SAN DIEGO - Fox's serial killer drama "The Following" is already one of the buzziest shows of the upcoming TV season. With a high profile star (Kevin Bacon) making his series regular debut, a well-known creator (Kevin Williamson of "Scream" and "The Vampire Diaries"), and an extremely slick (and extremely violent) twist-filled pilot, it's clear Fox will treat this show as a major event.
While most of the show's hour long Comic-Con panel was devoted to actually screening the pilot (which concluded to hearty applause from the crowd), there was also a brief Q&A session with Bacon, Williamson, co-star James Purefoy and director/executive producer Marcos Siega ("Dexter," "The Vampire Diaries").
Williamson admitted he's still nervous about how audiences will react to the series, "I really like it and I hope everyone else likes it. You have that birthing a baby moment." And part of his nervous excitement comes from the joy of working with the show's team, "I've done a lot of pilots and it's hard to find a collaboration," Williamson noted. "It felt good when this team came together. It doesn't always happen."
There's no doubt the biggest coup on the team is Bacon, whose wife Kyra Sedgwick has been headlining TNT's hit "The Closer" for years and who himself has been sought after for television for some time. "I was thinking about doing television for quite a few years before this came around," Bacon said. "It just had everything going for it. Brilliant writer, great director. I really wanted to do something heroic because I really wasn't getting a chance to do that in movies. You never know what's going to happen next and that's good television."
It's also very dark television, including several moments of stomach-churning violence unusually extreme for the small screen, especially on a major network. "We shot it as if we were shooting a cable show and figured we'd deal with it later," Siega said. "I was kind of surprised we got away with as much as we did and they really didn't make us change it."
According to Purefoy -- who plays the deranged serial killer who has haunted the life of Bacon's FBI agent for years -- the action is only going to get more intense, "We only just see the beginning of it here. The [character's] super-objective is so massive and so horrific. This is something that will grow and grow and you'll peel away the layers of this onion. It's almost like seeing the devil himself."
Both Williamson and Bacon were eager to stress that Bacon's character is complex as well -- and indeed his performance is the pilot's crowning achievement. "This is a guy who throughout his whole life has been surrounded by death," Bacon explained. "When I started to focus on that idea it became a real driving force for him. I've known people like that, you feel in some spiritual way you're responsible and I think that's what's torturing him."
As to where the show goes next... "We're trying to figure that out right now in the writers room," Williamson said. "We left a couple of loose ends [in the pilot], you can just imagine that will be the take off point. You saw where it ends, we'll pick up one minute later."
Williamson is eager to see "how crazy and insidious and sick [the show] can get," before making sure to note, "And it's a love story."
"The Following" premieres this January on Fox Mondays at 9 p.m.
Everything: Comic-Con 2013
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