I read Stephen King's Under the Dome a couple weeks ago, in a holiday-weekend binge-read that had up me up until 3 am a few times. The book is too long and for a good 200 pages made me feel so terrible about humanity that I didn't want to keep reading; also, I found it distracting how often characters wet themselves. (Like, OFTEN.) But overall I enjoyed it, though it's hardly King's best.
A TV adaptation of the book debuted last night, produced by King, Stephen Spielberg, and Neal Baer and adapted by Y: The Last Man/Lost writer Brian K. Vaughan. (Fun fact, one of the kids in the novel is described as a Brian K. Vaughn fan.)
It was a hard episode to get excited about, particularly with the book fresh in my mind. No one peed themselves, first of all; second, the pilot threw a ton of characters at us with a ton of different agendas, all of which distracted from the way bigger deal that a town was just mysteriously encased in a giant dome.
Ultimately, of course, the interesting stuff will be less the mystery of the dome itself than in how this small Maine town reacts as resources dwindle, and people stop being polite and start getting real. (I wonder if the TV show will keep the on-the-nose moment in the novel where a kid compares the situation to Lord of the Flies. Probably, given that the power-hungry selectman was shown reading a Churchill biography in the first episode.) But when it first crashes down, the dome is pretty goddamn interesting, and it got strangely short shrift in last night's episode, aside from the excellent image of the dome bisecting a cow.
I'll give it one more episode, though, because I like King and Vaughan so much. And because I'm curious to see if necrophilia made it into the TV adaptation.
After the jump, a look at some of the ways the book differed from the first episode. It gets spoilery, so watch out.
-Barbie killed the journalist lady's husband? Okaaay. I liked him better when he was a sympathetic outsider and I could imagine him as handsome.
-As of yet, Junior is not fucking dead girls in a pantry. Perhaps he'll be keeping live girls in the storm cellar instead? Also, he's too handsome and looks like bizarro Andy Samberg.
-The biracial lesbian couple with the sassy teenaged daughter were pretty much added for the benefit of people like me. I'm okay with it.
-In the TV show, adorable hipsters run a quirky indie radio station. In the book, a psychotic, delusional meth head runs a religious radio station. Point: book. I imagine the show will go easier on Christianity than the book does.
-Duke is apparently implicated in, or at least aware of, the town's meth-making scandal. Boo.