To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Macbeth Act 5, scene 5, 19–28
The popular television series on CBS, Under the Dome is based on a novel by Stephen King. It premiered on CBS network on June 24, 2013.
The series takes place in Chester’s Mill, Maine. It’s a small, thoroughly unpleasant little town that finds itself cut off by an invisible dome — a barrier — which everyone refreshingly calls “The Dome.”
The town’s citizen’s attribute sentience to the dome. The Dome knows. Which is good, because no one else in Chester’s Mill knows anything.
The dome appears for no (apparent) reason, after which no one can leave — no matter how much we wish they would. Nor can anyone from outside enter. There’s no communication with the “outside” world except when the scriptwriters say so.
As of September 1, 2014, 23 episodes of Under the Dome have aired. Approximately 10 episodes too many.
This is a show that started out with a lot of promise. I love science fiction and ever since King wrote 11/23/1963, I’ve been inclined to cut him a lot of slack. Anyone who can write such magnificent prose deserves it.
The show became extremely popular. The producers, unwilling to put the milk cow out to pasture while she was still producing so many gallons of the white stuff decided to keep the show going. What was supposed to be a single season story with a beginning, middle, and end has become an endless melodrama. Everyone runs around like chicken little.
“The sky is falling,” and sure enough, it falls for a while. Then it stops. No harm done. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. Maybe better.
“Oh MY GOD, Big Jim is killing everyone.” Sure enough, he kills a lot of people — but most people who die in this town come back. Actors have contracts, you know. You can’t just go killing them off, so in Chester’s Mill, death is a plot point, not an end.
“OH MY GOD, OH MY GOD, the plague is here! We’re running out of food! We will all starve! We’ll have to eat each other.”
The plague was (of course) averted and no, they will not run out of food, though cannibalism might liven up the story. Everyone runs around in a panic, on the verge of hysteria. There is much flailing and ranting at the dome. Its power, what it means. Never mind, it doesn’t matter.
And nothing happens. Not really. Relationships change in very tiny increments, dead people show back up with such predictability that even if someone would (please, please) shoot Big Jim — it is the only thing left to look forward to — it wouldn’t matter. He would be back in a show or two. Maybe even during the same episode.
They really should have stuck to the plan. It has become a prime time soap opera. You can miss any number of episodes, but when you tune in again, nothing has changed. Nothing ever changes. Or ever will change.
Garry is more patient than me. He still hopes something will happen. Like, they will explain what the dome is, why it’s there. They will then execute Big Jim, kill him deader than dead. After which, they will run the credits and say bye-bye.
Garry is such an optimist.