Will Stephen King's 'Under The Dome' Buck The Trend Of Disappointing Adaptations?

Stephen King has sold millions of books and is no stranger to the big, or small, screen. Despite all the adaptations of his work, many have been disappointing. Will “Under the Dome” break that streak?

Stephen King's 2010 bestseller “Under the Dome” has just been picked up by CBS for a series order, reports The Hollywood Reporter. The series is to premiere in the summer of 2013. This is yet another adaptation for King, and while many television versions of King's work have been disappointing, there are several reasons to believe “Under the Dome” will break the curse.

There have been more than 25 television and movie adaptations of King's work, including “Carrie,” “The Shining,” “Cujo,” “Misery,” “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Stand By Me,” “IT,” “The Stand” and “The Green Mile.”

The adaptations been hit or miss, with the movies winning most of the acclaim. “The Shawshank Redemption” was nominated for seven Academy Awards, “The Shining” was directed by Stanley Kubrick and featured the famous performance of Jack Nicholson, and Kathy Bates won an Academy Award for Best Actress in “Misery.” But King has had share of duds, such as “Maximum Overdrive,” and the television adaptations are where King's works have been more disappointing.

Arguably the best television adaptation of King's work is “The Stand,” which was made into a six-part miniseries in 1994, but it still has its detractors, and many fans are holding out for a better version of one of King's more beloved works. “IT” is another miniseries that King's fans hope gets another adaptation.

Other adaptations such as “Quicksilver Highway,” “Storm of the Century,” “Bag of Bones,” “Rose Red,” “The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer,” “Nightmares & Dreamscapes” and “The Tommyknockers” haven't fared much better. With this track record on television, it seems the odds are against “Under the Dome,” but there are several reasons to believe the CBS series can be good.

Some of the best adaptations of King's work are those given enough time to develop characters and stories. A show such as “Haven,” based on King's short story “The Colorado Kid,” is now in its fourth season on SyFy. “The Stand,” while a miniseries, had more than six hours dedicated to telling the  post-apocalyptic epic of good versus evil. Another successful King adaptation, “Dead Zone,” ran for six seasons. 

“Under the Dome” will run for 13 episodes, giving King's story room to develop. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Under the Dome” is about “locals at a small New England town that is suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an enormous transparent dome. Its residents must deal with surviving the postapocalyptic conditions while searching for answers.”

Another reason to be hopeful about “Under the Dome” is the people behind the project. The show was developed in conjunction with King and Amblin Entertainment, Steven Spielberg’s production company. Neal Baer, who has worked on “ER” and “Law & Order: SVU” will also be working on the show.

Bringing “Under the Dome” to life will be no easy task but King and CBS have lined up some impressive talent to adapt the story. Brian K. Vaughn is an acclaimed comic book writer (“Y: The Last Man” “Ex Machina” and “Runaways”) and has also worked as a writer for another hit television series, “Lost.” Vaughn will be serving as an executive producer but also wrote a television adaptation of “Under the Dome” when it was first in development for Showtime, notes THR.

Niels Arden Oplev, director of the Swedish “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” will be directing the first episode.

While the crew is promising, the best augur of the show's success lies in the source material itself. Many have called “Under the Dome” a return to form for King, and the novel received raves from USA Today, The New York Times, New York Daily News, Neil Gaiman and Guillermo Del Toro.

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