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Under the Dome – Classic ‘King’

Stephen King’s Under the Dome has been running for a few episodes now. As with all book adaptations, I had my reservations, especially since I am a huge fan of all things King. Plus, even though I think his books are genius, the TV adaptations of his work never quite do it for me. It’s always a case of nearly, but not quite. His novels are full of emotional and philosophical detail which rarely makes it to the screen, and although I realise that sacrifices have to be made when writing a screenplay, as a ‘King-Fan’ I feel justice has never quite been done.

So, it it interesting to see that the strategy for adapting Under the Dome is different. It is as if the premise of the story has been used to create a TV series that loosely follows the characters and timeline of the novel, but  has been re-written two fill the standard 12 episode TV series format. For instance, episode 4 in which an outbreak threatens to overrun the beleaguered town, does not appear in the novel at all. It is, however, a perfectly self-contained episode set within the confines of King’s world.

This technique seems to paying off. Ratings have been consistently good (see the Wikipedia entry here).

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, this is a classic Stephen King ‘what if?’ scenario. In this case, the small town of Chester’s Mill is suddenly and inexplicably surrounded by an impenetrable and invisible dome. The effects in the first episode showing the dome’s arrival were top notch, the most memorable moment being the slicing-in-two of a cow à la Damien Hirst. Coupled with the fact that there are already some shenanigans occurring within the town, mystery and mayhem ensue. It sounds like a very contrived and unlikely set-up, and I suppose it is. But hey… this is Steven King!

And before you ask, yes… this does sound a little like the plot of the Simpson Movie. (The town kids even mention this in episode 2!) King insists he began writing Under the Dome over twenty year ago, and I for one don’t think there is much of a comparison.

So, all in all I like it. I like it because it is not trying to be a faithful re-telling of the original. Even though I know the story, I am still watching something new and exciting. I really don’t know what is going to happen. I suppose there is even the option of continuing the story for another season!

So, check out Under the Dome, be you a Kingophile or just a lover of the mystery/thriller/drama genre.

You won’t be disappointed.

 

 


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