×

TV Review: ‘Under the Dome,’ Season Two

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

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.

Popular on Variety

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

More TV

  • Elite Season 2

    San Sebastian: Spain’s SVOD Players Debate Competition, Brand, Talent

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Executives from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Movistar+ and “Elite” co-creator Darío Madrona took to the stage to field questions on the Global Impact of Spanish Series. Here, briefly, are five takeaways: 1.Spain First “La Casa de Papel” was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix accounts over its first seven days,  after a July 19 [...]

  • Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers

    Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers From Skipping Fox Ad Breaks

    Fox is hoping to knit together the seconds-long divide between a TV program and the commercials that support it. During ad breaks for a few football broadcasts, tomorrow’s run of the Emmys and Wednesday’s season premiere of “The Masked Singer,” the network will kick off ad sessions with special show promos that display artistic renderings [...]

  • Patria

    HBO Europe Unveils ‘Patria’ Footage to Captive San Sebastian Audience

    SAN SEBASTIAN — Amid large expectation, HBO Europe has revealed first footage giving a first sense of tone and pace of its Spanish original series “Patria.” A packed-to-overflowing press conference on Saturday morning at the San Sebastian Festival can be read as one sign of the potential popularity of the eight-part series. The panel sneak-peek [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • Peter Weber and Mike Johnson

    'The Bachelor's' Mike Johnson on Diversity and New Leading Man Peter Weber

    ABC named its newest star of “The Bachelor” this week, officially making Peter Weber the leading man for Season 24 of the long-running dating show. Social media backlash ensued following the announcement due to ABC’s selection lacking diversity, yet again. Since the dating franchise began in 2002, there has been only one “Bachelorette” of color [...]

  • ABC Studios Logo

    ABC Studios Head of Alternative Fernando Hernandez Exits

    ABC Studios’ head of alternative Fernando Hernandez has departed from his post at the Disney-owned television studio, a source familiar with the situation told Variety. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news. Hernandez’s exit follows an executive shuffling at the top in recent months that has included the departure of Amy Hartwick, ABC Studio’s head [...]

  • Rob Cowan, Greg Silverman'The Conjuring 2'

    Greg Silverman’s Stampede, School of Rock Team for Unscripted Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Former president of Warner Bros. Pictures Greg Silverman is partnering with School of Rock through his content creation company Stampede. The collaboration with the music school will create exclusive content, starting with the development of an unscripted series.  School of Rock operates a network of performance-based education franchises that offer students of all ages guidance [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content