“Under the Dome” should be buried under the dome

What I don’t quite understand is how it is that “Under the Dome,” the TV series based on Stephen King’s ultra long novel, is set for another season. Maybe my disbelief is a bit premature, and perhaps there’s still time to pull the plug on this thing, but so far it does appear that a Season 2 is destined to follow Season 1, and that is sufficient reason to look to the skies and ask God “Why?”

It should be noted that I’m a fan of Stephen King and have been for more than 30 years, even though I’m not a fan of all of his books. Still, the man is a master storyteller with  great imagination and I truly respect that. Proof of the fact that I am a Stephen King fan is the fact that I read all 1,000-plus pages of “Under the Dome,” and I believe that anyone who possesses the endurance to read 1,088 pages of anybody’s book should be automatically catapulted to #1 fan status.

The book is good. It’s not remarkable, as I would characterize “Carrie,” “The Stand,” or “Salem’s Lot,” but then how many times can any one person be expected to climb that literary mountain? Most importantly, at least in my mind, is that throughout his career King has done what writers are supposed to do, and that is to keep writing. Sometimes he hit the mark, other times he didn’t, but through all the fame, criticism, ups and downs both personal and professional, he kept writing.

Once again, the book is good. The TV series, however, is not. And I’m saying this even though it has received the blessing and endorsement of Stephen King himself, who has no problem saying when he doesn’t appreciate how his books have been adapted to the screen. His disgust with the movie adaptation of “The Shining” was pretty public and pretty harsh. But I will say that the movie adaptation of “The Shining” with Jack Nicholson was done far better than what was done to the Dome. Despite all the changes from the original, at least “The Shining” was a good movie. “Under the Dome” suffers from bad acting and even worse writing. I will say that it started off very promising, with great effects like the scene (repeated over and over in commercials and promo) where the cow gets cut in half when the done comes down, or when the plane crashes into the dome and appears to explode upon impacting an invisible wall. The reactions of the townspeople and the emerging development of the lead characters was interesting to watch as they tried to figure out what was going on. But as the season has progressed the tension and horror that was so strong in the book has been watered down to a one-dimensional Disney-esque configuration that I guess is supposed to be more family-friendly at the expense of impact. I think the script would have been much better served if it had been written more along the lines of “The Walking Dead” that goes straight for the jugular and avoids the temptation to go ‘cute’, which the Dome wallows in all too frequently. The result is, well, boring.

Says King in A Letter from Stephen:

If you loved the book when you first read it, it’s still there for your perusal. But that doesn’t mean the TV series is bad, because it’s not. In fact, it’s very good. And, if you look closely, you’ll see that most of my characters are still there, although some have been combined and others have changed jobs. That’s also true of the big stuff, like the supermarket riot, the reason for all that propane storage, and the book’s thematic concerns with diminishing resources.

Many of the changes wrought by Brian K. Vaughan and his team of writers have been of necessity, and I approved of them wholeheartedly. 

Hey, it’s your book, Stephen. You’re happy with it. I only wish I could feel the same.

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kaoblues
Writer and musician.

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