Weekly Binge: Under the Dome
Last year's summer hit returns to TV June 30 on CBS. Producer Steven Spielberg and horror novelist Stephen King team up to turn King's book into event television full of mystery and betrayal. But just like any other Stephen King story, nothing is as it seems.
Here's what you need to know in order to dive into Under the Dome.
Under the Dome
What's the premise? A small town becomes encapsulated by a huge transparent dome-like phenomenon. Unable to leave or enter the dome, the residents go a little stir crazy and strange supernatural things begin to happen.
What's it like? First off, it's derived from a Stephen King novel, so you already expect weird things to happen. It's as if you took the confusion and intrigue of Lost and paired it with a teen drama like Roswell or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. However, don't be fooled; this is not your typical CW sci-fi fare by any means.
Where can I see it? Season one is streaming on Amazon Instant Video and available on DVD on Netflix.
How long will it take? Season one is only 13 episodes so this is easily doable in a weekend or, if you're being conservative about it, no more than a week, tops.
What do the critics think? The critics mostly agree that Under the Dome is an intriguing mystery, and season one is Certified Fresh at 81 percent on the Tomatometer. "The sheer WTF-ness of the premise alone leaves one clamoring for resolution after its vanishingly short hour," raved Under the Radar's Alee Karim. The Denver Post's Joanne Ostrow wrote, "Not only is it creepy, suspenseful and full of splendid special effects, veteran actors and fresh young faces, but it's laced with big thoughts about environmentalism and the future of the planet."
Why should I watch this? It's the brainchild of Stephen King, who wrote the novel, and Steven Spielberg, who produces the show, and it's honestly not like anything else on TV as of late. Some say it's a metaphor for environmentalism while others feel it's a character study on how people act when stuck in one place and resources like food and water become scarce. With the regular TV season coming to a close and fewer notable shows on the agenda during the summer months, this one offers the kind of promising intrigue that'll make you glad you can watch it all at once. When the new season hits, you'll find it difficult to wait every week to get questions answered.
What's my next step? It's really hard to liken this to any other sort of film or TV entity, but as mentioned above, Lost would be a good start. Stephen King has a lot of book-to-film classics under his belt as well: The Shining, Carrie, and Misery are some popular examples, but others like Salem's Lot, The Mist, and Needful Things also similarly feature small towns affected by the presence of mysterious forces. Of course there is also the source material from which Under the Dome was adapted, if you have a hankering for Stephen King's work.
What do you like about Under the Dome? How would you explain it to a newbie? Get in on the conversation here.