Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Just how by-the-book will the TV version of Under the Dome be?

One of the better developments in TV viewing these days is the short term series,those shows that crop up during the lull of the regular viewing season since as early spring,late winter,etc,that can be just as compelling and even more loved than the full run fare.

 This concept sprang from cable networks and now the Big Three are starting to catch on,with CBS getting ready to unroll a thirteen episode run of Under the Dome,based on Stephen King's 2009 novel about a small town being mysteriously trapped under a force field,on June 24.

  The adaptation was originally developed for Showtime but the folks in charge felt that it was a better fit for CBS and perhaps they're right about that. The bulk of the story involves the people caught in the town of Chester's Mill and how their lives quickly changes as some people search for a way out and others see this bizarre imprisonment as a golden opportunity to take charge(particularly a devious fella named "Big Jim" Rennie) and that level of characterization focus is something that a network like CBS does do well.

On the other hand, the violent content of the piece(which what even casual dabblers in Stephen King works have come to expect) might be hard to showcase properly in this forum. I'm reading the book as we speak(pretty close to finishing,actually)and don't plan on giving away any spoilers but certain elements in the plot make me wonder how and if they will be part of the final product.

 Standards and Practice tends to be harder on the major networks than cable,even for the likes of TNT and AMC,but on the other hand,those guidelines have been stretched quite a bit lately. I watch shows like Criminal Minds and The Vampire Diaries and some of the stuff they've been able to show knocks even a semi-jaded viewer like me off of my feet at times.

 Since King is on board with this show,my best guess is that he'll be fine with most of the changes but not so sure about the fans. A epic book like this has a multitude of characters and some readers may be miffed at what may become of their favorites:

 From advance word given to media sources so far,the show is not intended to be a miniseries at all and plans to go beyond the time line set forth in the book.

Also,some new characters will be introduced while a couple of others are being readjusted in terms of age,race and possibly longevity. A similar thing happened when HBO brought True Blood(based on Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire Mystery book series)to the small screen and both newcomers and diehard readers had their opinions regarding that.

However,both the show and the books have become a roaring success,with the author more than willing to let the TV version take it's own course. Part of the reason for that, in my opinion,is that the creators of True Blood respected the core concept of the books as well as the sociopolitical themes that the author wove into the narrative,respecting the source material while making it their own,something you don't always in see Hollywood there:

Of course,keeping strongly to the original text is no guarantee either. While many newcomers to George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire saga are thrilled with HBO's version,Game of Thrones, certain crucial plot development tend to upset them greatly such as the death of Ned Stark in season one and most recently with the Red Wedding(which I will talk about more in my regular TV Thursday post later this week).

While I find those shocking twists to be a plus rather than a minus,some see it as a betrayal to the audience. Granted, I knew about those moments beforehand but it was still stunning to see these character take their blows and a tribute to the author and the actors for making me care so much about the fate of fictional folk.

 Empathy for real people is on a higher level,naturally, but it restore my faith in humanity when pop culture consumers are this connected to characters who could be within their own circle of friends of part of their family:

Personally, as a reader and viewer, I've grown to enjoy these differing takes on the same story. It's like getting two for the price of one,especially if I have read the book before the show.

 That way, I'm surprised instead of just checking off expected items from the list of plot point which is also good if I go to the books later in some cases. It may be strange to want changes to an adaptation yet finding a fresh flavor for a familiar pop culture treat is not something to send back to the kitchen in my book.

As to Under the Dome, I do plan on watching the show and will keep my fingers crossed for it's success. The book is quite the riveting page turner and with any luck, the show will be able to launch a whole new realm of commercial TV that takes things to the next level. As the song says, it's a small town and we all support the team,so let's raise the ratings flag high here,folks!:

No comments: