CBS is going Under the Dome.
The summer series, produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment and based on Stephen King's book of the same name, is about the small New England town of Chester's Mill, which mysteriously becomes sealed off from the world by an oversized transparent dome. The series will follow the citizens' struggle to survive as they try to learn more about the dome and how to get rid of it.
Although King's book is more than 1,000 pages, the story of those trapped under the dome takes place over just a few days in the novel. But King, who has been actively collaborating with the writers of the CBS series, had thought of years' worth of story lines when he wrote the first draft, which allows the writers to take certain liberties with the source material. "Stephen has just been very generous with us," executive producer Brian K. Vaughan said at Saturday's WonderCon panel for the series. "Stephen said, 'Really use the book as a jumping off point ... but don't be afraid to go to new places.'"
The drive of the series is to hopefully answer exactly what the dome is. Though the writers have an idea of how they will eventually conclude this tale, Vaughan notes that it will be different from King's version. But the producers insist that their adaptation is more about peering into the struggles faced by humanity by exploring how people would deal with this situation. Army veteran Barbie (Mike Vogel) and investigative reporter Julia (Rachelle Lefevre), among others in the town, will face those challenges head on as everyone grapples with selfishness or selflessness.
"When you're under those intense circumstances, people's good hearts or evil hearts may come out more than in everyday life, so this intensity under that dome, under that magnifying glass, gives us a chance to really dissect what really makes people do what they do," executive producer Neal Baer said. "It's a parable for our time. We all know about dwindling resources. We can really tackle those things without being preachy. I've always wanted to do a show like that. What happens when you run out of Tide soap? What do you use? Who rises [to the occasion]? Do you really need a banker under the dome? But farmers? Maybe you do."
Of course, there are certain people who will take advantage of this disastrous situation. Namely, Big Jim (Breaking Bad's Dean Norris), the evil owner of the town's used car dealership who thinks that he's above authority even before the dome descends. "The dome allows certain types of people the opportunity to become a bit of a dictator because they are cut off from anyone who would check that power," Norris said.
That particular aspect of the human condition is only one-third of what the writers are using as a guide for the first season. "We've divided the season into thirds," Baer said. "The three Fs that we're going by are faith — 'This can't be real' or 'This won't last too long' — to fear, like, 'Oh my God, what are we going to do?' to fascism — 'Who's going to maintain order when people run out of things?'"
Check out the first footage from the series, which will premiere Monday, June 24 at 10/9c on CBS:
Will you be watching?
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