TV Review: ‘Under the Dome,’ Season Two

Under the Dome Season 2

CBS pulled out all the stops to sex up the relaunch of “Under the Dome” — including a second-season premiere written by Stephen King — but at this point, attempts to keep the show interesting just bounce right off. Part of that has to do with a loose interpretation of the “limited series” description leading up to last season’s underwhelming cliffhanger, as well as a sense that while the characters remain trapped without an answer, viewers (at least, those who can find something else to occupy them between now and Labor Day) don’t have to be.

The first order of business, naturally, entails finding some plausible way not to kill off the dreamy enforcer Barbie (Mike Vogel), who finished up season one with a noose around his neck, having been sentenced to die for a murder he didn’t commit.

Still, the series does eliminate one character pretty quickly — although thanks to all the from-beyond-the-grave visitations, nobody really has to worry about staying dead, in no-residuals terms — while introducing a couple of new players who, apparently, had nothing interesting to say in season one. (In terms of who checked out versus who’s checking in, it feels like kind of a push.)

Ultimately, the premiere — while moving along briskly enough — doesn’t add much of anything to the audience’s understanding of the show’s fundamental mystery: why this giant dome formed over the small town of Chester’s Mill, and what its purpose might be, though the characters do increasingly talk about “the dome” like it’s a sentient being.

As for plots, in the opener the dome becomes magnetized, pulling everything metal in its direction. Visually, this development is hell on furniture, but not terribly exciting to watch.

Viewers, of course, can still enjoy the show — if only to admire Dean Norris’ hiss-inducing and campy performance as the town’s mayor, Big Jim – by adjusting their expectations. Mainly, that will apparently involve accepting that the producers are going to continue playing Lucy with the football for as long as possible — tantalizingly offering insight, only to pull it away.

It might work, but “Under the Dome” still qualifies as a disappointment — another Stephen King adaptation that started with considerable promise but, as packaged for TV, lacked the necessary cohesion to go the distance. And while the show can lose a fair number of viewers versus last season and still be a reasonable success, unless “the dome” can conjure some field that exerts a magnetic pull upon flesh and eyeballs, there’s a good chance many who made the series a hit will recognize that “Dome” is running in circles, and gradually begin to disappear.

TV Review: 'Under the Dome,' Season Two

(Series; CBS, Mon. June 30, 10 p.m.)

Production

Filmed in Wilmington, N.C., by Baer Bones and Amblin Television in association with CBS Television Studios.

Crew

Executive producers, Steven Spielberg, Stephen King, Stacey Snider, Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey, Jack Bender, Brian K. Vaughan, Neal Baer; co-executive producer, Peter Leto; supervising producers, Cathryn Humphris, Alexandra McNally; producers, Peter Calloway, Adam Stein, Randy Sutter; director, Bender; writer, King; based on the book by King; camera, David A. Geddes; production designer, Marek Dobrowolski; editor, Quincy Z. Gunderson; music, W.G. Snuffy Walden. 60 MIN.

Cast

Mike Vogel, Rachelle Lefevre, Dean Norris, Eddie Cahill, Alexander Koch, Nicholas Strong, Colin Ford, Mackenzie Lintz, Karla Crome, Natalie Martinez, Britt Robertson

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  1. Dana says:

    I can not get over the comments about the book versus series. Stephen King gave the go ahead so chill people! Personally I watched a 14 episode marathon once I started with episode 1. I was hooked! Keep it coming! Can’t write. How many viewers per episode not counting Amazon Prime viewers? Reported from different news sources… From 13 to 18 million watch each week PLUS Amazon viewers … So there

  2. suzyku says:

    I still enjoy Under the Dome and think this reviewer is really off base, this is only the 2nd. episode! Give it a few more before you become so pessimistic! That’s most likely why you’re a critic, can’t write, can’t act so you take it upon yourself to judge those that can!

  3. Kayleigh says:

    Why isn’t under the dome season 2 on channel five.. It’s only on CBS which is an us Chanel :(

  4. Stan says:

    When I heard that the ending (which explained the source of the dome) would be different in the series, I was okay with that. To be honest, despite being a big Stephen King fan, that part of the book was really pretty lame. I was looking forward to seeing what they would come up with the second time around.

    However, when they announced that the show wouldn’t be ending and would instead come back for another season, I stopped watching. Or more correctly, I stopped recording, because I hadn’t watched an episode yet at that point. I knew that nothing good could come of it…they had already filmed so much of it that the story arc had to be winding towards the conclusion, and these sudden changes in TV shows never go over well. (For reference, see any show that had been told it was being canceled and to wrap things up, then somehow got picked up for another season.)

    It’s too bad…Kings books are so huge and full of detail that they’re always dreadful as two-hour movies, while the miniseries adaptations are so much better. I had great hopes for this 13-hour miniseries, then some bastards at the network saw big ratings (and big dollar signs) and screwed it up. Greed ruins everything.

    • Wasula says:

      I agree. I watched last season because I read where by the end of season one it would all be wrapped up; all the questions/mystery’s answered, over, the end. When that didn’t happen I have the series the boot. I won’t waste another moment on it no matter how many seasons it expands too. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Words to live by.

  5. Critics that review TV and movies have to be the biggest pieces of shit on the planet. Never mind the bland mediiocre grade school piss they pawn off as writing, but they are way quicker to say something is failure then to admit it as a success. The truth is that review writing is simply the bottom of the food chain when it comes to public opinion, cause it is just that…….an opinion. Please people don’t decide what you watch based on what some dipshit’s view on it is. If mediocrity had a flag it would be sewn together by the souls of fuckin critics.

  6. Essie says:

    I’m still going for season 2, but f there’s a Season 3, no thanks. I really do think that this show will wrap it up by the end of season 2. Just remember, Stephen King okay’d all of these changes in the show, so you can blame him, haters. He also wrote the premiere to season 2, so I’m excited about that!

  7. Todd Koerner says:

    You hit it on the nose, Brian, as usual. I lost interest midway through the first season, and had to grit my teeth every time I saw the female sheriff – one of many bad casting decisions. I haven’t seen Breaking Bad, so I only really know Dean from this, and that’s too bad. They should put him on Bates Motel so he and Vera Farmiga can chew on scenery ’til the cows come home… assuming they aren’t sheared in half by a falling dome!

  8. Jacques Strappe says:

    Oh, Dem Dome, Dem Dome… is no longer connected to Dat Book. Big mistake turning this into an unlimited running series. As far as me, I was Dem Gone midway through last season with no plan to return. I read the book and I know how this is supposed to end but don’t know when CBS will choose to end it.

  9. Fred says:

    I was very disappointed at the final episode when the show didn’t end and wrap things up – but rather opted to keep going. I knew that most likely meant that we were simply being teased and that the answers the show keeps dangling in front of us probably wouldn’t be coming any time soon. No thanks, I don’t need the endless tease. It’s a shame, since the limited series had potential – until they decided not to limit it.

  10. If the show was anything like the book it would be great. The only thing they kept was the dome and the character names.

    Very well said it’s running in circles. I’m done.

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