The name Stephen King is often enough to send pangs of joy through sci fi/horror fans. King is the colossus of chills, the sultan of scares, the great bloodbino! Badly placed Sandlot references aside, a horror fan that is not familiar with the print and/or cinematic portions of Kings’ work is one who is merely trying to fit in, and doing a poor job at that.
If there is any knock on King, however, it might be due to his inability to ensure that the big screen version of his stories always match the quality of his novels. Not to say that all films based off of Stephen King novels have flopped, but anyone with a Netflix account can do a bit of searching and find the seedy underbelly of his film adaptations.
However, a new development in the way of a network television show has many Stephen King supporters screaming with joy at the prospect of screaming in shock. The public is beginning to be notified that on June 24th, Under the Dome will be making its’ debut on CBS. King will serve as an executive producer along with television creator Brian K. Vaughan.
The show is based off of Stephen King’s novel by the same name, which details how a small town suddenly becomes enveloped by an invisible barrier and must deal with being cut off from the rest of the civilized world without any answers or end in sight. Some of the novel’s main characters include a radio DJ with a dark secret, a bright teenager whose family resides outside of the barrier, a plucky sheriff’s deputy, and a reserved Army veteran who comes from outside the town. These character descriptions have King written all over them, and one can only hope that the actors can transfer the spades of reality and detail that are bestowed upon each of King’s characters.
With the right budget, there is no doubt that Under the Dome can flourish in the early stages with riveting dialogue and astute portrayals of human interaction, two of King’s cornerstones. With a few strong base ingredients, Vaughan and King will have ample opportunity to figure out the process of manufacturing quality action sequences and subtle plot twists that make shows like The Walking Dead so unforgettable. I wouldn’t be surprised if Under the Dome also blazed a few trails of its’ own in the television industry when all is said and done.
Extensive growing pains may even be an unwarranted criticism, given how long the show has been in development. The project was originally announced in 2009 and was set to air on Showtime before being switched over to CBS in 2012. The network immediately ordered a 13 episode first season without ordering a pilot after catching wind of the concept. Even America’s most popular network has jumped onto King’s bandwagon; viewers in search of the next big sci-fi event should do the same.
On the surface, CBS seems to have booked itself an act that could become an instant cult favorite and keep audiences tuned in during the summer months. My horror circles haven’t caught wind of Under the Dome yet, but when they do, I can only expect the conversation to be positive. Hopefully I’ll be admired after telling them that I was on board with this summer’s blockbuster before it even finished filming. Its’ a bold statement, but given the circumstances I feel confident putting my reputation in a glass house for the next few months. After all, its’ only fitting.