Under the Dome

I read the book this show was based on a few months ago and as soon as I learned it was being developed into a TV series I was eagerly looking forward to it. There was an oversight I should have seen coming though, adaptations like this are never what you want them to be. I know this but had high hopes despite it because of the involvement from both Steven Spielberg and Stephen King. However, after watching the first episode I cannot believe King signed off on this or had any hand in its actual development. They have butchered his work, keeping vague aspects of the story but being very liberal with the adaptation all around.

I knew it was going to be all wrong when the show began with Barbie burying some mystery man in the woods. Barbie is the hero of the story, he is a good guy getting a bad rap from the town because of Junior and Big Jim Rennie but he is practically a boy scout in the book. The show made him appear to be some kind of organized criminal and I have no idea where they are going with it. I’m sure they have some kind of explanation coming that will not only exonerate him of wrong doing but solidify him as a good guy too. Still I don’t like what they did with it, and I think it’s a waste.

I also didn’t like what they did with Junior and Angie. In the book the two were never in a relationship together Angie was the girlfriend of Junior’s best friend Frank and when she started making passes at Barbie it led to a lot of trouble that Junior blamed her for. The whole situation happened prior to Dome day too, and it is told mainly through memories and flashbacks. In the book, unaware the dome has come down Junior goes to confront her and just completely loses it when he sees her. He violently beats her to death and then hides her body to use for his own demented and misguided purposes. I understand that by having him simply lock her up and keep her hostage there is plenty to get the audience emotionally invested in her character and kept interested and on the edge of their seats while watching but still, I don’t like it. Junior is a dangerous character and I think that danger was better displayed in the book by him immediately being a murderer.

In the book the violence and insanity that immediately follows the dome coming down is relentless and incredible. So much is going on that you suddenly realize you are over 100 pages in and only a small amount of time has passed in the story. The show does capture some of that insanity and excitement but on such a smaller scale it can’t help but be disappointing. I don’t like that the dome is soundproof in the show. The communication with the outside world is such an important and relevant part in the books and this is done simply by people from either side coming to the dome and talking. In the book the dome is an invisible barrier that it nearly completely impenetrable but not quite. Small amounts of water pass through it as well as very low levels of air. It has the strange shock when people touch it, it causes any electronics to explode, and it is an immovable force when something collides with it. If nothing else you should read the book because the insanity that ensues following the dome dropping is worth your time to read and enjoy.

I think this book was one of the finest King has written. It’s right up there with The Stand as far as I am concerned. King is so skilled at writing these giant stories. Of putting a big group of characters into a wild situation and just letting the chaos take its own course. The dome dropping was such an exciting beginning to the book but before you know it the situation is escalating to an even greater degree of crazy. This is one of those books that is hard to put down because there is just absolutely no telling what might happen next.

I was really looking forward to this show and had high hopes. I really like the casting of Dean Norris as Big Jim Rennie but already feel like the character isn’t quite who he should be. I don’t think I am going to be able to watch this show come next week because my disappointment over the pilot episode was just too great. If you read the book leave me a comment and let me know what you thought about last night’s episode. If you haven’t I think there is plenty of potential for you to enjoy this show even though it isn’t what it should be. If you don’t know what you are missing then you can easily be pleased with the new concepts but unfortunately this isn’t a possibility for me. I should have seen this disappointment coming but let hype get in the way of my better judgment. Adaptations are usually disappointing to the readers but every once and a while something works so perfectly (The Godfather) that you can always maintain hope for the possibilities of others. Unfortunately I don’t think this adaptation was good, I think they absolutely butchered an awesome story and I can’t stand to see what else is to come.

Side Note: I tagged what causes the Dome shamefully to lure people to our site but won’t answer the question. I know exactly what causes the dome in the book but seriously think they will go another route in the show. They have drastically changed SO much about the show that I would literally be surprised if the ending stayed the same. If you just can’t take it and want to make it easier I will respond to requests for an answer if you would like to leave a comment.

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6 comments

  1. I completely agree with your comments. I was soooo disappointed with the first episode. I too don’t understand how Stephen King could sign off on all of the changes. I’m not sure if I’m going to watch the whole series and I was eagerly waiting for it to start.

  2. Agree 100%. Junior in the TV show just comes across as a jealous teenager upset with his girlfriend. As you mentioned, in the book they are not boyfriend/girlfriend and what happens after she is dead is just plain crazy spookey. Also I always picture Big Jim along the lines of John Goodman type. A really “big” guy. This Big Jim is also little too likeable from what I thought of in the book. And the last change to Barbie? Don’t know what that is about. A mob style hit of the reporters husband? But I liked the book for those reason. And knowing that the show is not like the book it was still enjoyable to watch. So I will keep watching the show to see how these changes play out.

    1. I’ll be honest, despite what I said about Dean Norris as Big Jim I think you are right. I actually read the book already knowing Norris had been cast to play the part and always pictured him in the part as I read it. I like Norris from his part on Breaking Bad but I can see that you are right, he’s far too skinny to be Big Jim. Thanks for leaving a comment and good luck with the show. I haven’t completely decided if I will keep going with it but am leaning toward the no.

    2. I’m going to watch the next part tonight to see how it goes. If they make Barbie into a bad guy I probably won’t watch anymore, I’ll just go with the book. I thought Dean Norris would be good as Big Jim but like you said, he seems too like-able on the show.

      1. I’m going to DVR the episode tonight but won’t stay up for it again. Let me know if it is worth the time or gets any better and I will check it out.

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