Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Help! I've Been Trapped Under The Dome!

I have a confession to make: I am a little bit (ok, extremely) behind on Mad Men this year.

(insert studio audience collective gasp)

Yes, I know, I should be reviewing Sunday’s season finale right now.  But for whatever reason, I just haven’t been able to get into the world of Sterling Cooper Draper Price lately.  Maybe it’s because Don seems like even more of a sack of garbage this season, or maybe I’m still re-adjusting to Elizabeth Moss’ American accent now that Top of the Lake is over.  All I know is, if it weren’t for the always welcome presence of Linda Cardellini, I might have given up after that super-boring, super-long season premiere back in April.  So while I’m sure I’ll be spending a rainy weekend in the future catching up with our friends from the 60’s, this week I’ll be focusing on something completely different…

…and diving into the pilot for Stephen King’s Under the Dome which premiered this past Monday on CBS. 

**SPOILER-ALERT…ALERT: It’s a little hard to review this show without giving some important parts away, so if you feel like checking out what’s going on under the dome yourself, definitely watch the pilot (available on before continuing with this review**

Having never read the book that this series was adapted from, I literally had no idea what to expect from this show, other than the fact that a small town gets trapped by an invisible dome that appears from out of nowhere.  Turns out, you don’t need to know much more than that to figure out if this show is for you or not.

As Kea, my friend and fellow Dome-prisoner for the evening, wisely noted, this show seems like it would be more at home on SyFy than on CBS for a few reasons:

1.       The premise is completely bananas-crazy
2.       The quality of the dialogue ranges from “Ok” to “WHO TALKS LIKE THAT?"

3.       There were some actual scream-inducing moments (and one image of a sliced-in-half cow that haunted my dreams last night)

4.       Despite all of this, I actually want to watch more…?

But let’s back up a bit.  Before the dome even enters the picture, the residents of Chester’s Mill clearly have some major issues.  We’ve got councilman “Big Jim” Rennie, (Dean Norris), who is doing something sketchy with a ton of propane, and his son, James (Alexander Koch), a college drop-out and former football star whose unrequited love for candy-striper, Angie (Britt Robinson) appears to have turned him into a sociopath.  Not to mention the fact that mystery-man “Barbie” (Mike Vogel) has apparently killed a guy who we later find out was the husband of local newspaper editor, Julia (Rachelle Leferve).  Getting a little overwhelmed?  That’s not even a third of the characters we have to keep track of in the first episode!  I tried really hard not to read other reviews about this, but I can assume that the ridiculous number of characters is going to be the biggest problem (aside from the seriously-it’s-that-bad dialogue) that most people are going to have with this show.

After the dome hits, things get all kinds of crazy.  There are some pretty bloody casualties (both cow and human) due to the dome literally slicing people in half, and low flying planes exploding when they hit the invisible force field.  Most of the town’s law enforcement, including the fire-fighting fiancĂ© of police officer Linda (Natalie Martinez), have been left on the outside of the dome, leaving Sheriff Duke (Jeff Fahey) in charge of handling this disaster.  That is, until the very end when touching the dome makes his pacemaker explode, killing him right as he’s about to tell us all about the corrupt things he’s been doing!  And why they have so much propane!  No!

In this episode alone, two teenagers have dome-induced seizures, James has kidnapped Angie and locked her in his Dad’s flooded fall-out shelter against her will (in a very scream-worthy scene), and it seems like Julia and Barbie are already poised to get romantically involved (she deduces that her husband was having an affair, but only we and Barbie know he’s also dead - BUT WHY??).  It’s a lot to take in, but Dome definitely has promise, mostly due to the fact that with so many burning questions introduced the first 42 minutes, it’s going to be hard not to check in with Chester’s Mill next week to get some answers.  This is one of those shows that I’ll be happy to give a second or even third try, but if the script doesn’t improve, go grab me a shovel because I’ll be digging myself out from Under the Dome. *

Under the Dome airs Mondays at 10PM on CBS
Oh no! Linda's going to have to find a new man in the dome...

Next week, let’s talk about Showtime shows! I’ll be looking at all of the great things the channel has to offer, including maybe taking a crack at the new show Ray Donovan (premiering June 30th at 10) but more likely talking about how great Nurse Jackie is!

*Why haven’t any of the characters suggested this? Digging under the dome would be my first escape idea, but it has literally not occurred to anyone in the entire town as of yet.  Maybe next week they’ll find some power tools and give it a shot?

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