Under the Dome
TV Series Review
We all build up invisible barriers at times. We shut off our loved ones if we're in a foul mood. We close off conversation with an associate. We lock ourselves in little bubbles of our own making. In fact, entire families, churches and communities can become insular—resistant to those we might consider outsiders.
But the invisible barrier around Chester's Mill, Maine? Well, that's another thing entirely.
One bright, sunny, normal morning, a big invisible bubble covers the entire community of Chester's Mill. No one knows what caused it. No one knows how to make it go away. All anyone is sure of is that it's a big pain (especially for a particularly unfortunate cow that was in exactly the wrong place when the bubble descended). No one on the outside (including most of the town's policemen, firemen and civic leaders, who were away when the dome came down) can get in. And folks on the inside can't get out. It's as if someone put a horrific twist on that old Las Vegas marketing slogan: What happens in Chester's Mill stays in Chester's Mill.
That's unfortunate, because there's a lot of bad stuff happening in Chester's Mill right now—some caused by the dome itself, some by the duplicitous residents it surrounds. People have been murdered. Houses have been destroyed. A number of the townspeople have been stuck in Matrix-like cocoons for what seemed like a year to them, living totally different lives and becoming totally different people.
That dangerous and invisible barrier, meanwhile, seems to have a certain intelligence and morality connected to it, and as such it "encourages," shall we say, its tightly held hostages to see things through the same lens. It has chosen certain leaders to do its bidding. It has set "rules" in place. And woe to those that try to undermine its wishes ... not that some won't try.
Creepy, Salacious Thrills
Under the Dome, based on the novel by Stephen King, has snagged strong ratings and a smattering of critical praise. And the show is indeed everything that it's billed to be: a creepy, salacious summertime thrill ride. But while some TV critics have embraced words such as creepy and salacious with gusto, we should really be holding them a little farther away from our hearts.
The creepy part of the equation is the sheer number of potential sociopaths who were apparently trapped within that giant lid. It may not be as disturbing as The Following or Hannibal, but it's plenty dark and foreboding nonetheless.
That grim landscape is further pocked by sex, violence and gore. People and animals are grotesquely injured and killed. Characters have some pretty lewd sexual encounters (and some homosexual couples have wandered through at times, too). The early-on kidnapping sequence blends sex and violence. The language can be quite harsh. Drug use has also played a disquieting role.
A Troubled King-Dome
Under the Dome, as it trundles on through its third season, is deviating significantly from King's novel. But the horror author still serves as one of the show's producers, and Willa Paskin of salon.com observed that Under the Dome seems to be following the template used for many Stephen King adaptations—some of which she saw while growing up. She wrote, "For a teenager, these adaptations were perfectly illicit. Perverse, seedy and creepy, they had enough sex and violence to feel like something you didn't want to watch with your parents in the room, but weren't so mature as to be totally overwhelming."
That sounds about right. We'd add, of course, that parents should be in the room for this one—even if it's just long enough to turn the television off.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Mike Vogel as Dale 'Barbie' Barbara; Colin Ford as Joe McClatchey; Aisha Hinds as Carolyn Hill; Alexander Koch as Junior Rennie; Rachelle Lefevre as Julia Shumway; Natalie Martinez as Linda; Dean Norris as James 'Big Jim' Rennie; Jolene Purdy as Dodee; Britt Robertson as Angie McAlister; Nicholas Strong as Phil; Mackenzie Lintz as Norrie; John Elvis as Ben; Eddie Cahill as Sam Verdreaux; Karla Crome as Rebecca Pine; Kylie Bunbury as Eva Sinclair; Marg Helgenberger as Christine Price