Under the Dome Series Premiere Review: Dome, Sweet Dome

Under the Dome S01E01: "Pilot"

Note: I haven't read the book, so there will be no book comparisons within.

As the major broadcast networks realize that their television model is quickly becoming dust thanks to the rise of whippersnapper cable, there are two areas that they know need immediate work: the length of a typical 22-episode season and the annual summer ratings drought. CBS is addressing both of these issues with its new summer series Under the Dome, a 13-episode dramatic adaptation of Stephen King's novel of the same name that the network hopes will unslump its summer and help it nab some of that cool cable crowd. Considering the dearth of other interesting network summer fare, one would think the series wouldn't even have to be that good to be deemed a successful model for the future. But we won't get to find that out, because Under the Dome is just good enough to be called good, and it may be even better that.

In case you didn't figure out the complex plot from the pilot, a giant friggin' impenetrable force-dome goes kerplunk over the small town of Chester's Mill, trapping its citizens inside like some red velvet cupcakes on display at a pastry shop. If you're asking yourself, "Like, what is the dome and where did it come from, dude!?" Congrats! You are asking the right question.

But we've posed similar queries before. "What is the event, bro?" "What the f*** are these flashforwards, man?" "Why are old prisoners from 1950s Alcatraz killing people today, Jorge Garcia?" But something tells me that "What's the dome?!" will give us a better answer, and there are two reasons for that. First, and most importantly, a tighter 13-episode season will mean less filler and fewer distractions from the question at hand. A lot of times, mystery-based sci-fi series will know their mystery and not much else, resulting in a scrambled mess of clues, flimsy characters, and poor choices. Second, Stephen King. I mean, the guy is supposedly pretty good at this storytelling thing, right?

However, CBS is pondering stretching out Under the Dome out for multiple seasons, which means it may ultimately face the same troubles as the Big Question Series that came before it. When do you answer the question? Are the side stories good enough to keep the series going? Do we care about anything other than the dome? Lately, TV networks have been showing a greater interest in "limited-run events," or miniseries, as regular folks call 'em, and Under the Dome probably should probably be one of them. Show us a dome and the ensuing freakout, tell us some stories, tell us where the dome came from, thank you, goodnight. Of course, the reality of the situation is that we won't know if Under the Dome will be able to sustain a lengthy run until we've seen a few episodes. But history has taught us to be weary. Very weary.

Okay, enough about the boring prognosticating on what the show could or should be, let's live in the here and now, talk about what happened, and get on with this review business. I'm not going to call Under the Dome excellent or anything, but I sure enjoyed watching the premiere for what it was. I'm a sucker for domes, I guess, and all that comes with them. Planes crashing into an invisible dome, birds snapping their hollow-bone necks by slamming into an invisible dome, and a poor cow getting bisected by an invisible dome were all very cool. And from the pilot, it appears the show knows exactly what it wants to be: a forward-moving, no-nonsense drama about a town imprisoned by a magical barrier. So far, so good.

Producers Brian K. Vaughn (Lost) and Neal Baer (ER) are confident that viewers will get sucked into the lives of the people under the dome just as much as they'll be sucked into the mystery of the dome itself. (They also plan to approach Under the Dome the same way The Walking Dead handled its comic-book source, by veering off the path with new mysteries that weren't in the book while still staying somewhat close to the source material.) And they certainly didn't waste any time with characters in the pilot. Even though it checked in with plenty of people, every member of the ensemble cast was well-served in the first hour, and the pilot did a good job of clearly laying them out as King-character archetypes. Barbie (Mike Vogel) is the mysterious outsider. Julia (Rachelle Lafevre) is the inquisitive journalist. Big Jim (Dean Norris) is the shady politician and part-time car salesman. Duke (Jeff Fahey) is the well-meaning police chief, and so on. The episode didn't give us much to discuss about them for now, but they all have dark secrets, and that's what is going to make this show work (if it does).

However, I'm not expecting these people to be defined by much more than their roles in the town and the secrets they hide. But that should be fine for Under the Dome, which shouldn't strive to be much more than competent, distraction television for the summer months. Anything beyond that is a bonus. (Under the Dome was originally set up at Showtime, which passed it on to parent network CBS probably because it wasn't up to their standards.)

One thing that surprised me about the pilot was how quickly it rushed into non-dome-related stories in the second half. Non-dome-related stories in a show about a dome? What? Angie (Britt Robertson) got kidnapped by Junior (newcomer Alexander Koch) and shoved into a fallout shelter? Excuse me, but that has nothing to do with the dome. Big Jim and Duke bickered over the mass shipments of propane? Ummm, there's a big dome over your town, the morality of gas hoarding can wait! Barbie murdered Julia's husband? Okay, that's pretty interesting, especially since those two are totally going to do it. But still, DOME DOME DOME. Maybe it's just me, but I think the power of the dome's initial impact could have been extended a bit longer and the essentials of the horrific situation fleshed out in more detail while Junior the Sicko's psychopathic obsession with Angie was put off for another day.

And that's my biggest complaint about the pilot: The tone was inconsistent between the first and second halves. So I'm about to spend more time talking about it than I should. After sufficiently establishing itself as a summer escape in the first half of its premiere, Under the Dome's second-half stories made the episode feel like a television show slowly building out its television-ness, rather than an immersive, cataclysmic event. Yes, of course it's a TV show and it has to follow a TV structure, but the more the audience is aware that they're watching a TV show, the worse of a job that TV show is doing at keeping viewers in its sci-fi concept. It's awfully difficult to pull off, but the first half of Under the Dome's pilot did it well.

It was in the second half of the episode that some Chester's Mill residents suddenly got comfortable with their new roof while we, the audience, were still in awe. Even today's stupidest high schoolers wouldn't hold a red-cup party if their town had just been transformed into a snowglobe, right? Am I overestimating the intelligence of high schoolers again? Junior's menacing spying and jealous rage over Angie talking to Barbie felt off. I don't care how mentally unstable Junior is, there's a huge dome overhead! Big Jim, who just a few scenes earlier was breaking into a radio station with an urgent dome-related emergency broadcast, put that panic aside to talk about gas with Duke. Shady gas dealings are the least of your concerns, guys. And Julia addressed her husband's infidelity and showed off some pictures to Barbie instead of running around with her arms over her head screaming, "There's a dome over our heads! We're all going to die!" It would be one thing if these people were on the other side of the country, but they're right in the epicenter of what show scientists called "an unparalleled event in human history." I guess what I'm saying is, it felt a little too soon to care about the kidnapping of a girl I barely know when I'd much rather be figuring out whether it was aliens who dropped the dome over the town.

The last third of the pilot aimed to build the future of the series by opening up a few boxes of mystery, but in doing so, it created a disconnect between "Holy sh*t there's a dome over our heads!" and hitting obvious television plot points. The later scenes were either exclusively about dome panic or about building character relationships, when they should have been about both. One thing we television viewers like to do is put ourselves in the shoes of the characters on the screen, and if we behaved like some of these characters we'd all be domed. I mean dOOmed!

Aside from that minor quibble which I expanded into about four paragraphs (sorry) and which will probably be a thing of the past once Episode 2 airs, I think we're looking at a pretty decent series here. Under the Dome appears to have a really solid foundation, not to mention a sense of direction—a rarity in these Big Question Series. I may think the side stories in the pilot were ill-timed, but that doesn't mean they aren't interesting and won't pay big dividends once our dome infatuation wears off and we realize that the big questions won't be answered anytime soon. This is what Stephen King does best, keeping his audience just eager enough to start the next chapter, no questions asked.

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ADDEN-DOMES

– Why didn't we see clearly outlined organs in the bisected cow? I wanted to see cow organs! The cow innards looked like a bunch of bloody ground beef. Does the Dome cauterize what it touches? I didn't notice any heat damage elsewhere, but it does seem to give off some type of energy, as evidenced by the static-like shock to the touch.

– Was the opening with the bird and the hatching egg a poor attempt at artistic metaphor or was it actually something important?

– Okay, so what's up with these epileptic teens? Did anyone catch what they were saying exactly? With all the foam gurgling out of their traps, all I caught was, "The stars are falling in lines..."

– Poor Jeff Fahey! I had figured his Duke character would at least make it out of the pilot, but I'm guessing that he really needed the malfunctioning pacemaker that jumped out of his chest in the final moments of the episode. That's good news for Big Jim, though, as whatever gaseous secret he's hiding will stay shrouded, now that Duke is dead. My guess: Big Jim got Homeland's Abu Nazir to hack into Duke's wifi-enabled pacemaker and send it on the fritz.

– The original cut of the pilot ended with President Obama talking about domes—a nice touch. But producers decided to pull the POTUS's chit-chat before the official broadcast because the real-life audio came from a speech about Hurricane Sandy, and they didn't want to use it in this fictional sense.

Please comment responsibly and do not include spoilers from the book. Thank you, the Management.

Comments (337)
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On the 3 questions that Tim posed:
this is what I reckon from watching the pilot-
-the epileptic teens and what they muttered is related to the dome somehow - they have some kind of connection to the dome.
-the mass storage of propane hints that it was known by an elite group of people that the dome would be erected. which will direct us towards who did it and why.
-an explanation for psycho Junior is that he somehow has insight about this dome's story (why, how, what,when and who). before the dome appeared he said he was quitting school; the dome then cut him off from getting to school, so he must have known. he later said that he is the only one who understands whats going on. and the event of this dome may well have just brought about his psycho tendencies, as any catastrophic or armageddon-like event does to some people.
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I found a very good, romantic show that should keep us until Season 2 of Under The Dome.

Beauty and the Beast': Jay Ryan and Kristin Kreuk talk Season 2 romance in 'Kidnapped. I love it, its worth your time.

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Read the book... I have to agree, pilot could have been made entirely about the dome. So many deviations in the TV version, although it almost feels like some of the changes made were simply to avoid needing any more makeup or special effect techs.
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I'm glad Tim is reviewing this!!!
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Ok, I'm interested. I hope it's aliens! I always hope it's aliens. I like most of the characters, I like bisected cows, and there seems to be plenty of character stuff to go around. Good stuff! I hope they keep it as a miniseries, though. No need to ruin a good thing.

My only complaint is the serial killer kid. Ewww, why do I have to watch this creepy kidnapping junk?? I don't watch crap like Criminal Minds for a reason. Et tu, Under the Dome? Don't hurt Cassie!!! Also, I really really really want Junior to die. Like, a lot. Like, next episode please. I wonder if the dome fried his brain like it did Duke's pacemaker? I don't care, just go away.
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I was looking forward to seeing everyone as described in the book. They changed so many things about the story line I wonder if it will even be the same plot. Big Jim, he is not fat in the show, no beady eyes and hell they didnt even give him a black hummer, how hard is that. I'm a little bitter but I'm still going to watch the whole series because excused myself from a lot of "family time" in my house to finish this book before the series aired. Joe & Angie brother and sister, REALLY ? Barbie has killed Julia's "husband", REALLY ? Phil Bushey is the radio DJ, REALLY? Last but not least Duke Perkins knows about the Propane scandal Big Jim has going on, REALLY? ok off to watch EP 2.
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So far so good. I just think Steven king loves his birds. Can't wait for the next episode to air (hopefully Jr gets a good smack by barbie)
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stephen king said there'd be a second season and he'll write an episode :( no need for a second season if you do the first one right but i guess money is money

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kIGXROIewV8#at=316
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The book is over 1500 pages long. It needs to be longer than 13 episodes to be any good. :)
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Finally watched this.

Not bad, not bad at all. I hope they keep it as the original 13 ep run though. It doesn't seem like a multi-season story.

Looking forward to next week's ep.
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I thought it was extremely disappointing, and I am not sure about continuing with it.

The lack of concern for the dome was ridiculous. It's not just bad story-telling, it's missing story-telling.

I can not imagine why the writers wanted to make the dome such an insignificant event for the characters, buried under other sudden problems. The dome was why everyone was watching this show in the first place. Next episode will be a lot less viewers.

It was like a series with a great premise had started, and then someone started flicking between channels, occasionally back to this, but in the end ruined it.
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I wonder at what point the dome people gonna start trying to dig!
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I sincerely hope that they end the run at 13 episodes. I won't divulge details, but I'm thinking a long, drawn out multi-season arc would just not work at all for this story. I don't see anyone sticking around long enough or caring beyond a full season. As for the pacing, the book seemed to run at breakneck pace throughout and that is coming through strong and clear in the show...whether or not that's a good thing for tv remains to be seen. But, so far so good. :D
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I completely understand why networks have stayed away from summer limited-run series. All the talent has fall commitments and this is what is left. Ah, Tim, maybe you would have seen shock and horror, if the actors were better.
Admittedly, I have high hopes for Under the Dome; it might mark a starting point for smarter network television. It was nice to watch some of King's trademark spookiness peek through; but I am going to need so Much more.
The pacing is sooo bizarre; I suppose we r2 slow 2 stick around unless everything unfolds all at once. The pilot was like staring at a Christmas tree decorated for every holiday.
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Okay, we have a giant impenetrable dome over our small town of Chester's Mill. It defies any technology we are aware of, short of science fiction, and makes Star Trek seem real. The military is gathering outside and we can't hear them--YIKES. This would be quite sobering if it happened to you and nefarious thoughts would be out of the question unless you were extremely self-absorbed or just batshit crazy. Just sayin'...
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Sorry, I left out invisible...
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I read the book so I'm not going to give any spoilers away....BUT
1. It's actually going a bit too fast and for this reason it seemed superficial and stilted at times....Like you said we haven't invested any feelings in these characters yet to care about who dies or who is kidnapped .... not so in the book, where you get to learn more about who is what before the events start to take place...and right off the bat they've changed a whole bunch of details on the TV show....
2. Junior in the TV show does not do justice to the Junior in the book...at least not yet...
3. The people of Chester's Mill don't realize right away in like 15 seconds, that this a dome and that they are completely trapped...nor does the army show up in like 2 minutes.
4. The teens are having seizures because they are catching glimpses of the future.....
5. Also I have to add that the book was more about what people do and how they behave and react when trapped together with dwindling and limited resources....not directly about the dome itself....although the military will be doing what they can to get the dome off...
6. I'm going to give this a 4 episode try and if it's still this stilted and superficial then I'll go read the book again :)
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Are your retarded? I just read 4th...
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I vote for douche...
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#4 is a blatant spoiler.
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Too true...
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I have read the book, and there is way too much filler in it. I think by making it shorter and adding a few interesting plotlines, the show could be a winner.

I have news for the author of this article, though - it is mostly a story about how people react to a harrowing situation and less about the dome itself. This is something that it has in common with LOST, which managed to give enough island mystery to keep people interested in the character stories. The music, editing, and direction made it obvious to me that a number of LOST alums are involved in this show (Vaughn, Bender) and this may have something to do with it.
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But Lost tanked it epically in the end making all that went before irrelevant. And the book wasn't that good...
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I don't understand why they didn't not try to dig under the dome since it seem to have landed on the ground (there is a line on the ground that marks the dome borders which means the dome is resting on the ground like an upside down giant invisible glass).
That is the first thing I do dig a big hole and create a tunnel under the dome.
I know It is a TV show and they have to make it last a few episode at list but I hope we see them at least try in the upcoming episodes
The other things that bother me is where are Angie and her brother parents.The father could be in the big track the crushed but her mother should rush to get back to see her kids
Lastly killing of Duke (Jeff Fahey) really ? the most recognizable actor on the first episode big mistake
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Could be a sphere, continues under ground.
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Give it some time. The book tried a number of ways to defeat the dome, and I would expect the show's writers to address this - there are a huge number of military, scientists, press, etc. assembling by the end of the pilot.
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I thought the same - check the edge, then start digging.
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If I get trapped under a giant invisible, impenetrable dome, I want you and your shovel along. It could get quite amusing and take my mind off the real problem--which is, I'm probably going to die at the hands (paws, claws) of beings smarter than me...
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Hey listen, until someone tells me the damn thing is also submerged in the ground a few hundred feet, I'm happy to be a mole if it means I get loose and don't have to suffer the 'Lord of the Flies' in adult form - I would much rather someone *else* be 'piggy'......
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Yeah, and wouldn't you feel stupid if you could dig under and didn't try. I get it. It's been my experience, however, that creatures who put giant invisible domes over you think of stuff like that. I know Stephen King does ;-)
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I really enjoyed the episode, and on the point of non dome storylines, I think that it is good, the Dome is forcing these things to light! If they concentrated on the dome the whole time I think that after 4 episodes all we would think was these characters are way too boring to be people.
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But history has taught us to be weary. Very weary.
This is the third time tonight I've seen an author on this site use the word weary, and I'm not sure if its being used properly.
wear·y
/ˈwi(ə)rē/
Adjective
Feeling or showing tiredness, esp. as a result of excessive exertion or lack of sleep.

war·y
Adjective
Feeling or showing caution about possible dangers or problems: "dogs are often wary of strangers".
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Why would you invite someone into your home that you don't know. And start the tour of your home upstairs where there are only bedrooms.
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I thought it was an excellent pilot especially for a network show they went where many network shows won't go. I haven't read the book so for me it will be funny to figure out what is going on there. I have my suspicions "who" is responsible for that but even if I am right I still don't know how he pulled it off. I like it!
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On the nose review, Tim. Maybe it's a product of having way to much to address in only 13 episodes, but you're absolutely right - they rushed right past the natural shock and awe reactions that I would have liked to have seen to get to the crazy side tangent plots. Also, the weirdly acted "the stars are falling, the stars are falling in lines" seizures pulled me out of the show a bit. Hoping for more like the first half of the pilot.
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I have to agree with your sentiment that the residents of Chester's Mill had a very muted and short-lived reaction to the appearance of the dome. I've been doing the rounds on other sites and this has been mentioned several times by bloggers and commenters. There was so much potential for a riveting opening act. But alas, it was squandered.

Having read the book (and not to give away any potential spoilers), I was really disappointed. A lot of the nuance and gruesomeness that was in the original was missing from the pilot. A lot of Stephen's storytelling is meant to make you squirm, but this adaptation is a highly antiseptic version that bears little resemblance to the original and thus lacks the stuff that makes it such a compelling read.

Boohoo.
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I thought it was a pretty faithful pilot, with the exception of changing the backstory and personalities of a few characters.
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When I was watching my friend and I were trying to plausibly explain why there was wind inside the dome - I think it's possible but not for very long.

The really important question is whether it's a dome or a sphere. The way in which the dome appeared gives a little clue to this as it seemed that the dome 'fell' to earth with a thud. That makes it less likely to be a sphere, although if that's the case then why aren't they digging already, I know I would be.
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The "thud" could also have been from the ground shifting up 1cm (or however thick the wall is) as the dome wrapped around the bottom

As for wind... they probably wanted to film outside in a lot of scenes instead of green screen and you can't really avoid the wind outside in real-life. ... (removed probable spoilers)
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Possible, but I think that's less likely as the series of events was: cow gets bisected, thud sound, dirt around the dome is thrown up into the air (I double-checked this sequence). My money's still on a sphere (otherwise the show wouldn't make much sense) and that's not ruled out by the series of events but it does look like the top 'hemisphere' did fall down from the sky and hit the ground.
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100% agreement from me. The series begins chez moi with an 81% interest rate, that's at least 1% more than most after a first episode. Where did the plane crash, by the way? Wouldn't it have been outside the dome? Did it? Or was it already flying when the dome appeared and caught?
Great plot element with the lady whose husband was killed by her overnight house guest who it was obvious she was into from the initial scene.
Girl in shelter, naw, get her out quick, too much tension. But wait, it's the councilman's son? Oh, cool!
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Erm... so far it is a 6/10 in my rating system let's see what happens.
Now regarding your question about the teenagers: no radio, no cell, no TV no online games I guess... I'd be going up the wall... but maybe this generation of teenagers are move evolved or... completely brainless... at this point difficult to tell!
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Great review Tim! I was totally into it from the first few minutes which I thought were very well paced to create immediate interest. I thought there was a certain feel of Lost and also Twin Peaks

I think Junior is connected to the Dome or at least there is something off about him (beyond excessive possessiveness over the girl from The Secret Circle - nice upgrade Britt!) if I am not reading wrong some small signs in the premiere:
- The most obvious is that he was outside the dome while Angie was chatting with the Barbie guy (and he couldn't hear them which made him obviously jealous) and then we saw him inside the Dome so he can move between the inside and the outside of the dome - I am going to be disappointed if he simply has a tunnel
- Big Jim who is his dad seemed really wary of him when he was hugging him at the end... Beyond the usual 'we're men, we do not hug' awkwardness
- When Angie told him to go back to college, he said something about her being the only one who knows him in the whole world or something which beyond teenage angst sounded like he's hiding something and I do not think it's just that he's a psycho
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I haven't made it through to the second episode on a CBS show since "Swingtown". Very nice to have two 'Swingtown' vets in the cast in Ms. Robertson and Ms. Lefevre. This cast was actually better than I expected. I've loved Samantha Mathis since she first appeared in Christian Slater's movie 'Pump Up the Volume' and pairing her with Aisha Hinds (From canceled 'Cult' to this in the same season - Nice Job!) as her wife was great. This couple is bound to get attention as they are non-book characters from what I've read. As someone with juvenile diabetes I am fascinated by story. How long before Mathis's character runs out of insulin in the dome?

It may have given too much away and it may have been television convenience that we already know who Barbie's victim was but that reveal still worked pretty damn well. So I'll let it go. Mike Vogel is someone who always makes his characters work so I'm anxious to see what he does with a lead role.

This movie had B-movie royalty in Jeff Fahey and hopefully he'll be in a lot of people's memories. That story, the story of policing under the dome - has endless possibilities now and the girl with her husband on the other side I have no doubt should become one of the greatest characters in this tale. In one fell swoop she's lost 2 pretty important men in her life.

Anxious to see where this is headed. I guess because its a summer show I'll try to slide past the psycho boyfried plot. Plus that young actor did mentally unhinged pretty well. When he grabbed Brit after she gave him the ''we had a fun summer' brush off; the 180 was unexpected and it worked.

Wow I'm watching CBS again; if there is a hell someone is ice skating.
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Under The Dome premiered in Australia just a little while after it did in the US, which is great cause our winter is infinitely more boring while the US has summer break. I'd been waiting for this one. Usually I cheat and watch it early, but I thought, "why not watch it with the family?"
In short- It was awkward... till the cow, my dad thoroughly enjoyed the cow part. Then my sister came home halfway through and had to be convinced that: no, the guy isn't a loner or misunderstood, he's an overly attached psycho.
Definitely giving second episode a go.
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It's likely already been said, but the opening bit with the bird seems like a shout-out to fellow "small town, weird sh*t" show Twin Peaks
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I didn't have any real complaints about the pilot. It did feel a lot like a TV show - I know, a silly thing to say, but other shows like Game Of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, manage to pull off the "TV show that feels like a long movie" thing really well. UTD fell a little short in the same way that King adaptations always do, but it is helped on its way by some good acting and a lack of dwelling on lines and scenes that could become more problematic.

As a big fan of the book, I went into the pilot expecting the ubiquitous "re-imagining" trope in full effect rather than actual adaptation - and I was right to. Massive differences in character from scene 1 and really only touching on the overall premise of the book for the setup of what I hope becomes the character exploration thriller that the book is.

I agree that certain plot points have really been rushed into in the pilot and not nearly enough time has been spent on the more interesting aspects of the book's opening chapters - the reactions to the dome, the exploration of it's borders and so on.

In response to criticism of Junior's craziness, I'd say yeah, it was rushed into the pilot, but hang in there. If the show follows that character arc closely from the book, it'll be some really disturbing TV.

In summary, the pilot is over-egged a bit - literally in that pretentious opening shot - but enjoyable and interesting enough for the book fans to keep tuning in.

I only wonder whether the main mystery of the dome's origin will be changed from the book, as (without giving anything spoilerey away) a lot of people's initial guess based on the pilot is exactly right. I think the book does a hugely better job of making the dome itself mysterious and explores many possible origins, leaving you unsure up to the reveal. The show ... not so much.
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I thought it was a pretty good adaptation so far, although they changed a few backstories. We'll see what happens with Baaarbie's buried body.

The book had a huge cast of characters, most of which were redundant (i.e. Junior's buddies) and could probably be combined. They did a good job of hitting many of the major plot points that will probably continue throughout the season/show.
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there is nothing to dislike about this show, so stay tuned and enjoy the show.
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Ok...i watched it last night and i love it...!!
First it was very cool to see how the dome appeared and with the cow...somehow it was awesome...
i had to say it was a switch to get the learn the characters a bit...sotrylines were poured out so quickly....like Angie and Junior...why the hell would he kidnap her etc etc...too much...i want to focus on the Dome....

To answer some qusetions above: I think some of the youth or grown ups, don't realize the impact yet. They understand what is going on, but don't understand it fully to get panicky...
But i cannot wait, till that happens and whole town is in panic and angry and scared...because mostly in those cases, the true person comes out the the people and they show their true faces....but i hope they don't make it like it is all about the people only...but a lot also about the Dome...

I am going to watch this for sure...!!!
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I guess the story isn´t so much about the dome, it´s just a catalysator for what will happen. It is about how people will react to the situation. What will happen to society, when suddenly there is no regulation or law. Who will people turn to, what are they willing to do ?
The TV Show will be about the abyss in the souls of humans, that´s only shown in the worst of times.
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Tim, your analysis of the 1st and 2nd halves is downright excellent. I did wonder the same, but to be honest the awe factor didn't quite let me get distracted too much by those writing problems. Hopefully, the rest of the series can be more consistent.

It's getting about the time of the year that I start picking up on past/current foreign tv series. If one thing I like about British and Korean tv, is that many of their tv shows have more of an 1 season series approach, with a conclusion by season's end... I wish we could see more of that for shows with niche audiences in the U.S, instead of being served with constant cliffhangers like we've come to expect for shows like this.
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Tim. Just read your news brief: "CBS's Under the Dome is a bigger summer hit than sunburn! The series premiere of the supernatural drama drew in a hefty 13.14 million viewers"....

So much for my theory of "niche audiences"! Now, I think the numbers will drop way down, but 13 million viewers, premiere or not, is crazyyy!
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the behavior of the citizents is very normal for the first stage. its normal that in the first day people will think that its all temporarily and dont fully grasp the all impact of the situation. The normal thing is to concern about their life and deny everything else.
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This wasn't the unmitigated disaster I was fearing, but hey, it ain't exactly Game of Thrones, either. I think I'll carry on viewing, however, as I love the book and I reckon this is the only way my wife and I can ever enjoy it together as I can't foresee talking her into reading a 1074 page Stephen King tome any time soon are slim.

One unexpected complaint: the score is incredibly cheesy, sounds like early 90s Outer Limits material.

Finally, this one's for Tim: as between this series and GOT book spoilers are a constant concern and source of annoyance for both reviewer and commenters, might I humby suggest the creation of two comment threads, one for those who have read the novel and one for those who are just watching the show? I for one would appreciate the opportunity to compare and contrast the two without ruining anything for others. Just a thought.
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I just hope they don't go too far with the woman-prisoner-in-the-basement storyline. There have been several real-life cases of similar stories (the Fritzen case in Austria is the first that comes to mind) and that's too creepy to make good entertainment. We all know a situation like that may last years of living hell for the poor woman (even though they don't have years under the dome...), so, no, I don't like that. Even though I didn't like that girl from the start, and don't really care for the character.

The propane conspiracy... I wonder, is Hank Hill somehow involved?

If I were them I'd start burying half-cows, dead birds, and all the other bodies because soon the inside of the dome is going to stink. Bury them very deep. Not that it'll make too much of a difference in the long run, but it'll buy them time. In fact, I could already see some claustrophobic people panicking saying they cannot breathe...

Speaking of digging, sooner of later I guess they'll try escaping through an underground tunnel. My guess is that they won't succeed, and find the barrier goes way deep. In that case will the series be renamed "Inside the Sphere"?

All in all, I'm very interested in what happens next.
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"I didn't like that girl from the start"

That's an interesting point. The way she dismissed the soon-to-turn-psycho boyfriend made her pretty unlikeable. Not so unlikeable that she deserves to get locked up in a dungeon, but enough to make us care less about her. It seems like it would have made more sense to make her likeable, so that we would care more about that story.

I agree that it's going to turn out to be a sphere.

Good point about the dead things. They should also stop using their cars, and everything else that burns stuff.
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Yes, you summarized my initial (negative) feelings for her very well, which was also thanks to the fact I'm not a Britt Robertson fan and never saw the Secret Dome, I mean, Circle. Yet, the cases of Elizabeth Fritzl, Natasha Kampusch, and Jaycee Lee Dugard, to name a few, make this a very nasty and delicate subject for a show made for entertainment, like school shootings, for instance. Even though the story line must be part of the book and King must've written it before these cases became famous.
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I'm glad I read the comments before posting my thought (and yours) about the "sphere". A dome is a 1/2 circle so you should be able to dig under it. If you can't dig under it then it sounds more like a sphere
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Depends on how far down the dome goes...
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good point
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Loved it. Agreed the second half was a little more tv-showish with the adding in of other drama, but overall I loved it and am excited for what the other 12 episodes hold.

An aside, my husband made a great point while we were watching - knowing ASL would come in handy at the border of the dome, communication would be simple! I mean, you'd still be in a dome, so there's that ....
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I really liked the pilot. Most of Stephen King's novel-to-tv adaptations have entertained me (Haven, The Stand, The Langoliers), so I'll be sticking with this one too.
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Haven is one of my very favorite shows, but it's ridiculous that it's considered "based" on the King short story. The two have virtually nothing in common other than Vince/Dave and mentioning The Colorado Kid. I always thought they just used his name to get people interested.
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Well, that's what got me interested. I read the story and it wasn't sucha much, but it was King so I took a gander. It's a great little show and nice to have on my schedule every year...
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But unlike others, it seems CBS may hope to keep this going however long they can, which will lead to writing away from the ending instead of writing towards it. You knew how long the Langoliers and The Stand would be before even watching; it's tougher to have confidence when CBS is 'threatening' to not end it and bring it back next summer. This has got The Killing written all over it...
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Nice shout out to The Langoliers! Best 3 hour TV journey to nowhere I ever spent.
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It was good, wasn't it? I believe it was Stephen King's answer to a 1985 episode of The Twilight Zone called A Matter of Minutes.
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Besides the obvious, why isn't anybody digging under the "dome" question. Why hasn't anybody brought any paper and pens to the Dome border? A chalk board? White board? Etch-a-Sketch? Refrigerator magnets? That was ridiculous after the first pantomime routine.
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Give it time, people. The dome just came down and we have a lot of story to tell.
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For the summer drought, it'll do.

Haven't read King in some years (haven't read the Dome, don't spoil me bro!), but I see he hasn't become any less enamored with the unsubtly, unhinged sexual predator character. He's about as ubiquitous as the reticent, highly competent, dark-past having hero character. Junior isn't even hiding his full-crazy, even evil mustache twirling dad had a look like, "bitch youse crazy and I'm hugging you with a taser in my hand". You're in a dome, lock that crazy bitch up.

I like Barbie, who I will staunchly believe is named Barbara Allison Anita Kelly...because it amuses me, and Barbie's face. I like redheaded reporter. Ginger love. I'm less than interested in the inevitable Barbie/Ginge guilt infused dome-banging and faces of "is this love that I'm feeling?" intermixed with action sequences. No it shouldn't be love that you're feeling, he murdered your husband chick. Whatev. Summer. Bang-a-way.

I like the sassy waitress, candy-stripper. When she's not locked in a bunker. I like wee!Sam Winchester foaming at the mouth. I like lesbians moms and their epileptic prophesying daughter. And of course, I like the DOME, because why else would I be here.



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I definitely enjoyed the pilot. I thought the whole second half wasn't so dome related because the writers wanted to describe the panic and how people are reacting to their new lives post dome landing. It was a great reaction seeing as this girl now has to fend for herself and her brother.
I think the Junior Angie storyline was a bit of a stretch though and maybe show him deteriorating in metal stability over a longer period for dramatic effect, but thats one man's idea.
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teenage psycho really doesn't need to be there! Still I enjoyed it but I was thinking all the way through it how long can they make this last.
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I liked the pilot and will definitely be tuning in for some more dome-action! I haven't read the book and I'm soooo curious! I mean, it's a friggin' dome you know! Well, actually, you do know, you've littered your review with the word. What I'm trying to say is, I liked the episode. I'm intrigued. I think that Junior-guy is a complete nutcase and some people are doomed to have sex and then be ripped apart because of the killing-of-the-husband-arc, but I want to see "how" it all goes. Especially in a town which has a dome for a roof.
A DOME, you guys!
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I like this show already!
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This was a very good pilot! My first thought during the show was that this show is a combination of Jericho and Haven. It's a small town, presumably in Maine, with lots of "interesting" characters and shady dealings around town with sci-fi bits thrown in. But, there's also a small town locked in to it's borders where chaos will presumably ensue shortly when the town's residents and visitors turn on each other and begin stealing from each other and sleeping in the living room with shotguns pointed at the front door. The good news is that this show takes the best parts of both shows and puts them together. I will continue to watch.

"Even today's stupidest high schoolers wouldn't hold a red-cup party if their town had just been transformed into a snow globe, right? Am I overestimating the intelligence of high schoolers again?"= Yes Tim, you are. To the teenagers specifically, I think they would take advantage of any opportunity to have a party, with probable underage drinking, in public because the potential police response or any other form of getting into trouble would be pretty much zero. With that being said I think the majority of people haven't realized the full impact of what living in a dome means yet. Nothing has really hit them yet about things they can and cannot do or what will happen next, they just know they can't leave.

As for your qualm about the second half of the episode not really dealing with the dome at all goes, I would agree with that observation but it's not necessarily a bad thing. I assume there will be plenty of time for dome-related madness, insomnia, paranoia, etc. in the other episodes of this season. What this pilot really needed was to set up it's characters, conflicts, and plot lines for the rest of the "limited run" since they have much less time to do this than other shows.
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I can see where this is going to go. Another survival show. Running out of food, fuel, no electricity. Jericho revisited. That didn't turn out so well. This is not a CBS quality
show and will not last
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Jericho was a good show. Too bad CBS bailed.
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It was good.
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I loved this pilot, but I do agree it went into non-dome-related things a bit quickly; I did like the twist at the end though. I'm not sure what the dome is and I haven't read the books (don't want to spoil it for myself) - but this is Stephen King, it's probably something supernatural or moral-related, can't wait to find out!
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The Book itself is pretty big. It is only close to the end, when it is revealed what it is. But I can tell you, the Show is already different from the book, So maybe give it a try.
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