Under the Dome Season 1 Episode 1 – TV Review
I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to get stuck into this show.
I have traditionally not had a good time with Stephen King film and TV projects. These are the ones I didn’t like:
- Carrie. Boring, dated, Sissy Spacek is the only good thing about it.
- Desparation. Hopelessly awful.
- Dreamcatcher. So. Boring. And. Weird.
- Riding the Bullet. Also boring. And David Arquette hasn’t done anything useful apart from the Scream movies.
- Dolan’s Cadillac. Couldn’t even finish it.
- Rose Red. Great idea, but so fucking long. The companion book was better.
- Kingdom Hospital. Irredeemably pathetic.
And these are the ones I did:
- Pet Sematary. Okay premise, clunky pacing.
- Misery. This one was amazing, though.
- The Mist. This one wasn’t too bad, either.
- The Green Mile. It’s a good movie, but I’m not particularly lovey dovey towards it.
- Nightmares and Dreamscapes. Some were a bit bleh, but otherwise it was kitschy cool.
Eh, you know what? Mike Vogel‘s in this. Let’s go.
TL;DR A fabulous cast, genuinely creepy atmosphere, and decent special effects make this pretty impressive.
Also, it’s totes like The Simpsons Movie. Just sayin’. slowpoke.jpg
The plot is spelled out pretty well by the title. The residents and some passersby of a small town in America suddenly find themselves encased in an invisible forcefield thing. Minor carnage and confusion ensues. Our characters include: Barbie (Vogel), a mysterious-but-sexy guy who was trying to leave town after killing a dude; Rachelle Lefevre (original Victoria from Twilight), the local journalist (and whose “missing” husband is actually the guy Barbie killed); Sheriff Jeff Fahey, who seems decent enough; Britt Robertson, a local girl who gets kidnapped by her crazy motherfucker of a boyfriend; the boyfriend’s dad, who is a councilman and seems predictably unscrupulous; and FemCop from Cult, a woman passing through with her girlfriend and their daughter.
I’m gonna stay my bitchy hand on Under the Dome for the moment. It’s a series premiere. And it’s a sci-fi premiere. I don’t have enough of a grip on the show to understand how to properly bitch about it yet (it’s hard to do with pilots).
Based on what we’ve got here, though, I’m satisfied with the level of intrigue.
Though intrigue isn’t usually the problem with Stephen King screen works.
Why I hate this episode:
The problem is usually pacing. For some reason his writing doesn’t translate from the doorstopping monsters his books are into the snappier formats of film and television (not uncommon for adaptations). This episode of Under the Dome handles it well, but I do remain concerned about the future of the series. It’s only 13 episodes for the season, so that gives me hope (it’s a good number).
The one subplot I really rolled my eyes at was the Britt Robertson/Crazy Boyfriend one. Not only does it insult poor Britt, whose career I’m impressed to see still alive following the rather meh The Secret Circle, by carting her off to a dingy bunker, but it’s fuckin’ weird. Everyone else’s reaction to the dome is mostly civil or at least cautious. But not Crazy Boyfriend. He naturally sees this as the perfect time to trap his girlfriend (she wants them to break up, which is actually in his best interest because he’s been offered a college spot out of town), who might I remind you is already trapped inside the freaking dome, in a fallout shelter. Like, wtf? Honestly. I don’t like him. Because he’s a douche, and I find his character to be unbelievable.
Contrasting the randomness of his son, Crazy Boyfriend’s councilman daddy is the exact opposite. He’s the predictable “gets a little bit of power and is definitely going to turn into Hitler” character in these situations. So Under the Dome gets demerit points for being bizarre with the son, and unimaginitive with the dad. It really has covered all its bases.
Big Jim (herr councilman) is also totes rude to the local radio hosts when he barges in to make an emergency broadcast. Don’t you be steppin’ to my hipster brethren, yo.
Oh, and the Sheriff’s pacemaker explodes when he touches the wall for too long. It initially shocks him, then he puts his hand back on it. Idiot.
Reasons to watch:
You know I love some casting, baby. So we’ve got Mike Vogel from Bates Motel (and the quite good Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake), Rachelle Lefevre (who I remember fondly from that episode of Veronica Mars), Jeff Fahey (Machete), Britt Robertson (The Secret Circle, Scream 4), Beth Broderick (Aunt Zelda from Sabrina. You should know this), and FemCop from Cult (she needed a new job). I’m happy.
Mike Vogel gets to be a bit more than just a villain this time (so far, at least). Yeah, he buried (I assume he killed him, too?) Rachelle’s hubby’s body, but it didn’t look like he was taking much pleasure in it. He’s ex-military and seems willing to be helpful. I want to learn more about him.
Britt does a good enough job with the role she’s given. We get to see her smoking and having sex, so that’s nice for a change.
FemCop’s role is less villainous this time, too. She just gets stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time. Her and her girlfriend’s daughter also comes down with a seizure where she says this: “The stars are falling in lines.” Hello, arc words. Britt’s little brother also suffers the same affliction later on.
The effects are done about as good as you’re gonna get for TV. The highlight would obviously be the cow bisection. And you know I’ve got a wet-on for bisections. The cars and plane crashing into the dome don’t look too crappy, either.
Apart from Crazypants BF, the townsfolk are surprisingly calm about the situation. They haven’t learned the extent of the dome (they think it’s mostly just a wall for now) yet, but I was impressed.
Best line goes to the Asian radio chick. She and her male DJ partner are trying to get signals at the station:
DJ: “It sounds alien?”
Asian chick: “It sounds like Bjork.”
Damn, bitch. That’s almost as cold as… Iceland.
There’s some thing about Big Jim stockpiling propane prior to the dome appearing. The Sheriff knows about it and Big Jim threatens to ruin his reputation if the Sheriff gets any ideas about resisting his authority. Hmm.
Barbie (every time I hear that I’m gonna think of this) ends up teaming up and staying with Rachelle. Awkward. I lol’d.
A bunch of teenagers react appropriately to the situation: they party on a bridge. I’d do it.