Summer television viewing has just gotten a little more exciting as CBS has ordered straight to series the television adaptation of ‘Under the Dome’.
A straight to series order means that the project won’t have to go through the grueling process of having a pilot filmed then waiting to see if the networks will either pick it apart (e.g. ‘Powers’) or allow it to go forward as a series.
The show is based on Stephen King’s 2009 novel and has been widely acclaimed as one of King’s best alongside ‘The Stand.’ Just like ‘The Stand’, the 1,074 page novel contains a huge cast of characters and deals with humanity’s capability to choose between good and evil. The book centers on a small town in Maine that is suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by a gigantic, transparent dome leaving its residents to deal with these post-apocalyptic condition.
Here’s the official synopsis from Amazon:
On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when — or if — it will go away.
Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens — town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician’s assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing — even murder — to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn’t just short. It’s running out.
The series was written by Brian K. Vaughan (‘Y: The Last Man,’ ‘Lost’) who, from what is being said, has pretty much kept true to the novel. He has, however, introduced new characters as regulars and tweaked some details and backstory for some existing ones to fit a serial format. As for the much controversial ending, Vaughan has changed it in case ‘Under the Dome’ does well in the ratings and CBS decides to order a second season. King, who will also serve as executive producer on the show, has approved the Vaughan’s changes so fans can rest assure that the author himself is ensuring his works won’t be mangled.
‘Under the Dome’ has been in development for 3 years now where it was originally set to air as a cable series on Showtime. When Steven Spielberg (who is also an executive producer on the series) saw that the project was not moving forward while at Showtime, he asked CBS to release it so he can shop it to other networks. CBS felt strongly about ‘Under the Dome’ that they decided to keep it at. In addition, they brought in Neal Baer (‘A Gifted Man,’ ‘ER,’ ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’) to act as showrunner and Niels Arden Oplev (‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,’ ‘Unforgettable’) to direct the first episode.
“This is a great novel coming to the television screen with outstanding auspices and in-season production values to create a summer programming event,” said Nina Tassler, President of CBS Entertainment. “We’re excited to transport audiences ‘Under the Dome’ and into the extraordinary world that Stephen King has imagined.”
‘Under the Dome’ is expected to air this summer on CBS.