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Quite possibly the best thing to come out of multiple streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon is the ability to binge watch programs to prepare for a new season, like Under the Dome and season two which will premiere on Monday June 30. Netflix is perhaps more attuned to this new pastime than Amazon but the second site is catching up fast.
This practice could be called the Breaking Bad syndrome since that AMC series seems to be the most “binge watched” program on the small screen. Still Heisenberg and Jesse fixations aside, this chance to see entire seasons of television shows back-to-back allows viewers to notice immediately when things aren’t working. Or, conversely, when they are.
Watching this adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, it is apparent that, like other translations of the writer’s work, things have been changed or character’s combined to allow the creative minds of the show’s producers to make their vision of the printed story.
Most fans of King’s book will not be overly happy to see this particular adaptation. The sheriff’s wife, in the book, has been morphed into his female deputy. This character was in the novel, but not in this capacity. Still this change has not affected the sequence of events too much.
Purists will also dislike the changes of other characters and the omission of even more. Other things are different as well. Certain plot threads have been changed completely and this will certainly change the outcome of the television show versus the book.
Binge Watching Under the Dome to prepare for its season two premiere also points out just what the television show does right regardless of plot changes. In terms of casting, the choice to have Dean Norris (there is another Breaking Bad connection) play James “Big Jim” Rennie, the power-mad town councillor, was perfection to the nth degree.
Norris has the ability to make the audience like him while distrusting him at the same time. Under the Dome allows this actor to show that his performance in the AMC chemistry teacher cum drug lord drama was not a fluke.
The casting of Mike Vogel as Dale “Barbie” Barbara is not so cut and dried. One reason may be the fact that show’s producers decided to make the character an “enforcer” who kills the reporter’s doctor husband in a fight over money owed for a gambling debt. At least that is how it seems so far.
The character in the book, a drifter who wanted to forget his military past and worked as the short-order cook in the town diner, was infinitely more likeable. This Barbie feels a little too dangerous and despite the military background in common with the literary version of the story’s protagonist, he is not the same.
Another mind bender is the fact that Junior Rennie kills Angie right off the bat in the written version of Under the Dome. If memory serves, the badly warped Junior also engages in some necrophiliac type activity with the decomposing Angie’s body. The fact that she’s been kept alive for so long is just another of the inexplicable changes made to the book.
Still, binge watching Under the Dome in preparation for the season two premiere on Monday, one thing is crystal clear. The show is entertaining despite the changes from the source material. The tale of a trapped town, despite the similarities to The Simpsons Movie, is compelling and hard to stop watching. The season two premiere starts on Monday June 30 on CBS. Get the popcorn ready.
By Michael Smith