Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

CBS's 'Under the Dome' Has the Feel of a 'Twilight Zone' Episode Writ Large

Photo of Alison Willmore By Alison Willmore | Indiewire June 24, 2013 at 3:35PM

Stephen King's 2009 novel "Under the Dome" is a 1000+ page behemoth about what befalls Chester's Mill, one of King's favored small Maine towns, when it's suddenly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by a giant, transparent dome.
0
Dean Norris in 'Under the Dome'
Michael Tackett/CBS Dean Norris in 'Under the Dome'

Stephen King's 2009 novel "Under the Dome" is a 1000+ page behemoth about what befalls Chester's Mill, one of King's favored small Maine towns, when it's suddenly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by a giant, transparent dome. CBS's summer series adaptation is only slated to run 13 episodes, with the possibility of further seasons, so the chances of it covering the same amount of ground are slight, but the promising first episode given to the press and premiering tonight -- June 24, at 10pm -- gives precedence to sketching the characters over worrying too much about the mystery beyond its initial, shocking impact.

Some of the trapped, like the seemingly criminal Dale "Barbie" Barbara (Mike Vogel of "Bates Motel") and the couple (Aisha Hinds and Samantha Mathis) traveling with their teenager daughter (Mackenzie Lintz), are just passing through. Others, like newspaperwoman Julia Shumway (Rachelle Lefevre), politician and used car dealer James "Big Jim" Rennie (Dean Norris) and teenager Joe McAlister (Colin Ford), are locals who have full histories with their neighbors. The power lines are down, as are cell phone signals -- they can't even be heard through the wall. Strangers or lifelong friends, everyone under the dome is set to get to know one another very well.

Under the Dome
The obvious touchpoint for "Under the Dome" (besides the coincidentally similarly plotted "The Simpsons Movie") is "Lost" (on which Brian K. Vaughan, who developed this project for TV, previously worked), which stranded a group of people on an island rather than under an invisible barricade, but it also has the feel of a "Twilight Zone" episode writ large, particularly in the setting of the small town you can't leave. The uncanny phenomenon is a way to explore aspects of human nature -- as, short of electricity and contact with the outside world, Chester's Mill's existing dramas are set to come to the forefront.

The mystery does arrive in impressive form, rattling the area before crashing down with a seismic boom. The episode's director, Niels Arden Oplev (of the Danish "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"), stages the scene in which passer-through Dale "Barbie" Barbara (Mike Vogel of "Bates Motel") witnesses the barrier come down with a gruesome lyricism -- anything or anyone in its path is very unlucky, and visuals like a bloody handprint on the barrier and a truck coming into contact with it at full speed stand out in what's otherwise fairly standard-looking TV fare. In the cast, Norris' presence is the most welcome, his character offering a slightly more menacing variation on his cheery but deeply competent Hank from "Breaking Bad."

Whether the TV "Under the Dome," which originated at Showtime before ending up at CBS, will contain the same political resonances as King's book is yet to be seen. But the series manages a small poke at the changing face of small town America in the first episode, when the woman behind the counter at the town's diner notes that their business has been rough ever since a Denny's opened the next town over. When the dome comes down, those Denny's customers get separated from their families, unable to come home.

This article is related to: Television, TV Reviews, Under the Dome, CBS, Niels Arden Oplev, Stephen King






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More