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
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?
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.
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