Under the Dome is sure to add some serious sizzle to summer TV. One of Stephen King’s longest novels has been adapted for the small screen, and it certainly seems like it’s headed for a huge success. Mirroring some of the ideas found in his lengthy novel The Stand, King has utilized technology and military involvement to add even more intrigue to this series.
Nothing kills summer TV faster than a bland cast of characters, but you won’t find any of those in Under the Dome. In fact, the town of Chester’s Mill, Maine, is full of interesting locals that run the gamut from small-town charmer to intellectual geek and just about everything in between. The very sexy Mike Vogel stars as Dale “Barbie” Barbara, and it’s expected that not too far into the series there will be some incredible sexual tension between him and costar Rachelle Lefevre, who plays investigative reporter Julia Shumway. Of course, there is a lot of additional intrigue as Julia tries to figure out what’s behind the mystery that brought Barbie to Chester’s Mill, as well as the mystery of where her philandering husband has gone.
Jeff Fahey starred as Howard “Duke” Perkins—the town’s beloved sheriff—who sadly only survived through episode one and part of episode two. Deputy Linda Esquivel (Natalie Martinez), who loves her job and loved Duke like a father, will carry on Duke’s work in trying to save the town from the hysteria of the dome. Dean Norris plays James “Big Jim” Rennie. He’s a stereotypical used car dealer on a political mission to run Chester’s Mill, and through his underhanded dirty deeds—in which Duke was an unwilling participant—he is well on his way to doing just that.
Alexander Koch plays Big Jim’s son, Junior Rennie, and to say something is seriously wrong with Junior is a huge understatement. It is beyond clear from episodes one and two that, obsessively in love with Angie McAlister (Britt Robertson), Junior will do anything possible to have her all to himself. The possibly unhinged Junior is juxtaposed with Joe McAlister (Colin Ford), a whip smart teen whose parents are outside the dome.
Exactly what is going on in Chester’s Mill, Maine? By the end of episode two, no one really knows for sure—not even the members of the military stationed at the town’s outskirts. An invisible dome fell over Chester’s Mill, severing anything in its way, including cows, homes, and human bodies, and capturing the townspeople inside. The rest of the world can only look in.
Panic ensues as the townspeople and those trapped while visiting or simply passing through Chester’s Mill realize they will soon run low on provisions and medical supplies. The town’s fire department was on a call outside of Chester’s Mill when the dome fell, so very few first responders remain under the dome.
It’s quite clear that politics in Chester’s Mill are dirty—or well on their way to becoming so—and with the death of their beloved sheriff it’s somewhat uncertain as to who should legally run the town. The dirty deeds committed in the past by a few of the townspeople—including Big Jim—play a vital role in the delineation of good versus evil as the town gains government and tries to figure out what or who is holding them captive.
If you’re looking for top-notch entertainment without leaving the comforts of home, Under the Dome is an excellent bet. It is a shining example of blockbuster summer programming returning to network TV. With 13 million people tuning in for the premiere, and more than 10 million coming back the next week, Under the Dome has clearly struck a chord with viewers starved for something to watch this summer. Combining mystery, romance, and even a taste of political intrigue on a small-town level—there is something for everyone in this spectacular series. Stephen King has outdone himself this time. You won’t want to miss an episode.
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