I have to admit that ‘The Following’ lost me last year. The murders felt too trite and gratuitous; I didn’t care about the main characters enough to want them to not die. But after screening the series’ second season premiere, ‘Resurrection,’ I can confirm that Season 2 is going to be way, way better.
Fox’s Kevin Bacon-starrer The Following is never going to hook you if you’re not a horror fan. But I am a horror fan — a huge one, in fact — and even I thought that Season 1 of The Following had major chinks in its armor. But Kevin Williamson is a great producer, and the show’s dynamic Season 2 premiere is a giant step in the right direction. Here are five reasons why The Following is better this time around.
5 Reasons Why ‘The Following’ Is Better In Season 2
Kevin Williamson is known for writing witty dialogue — think Vampire Diaries, Dawson Creek — but Season 1 often felt too on-the-nose for a show from Kevin’s genius. The other Kevin — Bacon, our lead — gets some great comic moments in during “Resurrection,” as does Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore). The premiere also manages to garner more interest in the relationship between the two heroes than the entire first season did. Weird, but I’ll take it.
2. A Crazy New Villain
Remember that insanely creepy kid with the camera from the final season of Dexter? Well, he’s back, and he’s even more insanely creepy on basic cable. Sam Underwood‘s villain is a breath of fresh air — those Followers were just too goddamn serious all the time last season. Murder should be fun, you know? Also, he doesn’t seem to care about Edgar Allen Poe.
3. No More Edger Allen Poe
At least not yet. Please God, don’t let them slander the poor man’s name anymore. Poe was a great Gothic poet who loved his wife and his mother, but on The Following he was painted as a sick murderer whose works could be used as an invocation to mutilate female bodies.
What’s more, this tactic didn’t even work — I never believed that numerous people would be moved to kill based off of Joe Carroll (James Purefoy) and Poe’s words alone. You’re going to have to try a little bit harder than that, and stepping away from Poe is — again — a step in the right direction.
4. Jessica Strop
In addition to Sam Underwood, we have another “breath of fresh air” addition on the good guys’ side — Jessica, recently of 90210 fame (but don’t hold that against her). She plays Ryan Hardy’s niece Max, and her youthful energy and obvious intelligence are a great foil for our hero, who in no way has his act together.
5. The Most Terrifying Murder I’ve Seen On TV
Okay, so I’m still nervous that we’ll venture off into gratuitous and trite-land when it comes to the violence. But the epic, unforgettable (no matter how hard you try) introduction to Season 2 consists of the most bats**t insane, unflinching, claustrophobic murder sequence I’ve seen on network TV, and it very effectively sets up the new arc for the year. It doesn’t rely on gimmicks like poem lyrics or cryptic language to be scary, it just is. Especially for New Yorkers.
The Following premieres on Sunday, Jan. 19. If you didn’t like it before, give it another shot. If you did — well, keep watching.
— Shaunna Murphy