I’d heard a lot of good things about Under the Dome when it was on TV, but honestly I’m to the point that very few shows interest me enough to want to watch them on a week to week basis. I like to watch a show all at once–or at the very least season by season. (Strange to hear myself say that, but it’s true. Netflix has changed the way I prefer to consume my television. And why not? Who wants to suffer through week after week of cliffhangers?) The one bad thing about Under the Dome was that it was only going to appear on Amazon InstantWatch. Well–bad for you, maybe. For me? I’m a Prime subscriber, so it made no difference. Denisa and I gave it a whirl.
It’s based on the book by Stephen King, and it has a lot of the same strengths and weaknesses of that book–which means it’s a pretty darn good show. The premise is strong and simple: a group of people in a small town discover one day that a gigantic invisible, impenetrable dome has settled over their town. They don’t know why it appeared, and they don’t know how to get rid of it. Drama ensues. The strength of the novel–and the show–lies not so much in the plot, but in the characters themselves, as they react in realistic ways, all of them trying to find a solution in their own manner. Some decide to use the change as an excuse for a power grab. Some step up to lead. Some panic. Good stuff.
The tv show departs from the book in several ways, though I won’t list most of them. This isn’t the sort of show you want spoiled. There are twists and turns to the plot. I’d say the biggest weakness of the show is that it was originally conceived as a 13 episode mini-series. Halfway through the series’ run, they realized they had something popular on their hands, so they decided to streeeeeeeetch it out. As such, the show clips along wonderfully until the midway point, and then it loses that blissful pacing and gets far more deliberate. Still fun to watch, but frustrating.
Another weakness of the show is that the characters aren’t quite as consistent as they are in King’s novel. I never like it when characters do stupid things because stupid things need to be done for the plot to advance the way the author has planned, and this show breaks that rule fairly consistently. Not enough to get me to stop binge watching, but enough for me to have paused the show frequently to yell at the characters and explain my frustrations to Denisa. I don’t think she minded the offenses as much. Maybe it was just me.
In the end, the show reminded both of us of Lost in many ways. It’s based on a mystery and characters. It just doesn’t have the flashbacks. I’m very interested to see what happens in the end–what the explanation of the mystery will be. (Because it very well may not be what it was in King’s book–significant changes have been made.) That explanation may well make or break the show, but in the meantime, it’s a fun way to spend 13 episodes. I’d give it a 7.5/10. The first few episodes are closer to a 9/10. Some of the middle dips down to a 6. If you subscribe to Prime, you should check it out.
Anyone already seen it? What did you think?