Photo: CBS

Under The Dumb

Are there any circumstances under which this author would watch Under The Dome's second season?

So, Under The Dome got renewed. WTF. I mean, good for the creators; as my left-coast colleague noted yesterday, it's what they intended for the project all along. "Good" generally, not s'much, because Under The Dome isn't good. It's boring, and it doesn't seem to understand how to write relatable reactions to the situation for its characters, despite having 1) a source text written by 2) Stephen King, whose greatest gift when he's operating at the top of his abilities is the portrayal of regular people in supernatural situations. I can't say whether said source is King in The Long Walk mode or King in "back page of Entertainment Weekly" mode. I can say that you can have non-credible character beats or sluggish pacing, but not both. (You should also probably feature fewer characters you intend as sympathetic who come off like annoying dicks and morons, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.)

And as Tara Ariano said yesterday, renewing the show isn't going to help the plot speed any. If anything, it's going to turn into the middle seasons of Lost with the aimless flashbacking and the introductions of new characters to paper over a failure to plan, and they've almost run through all the possible major disasters as it is -- with no discernible elevation in the excitement level. The network doesn't care about that, of course; the network sees the ratings numbers and says to itself, "That sold the soap -- more of the same, chop chop!" Why examine the reason for a thing's success -- the time slot, depressed summer viewership -- when you can try to clone it instead?

I considered hanging in with UTD until someone finally wised up and stabbed Junior (Alexander Koch) in the eye, but that doesn't seem likely now, and after suffering through an entire season of The Following for an equally unsatisfying (i.e., non-Emma-murdering) outcome, I can't anymore. But I will return for the second-season premiere, which King himself is set to pen, in order to hate-watch it…OR if the show grows a sense of humor about itself somehow and goes with one of the following story arcs:

  • Under The Deuxme: A similar structure is dropped over Montreal by Mayor Bloomberg to end the best-bagel debate once and for all. Junior is visiting McGill University at the time and is summarily executed for refusing to learn French.
  • Next To The Dome: A Rashomon-like account of the same period of time, but immediately outside the sphere...to which Junior escapes in this version, dying of radiation poisoning in short order.
  • Thunderdome: A loud rumbling terrifies the residents of Chester's Mill, and their fear only intensifies when they realize it's coming from another dome -- this one hurtling towards them aboveground and powered by the desperate citizens of its town, who propel the sphere like a hamster ball. Junior tries to shoot at it and takes a ricochet to the armpit, killing him.
  • At The Bottom Of The Bowl: After sacrificing Junior to an angry God, Big Jim (Dean Norris) gets the dome lifted -- but it flips right over and becomes a bowl, which soon begins to fill with rainwater and bird poo.
  • Under The Poem: Chester's Mill is stricken by a town-wide ailment: the townspeople can only speak in rhymed couplets. If they can't pull together and Guffman a professional production of Hamlet in two weeks, the United States military will bomb them all back to the Stone Age. With Alexander Koch as the skull of Juniorick.
  • Skate Dome USA: The upended dome becomes a skate pipe, sought after the world over by X-Gamers. Can Chester's Mill retain its folksy attitude when ESPN comes to town? And more importantly, how long until TJ Lavin as himself sticks a tree branch into the spokes of Junior's BMX bike? (Spoiler: four minutes into Episode 2.)
  • Under The Tomes: The whole town gets quarantined inside the library. When Junior disrespectfully cracks the spine of a first-edition Harry Potter, Angie (Britt Robertson) beats him to death with the Oxford English Dictionary. More like the Dewey death-imal system, amirite?
  • Battle Cry Of Freedome: During a Civil War reenactment, Junior is fired out of a cannon and into the side of the dome. He slides down to earth in gibbets for the better part of a week while the audience capers in an unseemly fashion. With Sarah D. Bunting as General Georgette McClellan.

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