If you’re planning to read Stephen King’s novel Under the Dome before the TV adaptation comes to CBS in June, you may want to get started fairly soon; the book is over 1,000 pages long and you may need to keep a notepad at your side in order to keep track of all the characters inhabiting Chester’s Mill, a small town in Maine that one day gets inexplicably cut off from the outside world by an enormous transparent dome. As resources and sanity begin to run low, the town splits off into factions and civilization gradually begins to break down and rebuild itself into a rather more destructive form.
If the first thought that immediately comes to mind upon hearing that premise is, “what, like in The Simpsons Movie?” then the answer is yes – a lot like in The Simpsons Movie, right down to the subtle undertones of environmentalism. It’s worth noting that while the release of The Simpsons Movie preceded the publication of Under the Dome, the novel was based on an idea that King has been working on since the ’70s. Nonetheless, Entertainment Weekly reports that showrunner Neal Baer has promised to reference The Simpsons Movie in the upcoming series.
As the premiere’s air date closes in, CBS is teasing the arrival of the brand new show with short teaser trailers of the first episode (watch them in the embedded videos above and below) , which was directed by Niels Arden Oplev (Swedish version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo). The novel was originally adapted for the screen by award-winning comic book writer Brian K. Vaughan, who previously tackled the subject of civilization trying to rebuild after devastation in his series Y: The Last Man.
It will also be interesting to see how political the TV show gets compared to the book, which actually featured a (sort-of) cameo by Barack Obama. King has been quite open about the fact that Under the Dome was a commentary on post-9/11 politics, and that main antagonist Big Jim Rennie and local politician Andy Sanders were intended as a small-scale reinvention of the Bush-Cheney administration. It wouldn’t be surprising, though, to see some of these elements get dropped – or their real-life connections softened around the edges, considering that the teaser hints at other potential changes from the book. If the TV show makes it far enough along to get to the end of the book’s plot, hopefully they’ll at least drop the disappointing ending.
Under the Dome in its TV show form could potentially work in either a Lost or a Walking Dead formula – Lost, because of the mystery elements and the characters’ desperate attempts to find out what created the dome, and The Walking Dead because of the incredibly high body count and the examination of what happens to people when they are cut off from traditional authority and forced to adapt in order to survive.
An earlier teaser gave a very brief glimpse at the some of the disaster and gore caused by the sudden appearance of the dome, including a split-second shot of a severed limb falling from some unfortunate who gets caught straddling the barrier. Let’s hope that the pilot episode delivers on mayhem when Under the Dome pops into existence this summer.
Under the Dome premieres on CBS, 24 June, 2013.