A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
I think that this is a very interesting show, with an original (to my knowledge) premise. The idea of essentially a network of brutal serial killers is truly terrifying, as is the main instigator/villain, who is as bad and sick as they come. There is also an interesting, and intriguing relationship (if you can call it that) between the main villain and Hardy, that throws many twists into the story.This is what makes the story unique. And then you have the do it all former detective Ryan Hardy (I hope I spelled the name right), the semi-typical get-it-done-by-whatever-means-necessary cop. He faces the challenge of balancing his all out hatred and disdain for the main villain and doing whatever it takes (whether it be torture, killing the bad guys, and revenge) to get his information to solve/stop the crimes. And then balancing that with working hand and hand with the FBI and having to follow the law. Overall, great show if you're mature enough and old enough.
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?