My Dad looked at me last week and said, "I figured out what bothers me about Under the Dome. It's the same plot as The Simpsons Movie."
Ok, fair enough. Yes, a giant dome descends over the town of Chester's Mill, which is also what happens to the Simpsons' hometown of Springfield. And wackiness ensues. But that's pretty much where the similarity ends. Also, the tv series was actually ripped off (I mean, adapted) from a Stephen King novel, so there's that.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the "naked skateboarding around the dome" scene happens in the season finale.
I get tired of saying that the networks are all looking for the next LOST, but once again, the ghost of the dearly departed series hangs over the proceedings. Basically, everyone is always trying to find the next big science fiction show that will leave the audience guessing and waiting breathlessly for answers. It doesn't hurt if there is also the potential for tie-in merchandising. While Under the Dome has much in common with LOST, from the mysteries to the large cast, we are thankfully spared boring flashbacks. If only Once Upon a Time took the same approach.
Alrighty, the basic concept is pretty simple. Chester's Mill is your typical small town USA (or is it??) and one day a giant invisible dome descends over the town separating it from the outside world. You can see through it, air comes through, but pretty much nothing else, including sound. Oh, and it interferes with electromagnetic signals meaning you don't want to get too close with your cell phone up against your ear. Your entire head could explode.
For the most part, I am pleased with the show. The central mystery (what is the dome??) is pretty interesting and I think the writers do a good job of teasing out clues. It's clear something sci-fi or supernatural-like is happening here, especially since some teenagers in the dome are having seizures and whispering creepy things like, "the pink stars are falling." Ok, then. There's also some indication the town elders, the sheriff, the councilman, and the reverend, knew something like this was coming and are involved in some way. I love a good conspiracy.
But where Under the Dome needs to improve is in its smaller character subplots. Some of them are truly ridiculous, like the crazy teenager who kidnaps his girlfriend and locks her in his bomb shelter. Yeah, it's THAT dumb. Or the lesbians whose daughter is full of angst and not pleased about being stuck in this small town for the foreseeable future. Actually, it seems most of the plots that bother me involve the teenagers. So less angst, more seizures for them please.
They always find a way to keep the pretty people apart.
I also had a problem with how the town as a whole reacted to the dome. With the exception of one dude freaking the fuck out, everyone just pretty much went about business as usual. Uh, excuse me? If this really happened, you know people would be rioting and stripping the local Wal-Mart of every piece of food and survivalist gear they could get their hands on. In Chester's Mill, people still wander around paying for shit and one guy's idea of stocking up is to buy an extra pack of cigarettes. Come on people, get with the program. How do you expect to survive a zombie apocalypse with that attitude?
But these are all minor quibbles. For the most part, Under the Dome has an interesting concept, and while it may not have the most diverse cast (except for the lesbians), there are a lot of characters I am invested in. Also, it's summer, so the original scripted programming options are kind of limited. If you want to catch up, I say check it out online or on On Demand and enjoy the ride.
Did I mention that when the dome comes down it cuts anything in its way in half? Obligatory Twister cow quote: "Another cow." "Actually, I think that's the same one."
Under the Dome airs Mondays at 10:00pm EST on CBS.