Under the Dome: The Complete Series
Paramount // Unrated // $39.98 // June 20, 2017
Review by Chris Zimmerman | posted August 6, 2017
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With more than 50 novels published at the time of this writing, and more no doubt on the way, Stephen King has been widely regarded by his peers and contemporaries as one of the greatest novelists to put pen to paper. Though known primarily for his work in horror, King's works span a catalogue of award winning novels and short stories spread across numerous genres. It's no wonder many of his stories have served as the basis for small and big screen adaptations. As is the case with so many page-to-screen adaptations, studios have had varying degrees of success in translating the author's work. Despite a spotty record, Hollywood can't seem to get enough of King's works.

Under the Dome is one of King's more recent novels. A mammoth of a book at over 1,000 pages in length, the novel harkens back to themes found in many of the author's earlier works. Due to its length, the decision was made to break the book down into a multi-season series. As is common in King's books, Under the Dome explores what happens when normal people are challenged by extraordinary circumstances. Having read the book, I can say that the series does a favorable job in exploring the characters and themes King constructed in the book. While I will not entertain a debate of which is the superior work, or if the series holds a candle to the book, I will say that it does stand on its own as a successful television drama that expands upon the story.

Perhaps part of the reason Under the Dome is a success can be attributed to fellow writer Brian K. Vaughan. Though primarily regarded for his accomplishments in the graphic medium, Vaughan's steady hand in adapting the plot to sustain a series has made for an effortless transition. The first episode instills an unerring sense of menace that settles in and doesn't let up, as the residents of a small town suddenly find themselves trapped inside an invisible dome, unveiling unnerving scenes of planes erupting in flames and animals cleaved in half without warning. But even as a chain reaction of OMG moments flood the screen, it's the characters and their emerging understanding of their situation that takes precedence.

King's characters are not chosen heroes. These are people employed at convenience stores, sheriffs, teachers, and students, all with personal flaws and characteristics that make them relatable and their situation intimate. Regardless of the mystery of the force field enclosing them, they all have different personalities and aspirations that define them. From a misleading drifter to a precocious reporter to an obsessive psychotic, everyone seemingly carries a secret that can send the small down spiraling into chaos. Power hungry politicians clash with everymen citizens for control of the town, erupting in a power struggle that spawns tumultuous alliances and dangerous enemies. The series excellently bridges the various characters, connecting them in unexpected ways.

Under the Dome has all the hallmarks of classic Stephen King: A small town with a sizeable cast of characters caught up in seemingly unexplainable events that alter their perception and behavior. The characters are intriguing and the plot addictive. While the series does tend to tread over familiar waters over the course of three seasons, taken as a whole the entire package makes for an impressive spectacle that stands on its own merits and provides compulsive viewing for those who enjoyed the book or just want a window into gripping television.


Video and Audio :

The complete series of Under the Dome comes released in a thick single clear case bundling 16 discs together. As is the case with a series that has been released previously in season sets, this appears to be a repackaging of each season, divided into 12 discs with a bevy of extras carried over. Episodes and extra features are labeled on the inside cover.

As expected of a series that premiered in 2013, the video and audio quality are sharp and clean. There is little fault to be found in the image quality aside from the fact that it was produced in high definition but curiously only received a DVD release. Similarly, the discs sport an acceptable 5.1 mix that occasionally bursts when the action hits a fever pitch.


As I mentioned previously, the extra features for the set appear to be carried over from the prior season releases. Bonus features include interviews with the cast and crew, and even Stephen King himself discussing the challenges of translating the book to screen. Also included are production featurettes chronicling the filming of various scenes and the visual effects employed to bring the series to life. Deleted and extended scenes can be found spread across the multiple discs.

Final Thoughts:

With three seasons under its belt, Under the Dome Provides an entertaining mix of character drama, hysteria, and mystery. The series is at its peak when exploring the varying interactions and the hierarchies taking shape as a result of the struggle for power within the entrapped community. Rife with political metaphors and religious symbolism, the series challenges audiences in ways few network dramas do, offering commentaries on the strength of the human spirit in the face of overwhelming madness and confusion. Fans of the book and those enjoy a sprinkle of fantasy in their syndicated dramas should consider Under the Dome recommended.

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