It’s been a long break, but “The Following” finally, finally returns to our TV screens with a special preview episode this Sunday (Jan. 19), immediately after the NFC Championship game at approximately 10:30 p.m. ET.
But heed executive producer Kevin Williamson‘s warning: Season 2 is going to look a lot different than Season 1. “I think the entire show’s different. I think our characters are in a different starting place, pushing forward a year later,” Williamson tells Zap2it. “The entire show has reset, but it’s also pushed forward a year. It’s all changed.”
Williamson reveals that the biggest difference between Season 1 and Season 2 is the fact that the episodes will be “less procedural.”
“It’s not such an FBI chase in the sense that Ryan Hardy’s [Kevin Bacon] not a consultant smack in the center of an FBI task force trying to find Joey who’s been kidnapped,” Williamson says. “This story is told from a different starting place. It’s a little bit more of a character thriller and a relationship thriller, rather than a procedural, FBI hunt-’em-down thriller.”
Although there is a year time jump in between seasons, that doesn’t mean we won’t find out what went down in that year. In fact, we’ll find out the fate of Claire (Natalie Zea) and Ryan right away, and with the use of flashbacks we’ll get to see a lot of different characters’ histories. “We show a little bit of what happened in the past year,” Williamson says. “We’ll explore childhoods. We go a little bit more into the psychology of our characters and what made them the way they are.”
And for viewers that are wary of the blood and violence that frequented Season 1, Williamson has some good news for you. “The show doesn’t feel as violent as it did last year,” he says. “There are some of the later episodes of last season where you remember just the brutality and the body count. That’s not the show we’re telling this year. I’m not going to pretend it’s not scary and violent, because it is. It just has a different tone and feel to it this year. Hopefully, every season can be a brand new show.”
Williamson teases that the season premiere centers around the one-year anniversary of Joe Carroll’s death. “It’s the anniversary of the Havenport tragedy, and a book’s coming out [about it],” Williamson says. “We do play a little bit more with the publicity and the press and the media aspect of a case like this.”
That book about Carroll’s death is going to play into the season in a big way. “Carrie Cooke, who wrote the book that we tease in the first episode, she actually comes onto the show later and has a full on story line and becomes a major part of the series,” Williamson says. “She’s got her own cable news show and the whole bit. She’s a tabloid cable news journalist and it’s one of those books that she wrote it really quickly, wanted to get it out there by the anniversary, and the publishers are trying to make a buck. Its accuracy is in question.”
After Sunday’s episode, “The Following” moves to its regular time period at 9 p.m. ET Monday, Jan. 27.