WRITTEN BY: Stephen King and Brian K. Vaughn
CREATED BY: Brian K. Vaughn
The sleepy town of Chesters Mill is now the focus of the biggest summer TV event, thanks to Stephen King. In the next 13 episodes, we will learn the fate of the occupants of the town. This isn’t your normal small-town drama, it’s on a completely different scale. Chesters Mill isn’t just a small town in middle America, it’s a town that’s been cut off from the rest of the world by a fishbowl like dome, which appears out of nowhere, wreaking havoc on the occupants within.
We first get a glimpse of the dome via the eyes of Barbie (Mike Vogel), who has just buried a dead body in the woods, and is on his way out of the town where he is not a resident. Some cows run him off the road, and he witnesses first hand the dome appearing, cutting everything in its path in half, including a cow. He’s quickly joined by Joe (Colin Ford), who lives in the farmhouse where Barbie crashed his car, and the two begin speculating what happened. Before they can warn anyone, a plane crashes into the force field. Soon, the Sheriff (Jeff Fahey) and his deputy Linda (Natalie Martinez) arrive, and they assess the gravity of the situation. They spread out, trying to keep people off the roads.
Other characters are introduced, like Julia (Rachelle Lefevre), a local reporter looking to get to the bottom of the story, Big Jim (Dean Norris) a shady councilman, and Angie (Britt Robertson) as a girl with an extremely creepy boyfriend, Junior (Alexander Koch). Angie is also Joe’s sister, and they quickly evaluate that their parents are outside the dome. Julia believes her husband is outside the dome as well (but we’ll learn where he is at the end of the episode). In typical Stephen King fashion, shit gets crazy fast, which is why the series works so well.
Barbie is an interesting lead, because he’s not from the town, and you know from the beginning that he’s a shady character after burying a dead body. However, he becomes our protagonist, somehow, as he seems to have a particular skill set useful in this type of situation. He remains calm, and he saves some lives. It will be interesting to see how the other characters develop, but I’m betting that Barbie is on a redemption arc, and we’ll see him continue to be the man with the plan.
Some pretty spectacular special effects are thrown in, with cars crashing into the field, and other random atrocities. What makes the pilot work, however, is that it never lets up. It packs a lot into the first episode, as the field appears within the first ten minutes. Now, we get to see how the town reacts to being trapped, and what they plan to do about it. We also have the hope that Barbie will realize that Junior is the villain of the show, and beats him to death. That’s just a personal request, from me. With the promise that everything is going to be wrapped up in 13 episodes (there is no second season here), every episode will hopefully pack a punch. Is it possible that CBS has revived “event television”? For now, I’m excited for the possibilities.
FINAL GRADE: A-