take a position when it comes to good vs. evil? Is the outlook generally positive or negative?

TV details

For kids who love drama

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate