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The Summer(s) of Stephen King [Remote Control Freak]


When I was 18, I moved to a new city. After finding a job, the next thing I did was get a library card.

That summer I made it a point to read every single Stephen King book on the shelves (that I hadn’t already read).

It took me about a year, but I managed to do it, so you might say that I take Stephen King pretty seriously.

We won’t talk about how that next summer he got hit by a truck and lost all ability to write a good story. We won’t talk about that.

I guess we’ll have to because Under the Dome is one such story. It’s only fair to mention that if you haven’t read a Stephen King novel, but have watched the movies based on them – cut the guy a break.

His stories do not always translate well to screen. I was going to say they rarely have, but then I remember Carrie, Misery, The Running Man, The Green Mile, Stand By Me, The Shining, and my all time favorite, The Shawshank Redemption.

So ok, a good percentage of his books make good movies. Hell, even the miniseries IT was fantastic for a miniseries in the 90’s. And it’s a cult freaking classic.

But let’s not forget the absolute failures. Sleepwalkers, Maximum Overdrive, The Langoliers, Tommyknockers (which is my all time favorite of his novels).

Damn this guy is rich.


Ok so some of his books translate well and some don’t. Maybe the reason certain stories work is because they are based in character.

They look more at the people in the stories and their individual motivations from within – rather than crazy supernatural happenings that either can’t be explained, or are just plain weird.

The Shining and Carrie are examples of a little of both at play, but we all were far more fascinated with the people than whatever was driving them crazy. Admit it.

When you get into “other realm” territory on a grand scale, it always works so much better in our own imagination than it does on screen. At least when it comes to the crazy stuff Mr. King comes up with.

Under the Dome falls more into the category of the former. It is very character focused, though not yet character driven.

So far it falls victim to the one thing that Stephen King miniseries (and sometimes movies) usually fail from. Too much story to work into a short amount of time.

There are so many different back stories and focal characters that it’s hard to care about any one of them at this point. Or sometimes to even know or realize how they all come together.

Mix that with the dozens of suspicious things they were all up to – and it’s just too much story to shove into an hour long episode and still drive the plot forward.

Perhaps that’s a matter of direction, or screenwriting, or poor vision of the overall work. I don’t know because I never read the book.


There became a serious lack in quality writing since his brain injury back in 1999. I’ll give props to the guy, he just keeps going and going – but I think that’s more because he’s a writer and he can’t not write or he won’t know who he is anymore.

And people will continue to buy his books because he’s Stephen King. I won’t because I can’t suffer through another one of them in a hopeful attempt that one might actually be good. No offense Steve, love ya.

Not that reading the book in any way influences the watching of the show. If anything, it’s better to have not read it because it’s going to veer off course from the original framework at some point if it hasn’t already.

Look at Dexter and True Blood. It will have to in order to maintain any longevity. I think Dome was chosen simply because it’s a microcosm of our own society – of our own planet, and the fact that we cannot survive on this earth without making some serious changes.

Global Warming, the economy, a serious lack in resources that we are going to face at some point. I mean, it’s topical anyway.

Plus, it’s an interesting concept to take one book and make it into a series instead of using a series of books (though at over 1,000 pages one might argue it’s very much “like” a series).

Regardless of any of these things, it’s getting great ratings. It’s been called the anchor of CBS summer television.

It has Steven Spielberg as an Executive Producer, and is being written by Brian K. Vaughn who wrote on LOST.

It’s a total win/win if it can maintain its viewership.

It’s been two episodes and I kind of hate it. But it’s the King and I’m going to give it good shot before I call it quits.

I’m sure Steven Spielberg didn’t get hit by a truck, so there’s got to be potential here somewhere.