With Under the Dome, CBS hopes to lure Stephen King fans — along with summertime viewership. But is the miniseries any good?

Based on the Stephen King novel, Under the Dome focuses on how the citizens of Chester’s Mill, Maine, react after being cut off from society. It seems the CBS summertime miniseries will mostly focus on the interpersonal drama between each character, instead of the shady government plot that led to living inside a bowl. Crazy thing about the premise: It might just work.

All the prerequisite stereotypical characters are included: a female rookie police officer, her grizzled and corrupt superiors, an investigative reporter determined to get a scoop, a killer with a secret and a family driving through town to get to rehab.

After the dome drops, it becomes an invisible fence, becoming a force field strong enough to slice a cow in half (which looked hokey, even for summertime TV).
Not much is known about the invisible force field except it is strong, sharp and hot. Why is it there? Where did it come from? Who’s responsible for this? I assume the Dome screenwriters will delve deeper into conspiracy theories in the following episodes. But for something of such great weight, it basically snuck up on everybody… to which their reaction is more dumbfounded than panic.

How will the citizens survive? Some have generators, there’s one guerrilla radio station broadcasting, and one family even has an emergency fallout shelter (I’m really looking forward to this featured in upcoming episodes). Will everyone resort to cannibalism once the food supply vanishes?

The crowning moment of the pilot episode that piqued my interest is the reaction of the dome onto random characters. When people suddenly drop, foaming at the mouth, suffering from seizures and spout mysterious dialogue like, “Stars are falling in lines,” I am intrigued.

This could be the first mysterious and addictive serialized drama since 24 and Lost. But from what I’ve read, CBS once aired the Stephen King-adaptation Golden Years, also a summertime miniseries, which never really ended. Hopefully the same conclusion won’t befall this CBS adaptation.

Strength: Plenty of tension and a bit of mystery.
Weakness: The stalking-obsessive-kidnapping boyfriend steroetype is more than annoying.
WTF Moment: Concerning an indecernable radio signal: “Sounds like aliens. Sounds like Bjork.”

Notable Quotes:
– “We’re all in this together.”
– “Why Chester’s Mill? Why us?”
– “We’re stuck in a giant fishbowl.”
– “Nothing about this is all right.”
– “Our ratings are gonna be amazing.”
– “You never know, with this damn place.”
– “I refuse to have my last meal here.”

Review: 3/5