Knee-jerk review: CBS' "Under the Dome"

1. The Stephen King novel was about 1000 pages.  We read the hardback.  It was like propping a cinder block on your chest.
2. Typical King novel: crackerjack premise, a sprinkling of pop culture references, lots of italicized internal monologues, small Maine town under strange external threat, the brooding antihero against the megalomaniacal villain (get it? we're more dangerous than any monster) plus a completely insane sidebar character who adds another level of conflict, and then a ending that sort of, kind of fizzles because there's no way to satisfactorily resolve these sci-fi premises.
3. It's fun to see an adaptation of a book we read.  But it's also a little tedious because we feel so far ahead of the plot.  Even if the show changes the details, the broad strokes are there, the main characters are there.
4. Jeff Fahey.  Awesome, though that beard is icky.
5. Our favorite thing: giving the abusive, crazy Junior part to a baby-faced actor Alexander Koch, who seems so charming and easy-going at first glance.
6. Cow getting cut in half.  Yeah, that was pretty cool.  So was the semi crash.
7. But better was the more low-tech gimmick of showing how neither side of the dome could hear the other.
8. CBS has been touting writer Brian K. Vaughan's resume.  Honestly, though, we would tread lightly at invoking "Lost," a similar people-trapped show that was exciting and cool until suddenly it became a source of unending frustration, drawing you in mostly because of the time you'd already invested and leading you to hope against hope that you would eventually get a unified, cathartic ending.  (Spoiler alert: there was none.  Purgatory?  Really?)
9. It worries us that this isn't a limited-run miniseries, but more of an open-ended series.  All the more incentive to stretch things out... and out... and out.
10. Hollywood should remove from its  bag of tricks the bit about the kid with the disease who has to have medicine or else he/she will die.  So very tired.  It feels like something that was maybe fresh on a 1970s episode of  "Dragnet."
11. There's something sort of cheap and cheesy about the whole thing, another reminder that the big television budgets now go to pay cable.
12. It's in our DVR season pass list, so we guess we'll keep watching.  Not a very ringing endorsement,  huh?

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