Stephen King is an amazing author, and his work has influenced horror literature in monumental ways. I daresay he is the undisputed King of Horror, and his role in literature (both horror and non-horror) will be studied for centuries to come. Yet, the film adaptations of his work are hit-and-miss. We’ve been given some excellent examples over the years, including Stanley Kubrick’s vision of THE SHINING, CREEPSHOW, MISERY, and FIRESTARTER. But Hollywood has graced us with several bombs as well. IT was not nearly as good as it should have been, nor was NEEDFUL THINGS or MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE.
So when I heard UNDER THE DOME was being turned into a television series, my interest immediately piqued. Did the book offer enough source material for a weekly show? Granted, it’s certainly long enough (it measures in at over 1,000 pages). I’m happy to report it is, and the result is an engaging and compelling show that fans of King’s work should be happy with.
If you are not familiar with UNDER THE DOME, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of CBS Television Studios:
UNDER THE DOME, based on Stephen King’s bestselling novel, tells the story of a small town that is suddenly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by an enormous transparent dome. In the weeks following the Dome’s descent on the sleepy town of Chester’s Mill, the inhabitants have been forced to adapt. Combating Dome- and man-made threats daily, the community rises to new heights of ingenuity, courage and, for some, darkness, in order to survive their post-apocalyptic isolation. Just as the town’s quest for answers reveals a seemingly viable path to freedom, everything the residents think they know about the Dome and its motivations is turned upside down. Again facing an uncertain future, the citizens of Chester’s Mill begin to realize their true destiny as the Dome reveals more of its ultimate agenda for them. As new dangers emerge, battle lines are drawn that will alter relationships in ways none of them could imagine. For this town, the true threat to the human spirit’s resilience is no longer just the invisible dome that has cut them off from civilization – but it is the enemy within.
I’ll confess that I have not read the book, however my wife has, and she tells me the show differs quite a bit from its source material. But this is not a bad thing. According to her, the differences are pretty vast, but they are entertaining; I find it fascinating to see different storylines stem from something I thought I already knew.
UNDER THE DOME looks great onscreen and appears to have a high budget. The special effects (although few and far between) are tight, and the overall production value of the show again appears high.
The acting in UNDER THE DOME is very good. I don’t recognize a lot of the names in the cast, however I do recognize a few faces from other shows. The talent level here is comparable to any show on television, although I couldn’t pick a ‘best actor’ out of the list; there are too many names to choose from.
Although the plot deviates from the book, it is still wildly entertaining. I don’t know the details on the differences, but I understand certain characters that die in the book go on living for the show. This was also the case with TRUE BLOOD, where Lafayette died in the books but went on to become a fan-favorite in the TV show. Again, this works on many levels, giving the viewer/reader a different universe to enjoy.
UNDER THE DOME is a big win for me, and I’m crushed to learn they canceled it a couple of months ago. I really wanted to see where they could take the show, but I’m glad we got what we got. Season three hits store shelves tomorrow, so make a note to check it out.