Stephen King’s Under the Dome series, running on CBS, is pretty much the best thing going on in television right now (although, Showtime’s Ray Donovan may give it a run for its money). What other show are you going to get a chance to see a COW SPLIT IN HALF? However, those that have read Stephen King’s novel may have questions about how the series is going to work (especially now that it may be renewed for a second season) when, in the novel, the dome [SPOILER] only stays over the town for a week [END SPOILER]. Stephen King, in a letter to his fans on his website, addresses why the series varies considerably from the book version, and why it’s better.
From his website:
Many of the changes wrought by Brian K. Vaughan and his team of writers have been of necessity, and I approved of them wholeheartedly. Some have been occasioned by their plan to keep the Dome in place over Chester’s Mill for months instead of little more than a week, as is the case in the book. Other story modifications are slotting into place because the writers have completely re-imagined the source of the Dome.
That such a re-imagining had to take place was my only serious concern when the series was still in the planning stages, and that concern was purely practical. If the solution to the mystery were the same on TV as in the book, everyone would know it in short order, which would spoil a lot of the fun (besides, plenty of readers didn’t like my solution, anyway). By the same token, it would spoil things if you guys knew the arcs of the characters in advance. Some who die in the book—Angie, for instance—live in the TV version of Chester’s Mill…at least for a while. And some who live in the book may not be as lucky during the run of the show. Just sayin’.
But King did say that there is one thing that they absolutely CANNOT change.
There’s only one element of my novel that absolutely had to be the same in the novel and the show, and that’s the Dome itself. It’s best to think of that novel and what you’re seeing week-to-week on CBS as a case of fraternal twins. Both started in the same creative womb, but you will be able to tell them apart. Or, if you’re of a sci-fi bent, think of them as alternate versions of the same reality.
I haven’t read the book myself; as much as I respect Stephen King, I haven’t really dabbled in his stuff since his peak as a writer, back in the Misery and Pet Cemetery days (The Eyes of the Dragon will forever remain my favorite King book). However, I do recall that, when the book came out, there were lots of groans about the end of the series. No offense against Mr. King, but if I had to choose between King’s vision and that of Brian K. Vaughan, I’m going to go with Vaughan, one of the better, more imaginative comic writers around. One episode in, and it certainly seems like Vaughan’s interpretation is working, although I may change my opinion 10 episodes in, or three seasons in. I have no idea how they drag this out, but I trust Vaughan enough to see where it’s going.