Under the Dome premiered last Monday night with ratings that broke records for a new summer show and high enough to even be considered a success even during the regular television season. The series was adapted from a popular Stephen King novel of the same name, which has led to some discontent from fans of the book.
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I’ve never read the book, so I’m not qualified to analyze whether or not the changes are for the better or worse, but Stephen King took to his website and published a letter to Under the Dome fans about the controversy.
He shared an anecdote about author James M. Cain’s comments to a student reporter who asked about the differences in the movie adaptations of his books. Cain said, “The movies didn’t change them a bit, son. They’re all right up there. Every word is the same as when I wrote them.”
King expanded by saying, “If you loved the book when you first read it, it’s still there for your perusal. But that doesn’t mean the TV series is bad, because it’s not. In fact, it’s very good.” Furthermore, he supported the changes made to the bring his story to television.
In addition to changes to the characters, a main plot point was altered. King explained, “the writers have completely re-imagined the source of the Dome.” This will allow fans of the book to enjoy the mystery along with viewers that are new to the story.
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King suggested, “It’s best to think of that novel and what you’re seeing week-to-week on CBS as a case of fraternal twins. Both started in the same creative womb, but you will be able to tell them apart. Or, if you’re of a sci-fi bent, think of them as alternate versions of the same reality.”
I’ve read other books that have been adapted to television and the big screen and King’s philosophy is the approach that I take to enjoying the various incarnations of the same story. Whether it’s The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Hunger Games or even King & Maxwell, it’s important to understand the limitations of different storytelling formats and accept the changes for good or bad that come with an adaptation.
To better understand the environment in Chester’s Mill under the dome, CBS has released a graphic that explains the “Rules of Under the Dome.” It answers some of the questions viewers have asked about the air quality, communication, and water supply.
Check out the rules below.
Do you agree with Stephen King’s thoughts on the television adaptation? Or, are you a book reader that’s still disappointed in the changes?
Do the rules make sense in terms of what we’ve seen in the premiere? What surprises you about them? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Under the Dome airs Mondays at 10 pm ET on CBS.
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(Image courtesy of CBS.)