In Season One we had faith in Stephen King. We thought, okay this is strange but slowly we will get answers. At this point we thought, "King has a plan." We trusted him because he gave us so many great thrills in the past. And there was a book - which I haven't read - but perusing its pages I see familiar names and characters, even if they've been changed a bit. (Though I noticed the show was never sold as Stephen King's Under the Dome. Oddly, Steven Spielberg hasn't been very vocal about his involvement either. Hmm...) Still, 11.2 million viewers in Season One.
Worse yet, the woman who was shot twice in the chest and had rebar shoved through her leg will be up and running around Nancy Drew-style for the rest of the season. Each season is a week in the life of Chester's Mill and in Season Three (a week later), Julia's all better and the bandage over her jeans (that's all you need for a rebar puncture, I guess) is there, but it's on the wrong leg at one point and pretty much forgotten.
The penny bloods offered up characters like Varney the Vampire by Thomas Preskett Prest (or James Malcolm Rymer, you decide) with 876 double-sided pages equalling 667,000 words. (To put that in perspective, that's the length of two GRR Martin Song of Fire and Ice books.) There was also Wagner the Wehr-Wolf by George WM Reynolds at over 211,000 words. This seems less impressive but Reynolds also wrote The Mysteries of London at a whopping two and half million words. Writing this kind of story required the author to add more and more incidents, dropping story lines, adding new characters. Sound familiar?
And that's why I watch Under the Dome. I may be one of the dwindling numbers, (down twenty percent from last week's episode), but I watch to see how crazy it will be this week. What previous story details will be conveniently ignored? Which of the good guys will become bad guys and vice versa? I sit there, daring the writers to outrage me. To come up with the crazy, stupidest crap imaginable. It's not what TV is supposed to be, but this is the 19th Century - I mean, 21st Century. (And if I get tired of it I can always go watch The Strain. Del Toro wrote three books and the show has a plan!) The penny dreadful has returned and it is called Under the Dome!
GW Thomas has appeared in over 400 different books, magazines and ezines including The Writer, Writer's Digest, Black October Magazine and Contact. His website is gwthomas.org. He is editor of Dark Worlds magazine.