First Look at Stephen King’s ‘Under the Dome’ Series on CBS

Published 2 years ago by

This past weekend, fans attending WonderCon in California were treated to the first footage of the CBS series adaptation of Stephen King’s novel Under the Dome, premiering on the network this summer. Now that video is online for your viewing pleasure.

The new series is produced by Steven Spielberg and his Amblin Television banner with Stephen King as an executive producer and will start with a short 13-episode first season. But just because King is involved, don’t expect the series to be a slave to the 1,000+ page novel.

For those who aren’t familiar with the bestselling 2009 novel, here’s the official synopsis from Stephen King’s website:

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when — or if — it will go away.

Dale Barbara, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens – the town newspaper owner, a physician’s assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing to hold on to the reins of power, and his son. Because time isn’t just short…  It’s running out.

underthedome title First Look at Stephen Kings Under the Dome Series on CBS

The short teaser up top offers interviews with cast and crew along with the first footage from the series, much of it focusing on the confusion that ensues after the force field appears and shows cars crashing into seemingly nothing, body parts suddenly getting cut off, planes crashing and couples separating. And while King’s book serves as the source material, the author was happy to see writer and series creator Brian K. Vaughn using his work as more of a jumping off point.

Series showrunner Neal Baer says, “That gives us a guideline to dig into these stories and helps us root for characters, hate some of them and love characters and be passionate about them.Under the Dome won’t be a limited series just because King’s book has an ending after the event in question lasts only a couple days. Baer indicates that the characters will be stuck for much longer, explaining that the first season will progress through faith that those under the dome will be saved, fear that they might actually be stuck for a long time, and fascism, when it’s time to hunker down and figure out how to survive with only what’s left inside of the dome.

One of the series producers, Jack Bender, used to work on the hit TV series Lost, and Vaughn hopes to take plenty of cues from that show, but without necessarily actively trying surpass its greatness and shortcomings. Vaughn told EW, “All I know is that [after] Lost, there were a lot of shows that came on that were like, ‘Here’s what we’e going to do that’s better than Lost. We’re not ending up like Lost.’ And those shows are all gone. So  what I hope to do is rip off from lost as much as possible.”

But perhaps sensing the need to differentiate himself from his previous work and also one of the more influential and popular series of the past decade, Bender notes, “The plan is for us to be us and to do a different show,” even if Jeff Fahey from Lost does have a role in Under the Dome.

underthedome harris lookingup First Look at Stephen Kings Under the Dome Series on CBS

Baer adds to the focus on characters telling The Hollywood Reporter:

“When you’re under those intense circumstances, people’s good or evil hearts may come out more than in everyday life. That intensity under that magnifying glass gives us the opportunity to explore what people would really do.

It’s a parable for our times: can the sun shine through the dome? Can it rain? Those sound like climate issues and we can really explore that without being preachy,” he said. “It’s fun for us to think about what happens when you run out of Tide soap, what do you use? Who rises? Do you really need a banker under the dome? But farmers? Maybe you do.”

Our first glimpse Under the Dome doesn’t give us much to go on, but at the very least, the concept is intriguing, and expanding the characters and story outside of the book means that even fans of the novel won’t know what to expect at every turn.

Under the Dome stars Mike Vogel, Dean Norris, Britt Robertson, Jeff Fahey, Rachelle Lefevre and more with a pilot directed by Niels Arden Oplev of the original Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. CBS premieres the series this summer on June 24th at 10/9c. Stay tuned for more.

Sources: EW, THR

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  1. Looks really cool. Let’s see if it’s more like the terrible Falling Skies(visually stunning sci-fi crap) or Twin Peaks(grounded, yet disturbingly creative “what happens to a small town when sh*t’s going down”-drama).

    • what? falling skies is AMAZING! I admit the first season was a little slow and unpolished, but this season has been nothing short of EPIC….thats right….EPIC!

  2. I’m sure this is based on the Simpson’s Movie

    • Or the novel by Stephen King.

      • The novel was released years after The Simpsons Movie but who says we can’t have similar ideas floating around?

        Sounds interesting.

    • This is based on the book of the same name, by Stephen King, so it would have to be good. He never made a bad movie.

  3. This seems interesting so I’ll check it out, but man it is a lot of tv shows coming out soon, I can’t really keep up.

  4. Loved the book but I’m a little leery of the whole “using the book as a starting point” thing. I don’t see stretching the events of the book out any longer going well for the story. What happened seemed to have a sort of “time is running out quickly” sort of feel to it and I don’t think it will be better adding stuff to what King originally wrote. Then again I’m just one of those people who really likes faithful page to screen adaptations.

    • Well in US television they don’t grasp that too much of something isn’t better. Sometimes something only needs 16-20 episodes to tell an amazing store. Look at Life On Mars (UK). Likely one of the best bits of TV in history and it didn’t have to have 24 episodes for 7-9 years to get there.

    • Stephen King has already said that his true constant readers will probably pick the whole series apart and say things like that never happened or that character isn’t supposed to do that or be like that…SK did say that it stays pretty close to the book with, as expected with movies/tv shows, some minor variations. The book was great but the adaptations are never quite like the book…watch it with an open mind.

  5. Didn’t bother to read or look at the title. Stephen King sucks. So I’m going to say it. There’s a writer, there’s an alcoholic, there’s a psychic kid, there’s an adulterer, a disappointing resolution! All in STEVEN KING’S MAINE!!!

    Yes, it’s a knock off of Nostalgia Critics song.

    • Someone’s a little grouchy today.

    • Go read Stephanie Meyers and shop at Hot Topic, or whatever you people do.

  6. I bet this book/series hinges on a totally anticlimactic moment when the “not-hero” finally finally decides to stop being a pu*** and resolve an internal conflict that’s been plaguing him for years which then magically vanquishes the badguys and their (retarded) scheme which could have been done within the 1st five minutes if, again, the narrator wasn’t such a p***y.

    Next time Stephen King thinks about writing another book he should do more coke first.

    • Maybe you should pick up a book (try novel), and the funny pages do not count as reading BTW.

    • Then possibly you should not be here commenting at all if you do not like Stephen King. Just saying.

  7. wont the air run out under that glass dome? i hope that factor is also in the story.

  8. Can’t wait for this. I thought the book was one of King’s best.

  9. Eh….not impressed

  10. Looks like Dean Norris from Breaking bad found a new show quickly. No wonder why he wanted to be killed off early.

    And it looks entertaining at least in the short term but how they are going to keep this going for years is what I’m not seeing. I could see it as a riveting mini-series but not a 5+ year saga like LOST (which is what everyone is still aiming for)

  11. They’re calling this a summer television event, so I think that means it’s only going to last 13 episodes. Not a miniseries, but something a little longer than that. That’s what I’ve been able to gather. King told them to use the book as a jumping off point, and I can see where some changes have been made. I’ll have to see the series to know if those are good changes or not, but Stephen King’s usually involved in the movie version of his books. I know Julia Shumway is a LOT younger than she is in the book. And there’s a Carolyn Hill character that wasn’t in the books at all, that I remember. Either way I think it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. I just finished the book the other day, so it’s all still fresh in my mind. As for someone’s comment about the air in the dome, that’s covered in the book as well, so I imagine that it’ll be part of the series as well. I can’t see this going for a bunch of seasons, and I don’t think that’s what they’re aiming for with it.

    • I believe Carolyn Hill was the young lady with the professor who were taking care of the two kids they found in the novel. If I am correct, they changed it for the film version. Either way, Stephen King has an awesome imagination and I look forward to seeing this when it airs.

  12. I am a Stephen King fan and thought Under the Dome was great. I just listened to it again on CD.
    Stephen King writes more about the characters in a catastrophic event then the event itself (i.e The Stand). This is what him the best of the best, etc.
    The show Haven was based on a SK paperback called the Colorado Kid. The series only used the setting and some of the characters.
    Whatever the Dome gets turned into for TV- the ending in the book is not something everyone would like.

  13. I thought this was going to be a mini series. I sure wish they would of went with Showtime like originally planned.Loved the I book.Just don’t know how its gonna turn out on CBS

  14. This looks so colossally inane I can’t believe it got green-lit.

  15. Shouldn’t it be in the sphere rather than under the dome. You can tunnel under a dome.

  16. Now that the show is actually televised, let’s view the comments. My first impression is that I hate it. It’s not the plot or the actors… too soon to judge those, but within minutes, CBS is cramming long commercials for video games and other crap down our throats. How arrogant! At least get your viewers sucked into your “brilliant” new show before you inundate us with all the other ways you want to make money. Arrogant bastards!

  17. Another example of taking a great book and turning it into a bad movie. Everything I loved about the book is missing from the movie (including some important characters!). Junior slept with dead bodies in the book. In this sterile version, he keeps a girl prisoner (oh stop you’re frightening me!). Avoid this piece of garbage like a contagion!

  18. Evidently I didn’t record the premiere that was on last night. My channel guide says it will be on again on June 30. Is that true? It ha the title “Pilot” and looks like it will be the same. Does anyone know?

  19. not sure about this. theres quite a bit of difference already, and its only the first episode.

  20. Just finished reading the book before the television series started. ( to be all caught up ) Big mistake. Nothing remains the same. Even the main character “Barbie” has totally changed. After watching the show I can only count one or two things that matched the book. Sure they have “poetic” license to change things, but to change almost everything just does not do the book or the name justice. I think if this drags out to a multi-year series it will be a terrible. Is there even a preacher in this story?

  21. Wow. Nothing like the book. I thought Big Jim was suppose to be BIG Jim? I always pictured John Goodman type actor. In the shot at the dealership he is the smallest of all three looking at the air plane smudge. Junior comes across as a Jealous boyfriend. Not a freak that talks (among other things) with corpses. And Barbie? Don’t know what to think of the changes there. The TV show basically neutered all the main characters. I will still watch as its the Summer, what else is there to watch. Just have to see if the changes are good or bad.

  22. Okay let’S all get over that it’s not like the book. SK warned that it would not follow the book. I thought the first episode was really good and look forward to seeing how these changes take place. Like what is the deal with Barby? Is he gonna be a good guy or a bad guy?

  23. Hey…What about that cow!?!?!

  24. Da hell! This is totally not line in the book. Why did they ruined Barbie character so terribly? Big Jim, are you kidding? His voice is terrible. He doesn’t look big at all. Junior? Burn in hell CBS. Hope you’ll take your **** money in there with you. Why does such a great story must be ruined so badly? The plot is already predictable. Barbie is a bad guy, but in the end he has sex with the reporter who is 40 years old, but looks like 25, and saves them all turning into superman. Typical trashy hollywood story. hate you, not because you bring more trash in this world, but because you ruined the chance someone will make proper adaptation ever.

  25. No!! SK needs to stay away from TV. Just boringly awful.

  26. I have mostly enjoyed the first 2 episodes. There are some minor annoyances, such as the Junior and Angie drama and the stupid Reverend which I talk about on my site

  27. Having read the book after seeing a few episodes of the TV version I became completely disappointed in the TV presentation. There seemed to be no attempt to follow the story either in the presentation of the characters or the roll they play in the TV version of the story. I found myself beiing totally distracted by comparing the two versions but stayed with the story just to see where it was going. I was very much disappointed in the books ending and wanted to see if TV could do better. Instead, it did worse — it didn’t end the story. I am not a regular watcher of TV stories because they are so repetetious, predictable and tied into being socialbly correct and feel no anticipation of another year of just another junky story.