Monday night was the big premiere night for the new Stephen King series Under the Dome. I was pretty hyped on the idea of the show from the first trailer but I wondered if the show would be as good as I hoped and if a summer show like this would have a chance of building an audience.
If you haven’t already seen the premiere, you can watch it over on CBS.com. There’s no telling how long it will be on their site, but the standard these days seems to be like 3 or 4 weeks at least.
What is Under the Dome
Before I jump into my opinions, lets get you caught up on the details of the show from producers Brian K. Vaughn (Lost) and Neal Baer (ER).
An invisible force field descends upon a small town in the northeastern part of the United States.
Dean Norris – “Big Jim” Rennie – Dean plays agent Hank Schrader on Breaking Bad
Jeff Fahey – the Sheriff – Lost alum and star of The Lawnmower Man
Rachelle Lefevre – Julia Shumway – You Twilighters might recognize her
Mike Vogel – “Barbie” Barbara – veteran TV actor from Grounded for Life, Miami Medical, Pan Am, Bates Motel….
How Did it Perform
If you put any faith in the Nielsen numbers (which apparently all the big studios do), then the outlook for Under the Dome is very good. They report that 13 million people watched the show, giving it a 3.2 rating (in the 18-49 range). In the real world (not imaginary Nielsen-land), that means that more like 20 million people have viewed it, since many probably recorded it and watched after it premiered.
The New York Times calls this a “breakout performance!”
A Nerd Review of Under the Dome
I watched the premiere (not live – recorded on the TiVo) and I have to say that I am happy I made the decision to record it as a Season Pass. My thoughts (no spoilers)
- The acting was OK – you can tell there are quite a few rookie actors here, but having Dean Norris, Jeff Fahey and Mike Vogel in the mix seems like a solid foundation
- The special effects were great – I saw a “behind the scenes” video before the premiere and the show creators talked about how they used real props instead of CGI in a lot of places to add authenticity to the show. It really comes through on screen and I think they did a great job.
- The mystery is there – As with great shows like Lost and Jericho (yes, you’ll see lots of comparison to both of these shows around the web) we get a good picture of whats going on in the sleepy little town of Chester’s Mill but we get a much better idea that there is a lot more going on than meets the eye. The premiere did a great job of setting up multiple “I wanna know more about that” moments in just one hour.
- It’s on CBS – here is a BIG positive. I don’t mind getting emotionally attached to a show that is not on FOX. Why? Because CBS will actually give this thing a chance to develop into a multi-season show.
The one thing I’ve heard that leaves me wanting is that the original book or story (I haven’t read it, so I don’t know) did not end all that well. This may actually be a good thing for viewers, whether they have read it or not, because I’m guessing that the show is going to venture out into new directions and maybe even veer completely off-course from the book, much like The Walking Dead has. Any troubles that Mr. King might have had in wrapping up his original story might be patched up in the series.
What do you think? Did you watch Under the Dome? Will you be returning for more? Did I leave anything out?
I was actually impressed with Under the Dome. Nobody stuck out as a crappy actor, the direction was good, and aside from the cow the special effects were good. It will have to be better than the book though. I did read it and the story arc as well as the ending were lackluster.
Sounds like the other comments I have heard about the book. Interesting that they would choose something regarded as “lackluster” to make a TV show out of, but I guess when Stephen King is the writer, there is a built-in audience.