After having seen the pilot, I can say that The Blacklist is nothing like The Following. If a comparison must be made then The Blacklist is more akin to Silence of the Lambs, though the characters in both differ greatly. Raymond 'Red' Reddington (played by James Spader) is clearly not a psychopath and over the course of the pilot remains quite enigmatic, where his agenda never becomes quite clear. Is he really desiring a second chance or has he a more nefarious goal in mind? This obviously a more long-term question for the show and one I cannot wait to see answered.
Then there is rookie FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen (played by Megan Boone) whose first day at the job doesn't quite go as planned when Reddington surrenders himself to the FBI and requests only to speak with Keen. Reddingtons interest in Keen seems very personal, something which was already evident in the trailers. The pilot is very unsubtle about their possible relation to one another and Keen being Reddington's daughter seems almost too obvious.
The FBI on The Blacklist is not as stupid as they have been in other shows, but some suspension of disbelief is still required in some occasions. The FBI would've probably been on to the possibility of Keen being Reddington's daughter, but the events of the pilot require them to act quickly on the information Reddington gives them. But I would like to see the show address the obvious question as early on as they can. Through the events of the pilot, it's quite clear that the show is a procedural with high profile cases. But the twists in the case and Reddington had me entertained throughout the episode. Also, loved the twist at the end of the episode.
There are, however, a couple of negatives I should mention. Megan Boone's acting felt a bit bland and there is little chemistry between her and James Spader. Both FBI assistant director Harold Cooper (played by Harry Lennix) and FBI agent Donald Ressler (played by Diego Klattenhoff) feel like two-dimensional characters you've seen in every other procedural. Some of that is the blame of the fast pace the pilot maintains, which leaves little room to explore their characters.
Overall , if you like procedurals with strong characters watch this show. It definitely has the chance to be something great, as is evident by the fast paced pilot which sets up it's premise nicely.