Tuesday, June 25, 2013

UNDER THE DOME: "Pilot " S1E1 (review)

By Steve Belgard
Small town with Big Problems

This is a cool tale from two Stevens – Executive Producers Steven Spielberg and Stephen King, based on his novel that he started in the early ‘70s, before he was published and became the giant that he is today.

With an homage (in my mind only) to Hitchcock or the Birdman of Alcatraz, a baby bird is born and mama takes off to land on a guy burying someone in the ground.

It’s a guy named “Barbie,” played by Mike Vogel, late of Bates Motel portraying the bad deputy killed off by Norman’s brother Dylan.

All the leads are introduced – there’s Sheriff Duke Perkins – played by Jeff “Fucking” Fahey who has a bad ticker, his patrol partner Linda (Natalie Martinez); Councilman and general creep Big Jim Rennie, played by Breaking Bad’s Dean Norris (he’s not from the famed Chuck Norris “acting” troupe). I mean, with a name like Big Jim, ya gotta be a creep; what appears to be young lovers Angie (Britt Robertson) and Junior (Alexander Koch); the new editor of the local paper The Independent, Julia Shumway (Rachelle Lefevre); and a brother and sister who are separated from their mother, who’s eating at a Denny’s on the other side of town (maybe this town is luckier than they think).

Now even if nothing unusual happened here, the townsfolk of Chester’s Mill already seem messed up and dysfunctional. But throw a big friggin’ dome over them and things turn, well….we’ll get to that soon I hope.

Shumway is called by one of the townsfolk to let her know there’s been huge shipments of propane gas (we’ll find out later what that’s all about).  Barbie, our supposed murderer passes the cops on the road and crashes to avoid hitting a bunch of cows in the road. Junior and Angie are having sex, but to her it’s just a summer fling, but Junior, strung too tight doesn’t want to let her go.

All of a sudden, the weirdness comes…winds, shaking, birds flying, is it an earthquake? Big explosion and here’s the dome … cows flee except one…shit, it’s cut in half…a very, very nice touch, and now I crave a big cut of porterhouse steak…havoc breaks loose, bird necks are snapped…a plane crashes against the dome, body parts, trucks crushed…damn, this is fun.

The town is covered by the dome and it shocks those who touch it. People outside of the dome are just fine, but neither side can hear each other nor help the residents of Chester’s Mill who are stuck.

Duke and Big Jim have an argument – seems the Sheriff knew he was stockpiling propane (reason currently unknown) and threatens him to play ball.

Lil’ Junior is stalking Angie and sees her talking to the handsome Barbie in the parking lot. He’s set off on weirdville and when Barbie goes to his car, he’s approached by Junior, who is acting well, like Junior. Their strange interlude is interrupted by Shumway, who invites him to stay at her house.

Shumway’s husband is a doctor and he’s been missing. She thinks he’s having an affair – but he’s the guy who Barbie offed at the beginning of the show.

Angie comes home and is attacked by Junior…she falls down and is unconscious. Junior locks Angie up in his dad’s fallout shelter…and oh yeah, Junior’s dad is the affable Big Jim Rennie. It all has to do with the genes.

As the Sheriff starts to confess his Big Jim involvement with his Deputy, he touches the side of the dome and his pacemaker explodes. I guess that’s the end of Jeff Fahey, which is too bad, cause I love the Fahey.

In addition to Spielberg and King, the 13-episode drama series includes Neal Baer (ER, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), Jack Bender (Lost) and comic-book and TV scribe Brian K. Vaughan as executive producers.

This is something you guys definitely need to check out. Besides the great special effects, the town is too messed up to pass during your Summer road trip around the tube.

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