Third-episode verdict: The Following (Fox/CTV/Sky Atlantic)

The BarrometerA Barrometer rating of 3

In the US: Mondays, 9/8c, Fox
In Canada: Mondays, 9/8c, CTV
In the UK: Tuesdays, 10pm, Sky Atlantic

Well, it’s something of a turnaround for The Following, Fox’s new thriller in which former FBI agent Kevin Bacon chases after the serial killer followers of Edgar Allan Poe-loving serial killer James Purefoy. After a dismal and disgraceful first episode that offered virtually nothing new to the genre beyond a decent cast, the second episode was a huge surprise: a fixer-upper that got rid of bad characters, removed much of the sadism and misogyny that permeated the first episode, gave us characterisation and relationships where there was once just emptiness, and added a degree of meta-ness that gave the show an extra level. It still wasn’t brilliant, but it was at least promising.

Episode three is perhaps a course-correction too far, because although once again it was trying to fix some of its existing problems and to add more depth and plausibility to the characters and concepts, the show struggled to be interesting as a result. All the plot revelations, including the two supposedly big shocks but also the minor ones that peppered the episode, could be seen coming a mile off and they made the FBI look like total morons as a result.

The show as it stands now is veering towards watchable and interesting. Unfortunately, much of that interest is in the flashbacks to Purefoy’s original capture, rather than the more ludicrous present day machinations of his minions. It might be worth your viewing time, if you like the serial killer and thriller genre, but I’m bowing out now, since although Purefoy and Bacon are great to watch, the show itself still hasn’t worked out a real killer attraction.
Barrometer rating: 3
Rob’s prediction: Should last until the end of the season at least, and could even go for longer.