Stephen King has had a tumultuous affair with film and TV. Many of his stories have been translates successfully such as Carrie, Christine, Cujo, The Shining, The Shawshank Redemption, Misery and many others. He has also had success in television adaptations, most notably with Salem’s Lot, The Stand, Storm of the Century and IT. The latest King book to hit the small screen is on store shelves now, Under the Dome.
The town of Chester’s Mill seems like any other small town. And like other small towns, it also has its secrets. But when a massive invisible force field slams down over the entire town, cutting them off from the rest of the world, the limits to which the townsfolk can be pushed will be tested. Struggling to find order in the chaos are Big Jim Rennie (Dean Norris), the town delegate and self-imposed leader, Dale Barbara (Mike Vogel) a mysterious man who just happened to be in town when the dome came down and whose profession is unknown, and Julia Shumway (Rachel Lefevre), an investigative reporter who is determined to find out not only why the dome fell, but who may be responsible.
Under the Dome is 100% Stephen King. The town itself is docile on the surface, dark and mysterious in its secrets. The characters are all perfect examples of Stephen King character archetypes. And it all works wonderfully. The secrets of the dome are always under investigation but with each episode in the 13 episode season, we also learn more about each character and in some cases, the characters themselves are altered by the effects of the dome. And then there is the omnipresent issue with what happens when you close in a large number of people in a space together with limited resources. The cast are all excellent with Dean Norris of Breaking Bad, Lefevre of Twilight and Vogel of Bates Motel and Cloverfield as the real standouts. The story is briskly paced and keeps things interesting and ever changing throughout the season. It’s just a shame they confirmed a second season before viewers saw the end of the season, I guess that answered the question as to whether the dome comes down by the end or not.
All in all Under the Dome is a solid excursion into prime Stephen King territory. Paced well, written well and boasting a solid cast, Under the Dome even holds a few surprises for fans of the book as they veer off in their own direction quite often, even killing off people who live in the book and letting characters who died in the book continue to live. And all with King’s blessing. Under the Dome is recommended.
Available now on Blu-ray and DVD.