tv: under the dome (ep. 1)

Our world is getting smaller all the time. We’re more connected than ever–I was just in a meeting with colleagues from Paris, London, and Tokyo. They called in and participated in a meeting in New York. I took a vacation with my family, and we came from all over the country to meet in one place–in Florida, where none of us live.

That’s what makes Under the Dome so scary. When a dome falls over the town of Chester’s Mill, the world shrinks to the size of the town, and those who are inside lose their connections to the outside. Angie likens it to a fishbowl, but at least fish can be fed from the outside.

They can see through the dome, which almost makes it worse (but allows us to see some killer explosions). [SPOILERS] When Duke falls because of an exploded pacemaker, the U.S. military is bustling around just outside the dome’s boundary. They have the equipment to help, and the communication to get to a doctor, but they don’t even notice Duke go down. Linda is left alone with the dead sheriff, looking at all those resources just beyond her reach. (And it’s not like they could have helped him anyway.)

Duke dying was a twist, even though he dies in the book in the same fashion. The show has departed from the book in some cool ways, and because Duke was around for so long in the premiere, I thought they might have spared him. Or at least waited a few episodes. But his death, the only one so far of a character we’ve come to know a little bit, changes the game and raises the stakes. Now who will run the police force that Big Jim is so ready to increase? And what was Duke trying to tell Linda about the town?

A lot of Chester’s Mill is familiar to me, but these characters’ backgrounds and families are different from the book. This world looks just as interesting as the one I’ve read about though, and I can’t wait to see where these new mysteries take us. (Like why was Barbie burying Julia’s husband?!)

They’ve certainly taken us to some creepy places so far. The show, like many of King’s novels, did a good job of letting dread creep in, with images like a neatly halved cow and a messy arm that’s missing a hand. The seizures and repeated phrases (a technique King uses often) added a sense of doom as well. Junior, Big Jim’s clearly troubled son, went from creepy to campy and back again. But when he was creepy, he was really creepy.

I can’t wait to see more of Chester’s Mill, and to spend time with these off-kilter characters. The variations from the book will keep me on my toes, and so far the adaptations are smart and interesting. Hopefully you’ll keep watching with me–after all, we’re all in this together.

This is the first of a few Under the Dome related posts this week. Check back later for more, and you can see other posts here:

Under the Dome airs on CBS on Mondays at 10 p.m. Eastern. you can download the first episode from Amazon on June 28, I’ll update with the link when it posts. EDIT: The first episode is available!

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