After sampling the first few episodes of the CBS summer series Under The Dome, it’s very clear that the series strayed detrimentally from its source book. Based on the mammoth novel by Stephen King, Under The Dome tells the story about a small town, Chester’s Mill, that is suddenly and inexplicably sealed off from the outside world by a huge, transparent dome. The novel focused on the townspeople trapped in the Dome and was about how they coped with this bizarre situation. Under The Dome raised obvious issues like what would be the environmental impact? How will people behave when the food supply dwindles? How long before chaos and anarchy take hold of normal law-biding citizens? The strange circumstance brought out the best and worst in the book’s characters.
While the book was captivating and really explored the ramifications of the event, this TV adaptation feels formulaic. It does have some nice visuals, explicitly the shots of the Dome cutting off Chester’s Mill from the outside world. In a recent episode, the U.S. military launched a missile at the Dome to destroy it and it looked great, as was the aftermath outside the Dome.
Yet, the TV show is a bit bland and bogged down with melodramatic developments. Some of those were covered in the book and were written expertly, but in TV feel mediocre. There is this storyline about a sociopathic creep called “Junior” Rennie (Alexander Koch), who is obviously insane and has a dangerous obsession over this waitress Angie McAlister (Britt Anderson). In the book, this obsession turned truly macabre, but in the show, it’s toned down and the subplot is now a tedious cat-and-mouse game. Junior catches her and imprisons her in a bomb shelter. Angie tries to escape and is eventually freed. Junior chases her and so on. Then there is the matter of character judgment. In the book, Junior was made a special deputy and started a reign of terror with his gang. It was believable because his father, “Big Jim” Rennie, a local politician, pulls strings for his son to be made a special deputy. This doesn’t happen in the show. Instead, the sheriff’s deputy, Linda Esquivel (Natalie Martinez), who is in charge after the sheriff dies early on, makes Junior a special deputy. Esquivel can’t see what a slimeball his Junior is and deputizes him with little thought. Talk about lack of judgment! Then he is hardly ever shown performing his duties, he’s too busy chasing Angie. Meanwhile, Esquivel complains every now and then about how he’s missing when he’s needed. Continue reading