Stephen King’s “Under the Dome” was the most watched show this Summer. According to Nielson Ratings data, episodes of the show averaged 15 million viewers each. The popularity of the show prompted CBS and Amazon to “(renew) their licensing arrangement for the planned second season,” according to an article in the Los Angeles Times. The second season of the show is scheduled to air in 2014.
The show, based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, is getting a second season. I was already concerned when I heard about the project last year that the show was going to be longer than a miniseries and actually contain 13 full episodes. One book isn’t enough source material, so like readers in the web community Constant Reader I was worried that too many changes could ruin the series.
Of course, I wasn’t really thinking about it. Steven Spielberg and King are both men whom I would consider experts in creating entertainment media. King wrote in a letter on his website addressing naysayers, “If the solution to the mystery were the same on TV as in the book, everyone would know it in short order, which would spoil a lot of the fun.”
“It’s best to think of that novel and what you’re seeing week-to-week on CBS as a case of fraternal twins,” wrote King. “Both started in the same creative womb, but you will be able to tell them apart.” I wish more authors were like this.
The problem many film or television adaptations are either too much creative freedom or too little. King is directly involved in the writing and producing of “Under the Dome,” so any changes to adjust or extend the plot are approved by the source material.
It worked. “Under the Dome” was a success and is definitely worth a watch. It isn’t as overtly dark and King’s earlier television show “Kingdom Hospital” and there are moments it doesn’t play like a traditional King story. Then you’ll remember half-way through an episode that King is most well known for horror and suspense and everything is not going to end well.
That’s what made “Under the Dome” so riveting to watch. Additional, altered plot elements and the visual effect brought it to life, but it was the suspense of not being able to know which characters might live or die. In most shows the main characters are immune to death or injury lasting longer than an episode. In “Under the Dome” none of your favorite characters are safe.