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Under The Dome has the makings of a great TV show. For starters, it’s based on the 2009 novel by Stephen King. It tells the story of a small town that becomes sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. It’s sort of like the plot from The Simpsons movie, but with Steven Spielberg, comic book writer Brian Vaughan and King. Their “Pilot” makes one thing very clear: They’re pushing the envelope with a cable caliber show.

The Players:

  • Director: Niels Arden Oplev
  • Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
  • Cast: Mike Vogel, Aisha Hinds, Dean Norris, Colin Ford, Rachelle Lefevre, Natalie Martinez, Britt Robertson, Alexander Koch, and Nicholas Strong

Episode Title: “Pilot”

A New England town is sealed off by a transparent dome that inexplicably appears. In the opener, the dome materializes and the residents of Chester’s Mill struggle to survive as resources dwindle and panic sets in.

The Good:

  • Mike Vogel: Vogel’s Dale Barbara – who shamelessly admits his nickname is Barbie – is someone we want to get to know. He has a mysterious whiff of violence, darkness and leadership. Here’s what we know so far: He’s not a local, he’s ex-military and he’s also a pretty nice guy. He’s like a regular TV, no-family-man version of Rick Grimes and we like him as the lead.
  • Pushing The Envelope: It’s not everyday that you see the insides of a cow on television. There’s also teens having sex, and a young man contemplating suicide. This content is normal for cable, but for CBS, it’s new. We’re looking forward to this kind of behavior. 

Best Lines:

  • “I get my news online sweetheart, like everybody else.” –Old Lady
  • “My name is councilman Rennie, Big Jim Rennie, but this isn’t a car commercial.” –Big Jim

The So-So:

  • Like Father, Like Son: Every small town has to have its crazies, and in Chester’s Mill, they come from the Rennie family. Dean Norris‘ Big Jim is a mustache-twirling stereotypical villain. He hasn’t killed anyone yet, but we figure it’s only a matter of time before he does. For those of you who believe the apple never falls too far from the tree, it’s true here. Jim’s son, Junior (played by Alexander Koch), is a total sociopath who’s quickly become the least likable character. Although we’re shocked to see CBS allow Junior  to contemplate suicide, kidnap a girl and lock her in an underground bunker, we’re wondering if the “crazy” card was shown too soon. Junior looked like a nice guy when we first met him (mind you, he was having sex with the girl he later kidnapped). He went from nice to creep in a matter of minutes.

Overall:

Under The Dome’s premiere was surprisingly refreshing. But it’s still too early to tell where this show is headed. It has a strong ensemble, and we can’t wait to see what happens next.

Rating: 7.5/10

Under The Dome airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on CBS.

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What did you think of last night’s premiere?