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Hercules Says Brian K. Vaughan’s CBS Adaptation Of Stephen King’s UNDER THE DOME Contains Plenty To Keep Us Watching!!

I am – Hercules!!

An (at least) 13-part CBS adaptation of Stephen King’s 2009 novel about a small Maine municipality suddenly and mysteriously enclosed by a transparent but inescapable force field, “Under The Dome” comes to us from director Niels Arden Oplev (who helmed the original “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”) and writer Brian K. Vaughan (“Lost”).

The flashy first episode is better than any of the network pilots intended for the regular 2013-2014 – or at least the ones I’ve seen so far.

It boasts a brisk pace, interesting characters and situations, suspense, visually arresting mayhem and more than a few compelling mysteries.

The summer series also seems much more likely to make me a regular viewer than any scripted CBS show airing in the regular season.

The series stars Dean Norris (DEA man Hank Schrader to “Breaking Bad” fans) as evil local car dealer Big Jim Rennie, Mike Vogel (“Cloverfield”) as army vet Dale Barbara, Rachelle Lefevre (Victoria Sutherland in the “Twilight” movies) as investigative reporter Julia Shumway, Britt Robertson (“Life UnExpected,” “The Secret Circle”) as abuse victim Angie McAlister, Alex Koch (“Underemployed”) as Big Jim Rennie’s piece-of-shit son Junior, Aisha Hinds (she played Ballard’s FBI pal Loomis on “Dollhouse” and Miss Jeanette on seven episodes of “True Blood”) as out-of-towner Carolyn Hill, Natalie Martinez (“Detroit 1-8-7,” “End of Watch”) as ambitious deputy Linda Everett, Jolene Purdy (“Donnie Darko,” “Glee”) as electronics wiz Dodee, Nicholas Strong (“Nashville”) as radio deejay Phil Bushey, Mackenzie Lintz (“The Hunger Games”) as Norrie Calvert and Jeff Fahey (“Lost”) as Sheriff Perkins.

Working in collaboration with King, Vaughan has made loads of changes from the book – so many that those of us who read it will still find lots of surprises. People inside The Dome cannot hear those outside it, and vice-versa. News-hen Julia Shumway is younger, married and more of an outsider. Phil Bushey is a popular alt-rock radio deejay rather than a meth-addled basket case. Waitress Dodee is now a genius radio engineer. Visiting grad student Carolyn Sturges appears to have morphed into visiting L.A. attorney Carolyn Hill. Even before The Dome appears, Barbie is up to some unsavory (if intriguing) shenanigans we never saw in the book.

Most who watch the first episode should find a lot of reasons to tune into episode two. I know I did.

Hitfix says:

... quite promising. … the opening episode is creepy, and it explores the premise and the talent on-hand in interesting ways.

The New York Times says:

... gets off to an addictive start on Monday, so much so that it’s hard to imagine any second-episode falloff in viewership. Bite on Part 1 and you’re going to be there for Part 2, or at least the start of it. …

The Los Angeles Times says:

... it's the next Big Summer Event, so you don't want to miss it. …

The Chicago Sun-Times says:

... the most promising show launching on broadcast television this summer. …

The San Francisco Chronicle says:

... There is promise in the one episode of Dome sent to critics and the series could work well …

The Washington Post says:

... silly but somewhat intriguing … does have an air of King’s more sinister tendencies, but not enough of them in the first hour to suggest the sort of horror that’s worth sticking around for. …

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:

... offers an effective set-up … It remains to be seen whether either will merit watching for a full season but the pilot does exactly what it should: It intrigues and makes the case for viewers to come back next week for more.

The Boston Globe says:

... While the initial arrival of the dome is intriguing, the characters are not. …

USA Today says:

... gets off to a roaring good start … Bad ending and all, I'd watch It again tomorrow. And Dome again next week.

Entertainment Weekly says:

... worth lifting the lid. The premise captures the imagination, and the characters are well cast …

The Hollywood Reporter says:

It’s only one episode out of 13 and a whole lot of things can go sideways, but CBS’s summer series from Stephen King, Under the Dome, set the hook pretty deep. Count me in. … And it sure helps that the first hour is intriguing as hell and filled with a lot of storytelling promise. If viewers catch the pilot, they’ll be back for the next episode. …

Variety says:

... King’s latest “Twilight Zone”-like premise clearly has the potential to get under one’s skin. …

10 p.m. Monday. CBS.

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