Just a little Stephen King nail art joke for you there. Oh man, Under the Dome…what a shit show you were! I am, of course, talking about the recently cancelled television show and not the novel, which is not only my favourite Stephen King book, but one of my favourite works of literature, period. Clocking in at a massive 1,072 pages, Under the Dome might seem like the kind of tome that’s more burden than pleasure, but thanks to a gigantic, engaging collection of Kingsian characters (the old timer! the town drunk! the precocious 12-year-old with off-the-charts extrasensory abilities and two soon-to-be-dead parents!), an absolutely vile, yet unbelievably compelling, bad guy whose misdeeds (too mild a word, that) made me throw the book across the room in disgust on more than one occasion (my walls may say differently, but that’s actually a good thing) and rapid fire pacing, it clips along. I tore through it in three otherwise totally unproductive days. It’s a marvel of writing and structure, and absolutely his best work to date.
But that TV show…oof. I never watched more than two episodes (checked out, in fact, during the cow/slice scene in the pilot, which looked like it cost about $12) but I still like to rage about what could have been. Which was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime, summer television event, the kind of pop culture moment you never forget. But instead of sticking to the bones of the story, which depicts one hellish week of socio-political wrangling, environmental destruction and far right-induced chaos in a small town suddenly trapped under a mysterious, impenetrable dome, CBS doubled down on the novel’s dumber, less tangible aspects (ie. the supernatural element, which is practically besides the point in the book), pooping out a laughably bad and stupidly bland show that shares little in common with the source material, but for a title. It’s the World War Z of television.
And, you know, it really didn’t have to play out that way. To go back to my earlier point, just imagine what could have been! Despite its size, and a cast of characters that numbers in the hundreds, Under the Dome’s overarching (heh) story is a tight, crisp one – it would have required very little editing to adapt the novel for television. There was no need to deviate so violently from the source material. And to that end, it wasn’t necessary to strip that gigantic, engaging cast of characters of every bit of individuality they possessed, nor was it necessary to round off the ages of absolutely everyone in town to a more demographically acceptable 20 – 45 years old. And there are no words to accurately convey my disgust at the neutering of Big Jim, Under the Dome’s horrifying real world villain.
Such a disappointment all around, and born of pure greed on the part of CBS. Here’s how it should have played out, according to my highly unbiased, totally non-screed-like opinion: Under the Dome should have been an eight to 10-hour miniseries. The events of the book play out over eight days – one hour per day of dome time, with a couple of extra hours tacked on for the ending, which I will not spoil for you, even all these years later, but I assure you, is impressive in its totality. Then, when the show proved to be a huge success – and it would; of that I am certain – they could look into a series that deals with the events pre-dome, post-dome or intra-dome, just from a different character’s (or characters’) perspective. Instead we got four years of totally nonsensical, barely watchable shit. It still pisses me off (clearly!)
But maybe back to the nail art for a quick sec? These nails are in service of day 12’s theme of stripes in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge. In Under the Dome, the book, as the air becomes less and less breathable (thanks to soot-producing fires, plain old respiration and maybe that secret meth operation out in the woods?), the young and elderly begin having seizures, falling on the ground and babbling nonsense about “pink stars falling in lines” and the burning Great Pumpkin. Turns out it’s not nonsense at all, but again, spoilers. 😉 The pink stars, of course, have a very different meaning to the television show – something about a mystical egg in the lake that hatches into a butterfly who becomes a woman who’s somebody’s sister or mother? Yeah, I know about as much as you do! Anyhow, these are my pink stars falling in lines, or little pink star charms falling in lines.