CBS-Under the Dome

When Does It Start: Monday 24th June at 10pm EST on CBS

 In A Nutshell: The residents of a small town find themselves trapped under a mysterious dome. Horror ensues…

What’s It About: The small town of Chester’s Mill receives a big surprise when a strange and impenetrable dome suddenly falls around the town, cutting the residents off from the rest of the word.

Trapped beneath the dome are a wide array of characters including an army veteran on a mysterious mission, an investigative reporter, a visiting LA entertainment attorney and a DJ with a dark secret. As the days wear on tempers are frayed, alliances formed and food runs out.

Based on the hefty Stephen King novel of the same name, Under The Dome follows the town’s first two weeks in isolation. But who – or what – created the dome in the first place? And what is its purpose?

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 Plus Points: I love it when networks swing for the fences – so I have to hand it to CBS for taking a risk on a pricey summer series given how badly scripted shows tend to fare in the warm weather months.

Sure Under The Dome isn’t THAT big a risk given King’s reputation and the generally warm reception his TV projects have received in the past. But this is CBS – the procedural TV kings – so for the Eye network this is a significant and adventurous step. For this reason I hope the show becomes a big, huge hit and CBS makes more moves in this direction.

Under The Dome has been getting plenty of press as its launch draws near – far more than other June premieres such as The Winner Is, Whodunnit and Mistresses. And while the show is a closed ended series, the plan is to bring the show back next summer if it succeeds. The show’s uninterrupted 13 episode run resembles the cable TV model and proved successful for The Following earlier in the year. Could this be the future for audiences unwilling to invest in 22 episode series?

On The Downside: Is Under The Dome the RIGHT show on the WRONG network?

The last time CBS tried a short run serialized summer series the result was the terrific Harper’s Island (yep, I’m still gonna keep plugging it!) – a great show that was roundly rejected by the stodgy CBS audience who couldn’t handle their mysteries unsolved within an hour! Under The Dome has a higher pedigree with the Stephen King name, but is it still too young and original a concept for the network’s aging audience?

Under The Dome

Under The Dome has limited competition in its 10pm slot. Mistresses stumbled out of the gate and Siberia, launching a week later, feels a tad amateur hour (despite an interesting premise on paper).  But the real question is will audiences be watching the broadcast networks on a Monday night at 10pm in summer? Also the formerly winning CBS sitcoms that are providing Under The Dome with a lead in audience are both incompatible and not repeating too well recently…

Plus on the cast front Under The Dome is a star-free zone. Mike Vogel is fairly known from Bates Motel and 2011’s Pan Am, but he’s yet to break out as a household name. And Rachel Lefevre is best known for being dropped by the Twilight franchise after the first two movies (lucky escape I say!) Would a star name help give Under The Dome that extra push that it may need?

My big hope for Under The Dome is that it doesn’t look and feel like a TV movie. If this were a show on cable, the series would likely remain edgy and interesting (there’s nothing TV movie-ish about FX’s American Horror Story for example). But I worry a CBS adaptation of a Stephen King novel will feel sterilized – and compromised. Let’s hope that’s not the case.

Prediction: Under The Dome is a gamble for CBS this summer – but I have a feeling this one may pay off, albeit modestly.