Everyone loves romanticism. A close cousin of Gothic literature, romanticism places value on raw emotions–particularly apprehension, horror, terror, and awe–in lieu of scientific rationalism. Women, children, tortured heroes, and the pure, unadulterated glories of nature feature in the sentimental tales of the romantic literature. Chances are you have heard of the romantics: William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and, of course, the Gothic romantic Edgar Allen Poe.
Fox’s new show The Following spins the popularity of romanticism and Edgar Allen Poe into the inspiration for deranged, yet charismatic serial killing literature professor Joe Carroll (spelled like Lewis Carroll of Alice in Wonderland). While on death row Carroll escapes, thanks to the assistance of a prison guard groupie, and it is up to the man who put him away the first time, down-on-his-luck former FBI agent Ryan Hardy (like The Hardy Boys) to stop Carroll a second time.
This, however, will be more difficult than meets the eye. Carroll’s idealization of death and vision of killing as art, along with his social media savvy, have built him an army of followers–a network of serial killers at his beck and call.
In the dark genius of Carroll’s mind, he is creating the ultimate homage to Edgar Allen Poe, spinning the perfect crime thriller in real life to be played out before the masses.
Fans of Poe will enjoy the smart–if fleeting–references to the famed author and his vision, if not the gory consequences.
I am personally excited to see how the concept of a serial killer social media network will play out in future episodes and how romanticism will work its way into the plot of The Following.
If the first episode, which aired Monday January 21, is any indication, The Following promises to be a tense, action-packed psychological thriller built on an intriguing premise.