Shrewsbury, Massachusetts- The work of Stephen King has been adapted quite a lot throughout all of media. From television, to film, to comic books, people cannot get enough of the author’s stories. The latest hit from those adaptations, Under the Dome, became a surprise hit of the summer. Now, the second season has premiered to see if the hit can maintain its status.
The town of Chester’s Mill is just an average, everyday New England town. That is, until they are cut off by a mysterious dome. Trapped, the residents of the town struggle to survive and maintain structure within the community. The two key players in this power struggle are Dale Barbara and Big Jim Rennie. Meanwhile, a group of the town’s teens try to find the source of the dome to bring it down.
The novel Under the Dome is one of the best Stephen King novels to come out in the last couple of years. It was filled with rich characters and a gripping premise that kept readers plowing through its whopping thousand-plus pages. Its television counterpart however, is not as good as it could be. The first season was alright, taking interesting deviations from its source materials that made things much more thrilling to watch. However, by season’s end, things had been so stretched out, it was hard to stay invested.
The second season tries to continue on its predecessor’s cliffhanger, it concludes fast, but it just sort of meanders about trying to find a new season-long problem to continue. The show tries to introduce new characters that we somehow missed in the first two weeks of the dome coming down, but they don’t really add anything new.
The actors seem to be trying their best with what they’re given, but it has trouble amounting up to something interesting. Mike Vogel is good as Barbie, but there isn’t much that he can do to propel his performance be as the typical King hero. Alexander Koch still adds some shades to a different version of Junior from his novelistic counterpart, but it comes off more whiny than sadistic. The only real standout is Dean Norris as Big Jim Rennie and he chews the heck out of whatever it is he’s given, but it’s still not enough to make the show great.
Under the Dome should be better than it is. It’s nothing against Brian K. Vaughn, someone whose talents (he wrote Y: The Last Man, for God’s sake) are remarkable, but it just doesn’t work. The performances are a touch wooden, the writing stilted, and the effects cheesy. Though a mammoth of a novel, King’s Under the Dome managed to wrap up its story within the span of a couple weeks. The show’s main issue is that its plot is dangerously stretched out and is in danger of falling on top of itself. It was supposed to be a limited series, and let’s hope that will help it find a shorter path to a conclusion.
Under the Dome airs Monday nights @ 10 pm on CBS and new episodes premiere Fridays on Amazon Prime.