King of evil’s bub­ble trou­ble

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Jenni Baird -

THIS night­mare of iso­la­tion and hor­ror is like watch­ing The Block. Only with bet­ter act­ing. And we’re only nine min­utes into Un­der the Dome on Tues­day night be­fore they get the scaf­fold­ing up. So in that sense it’s much more ef­fi­cient.

Of course, you can’t see the scaf­fold­ing. Un­der the Dome is based on a Stephen King novel, and the dome is . . . I have no idea. I’ve only watched the first episode. It’s in­vis­i­ble any­way. And has elec­tric­ity run­ning through it.

Part of me wants one for home. It’s half sug­gested it’s to do with aliens, but my feel­ing is it’s Pen­tagon re­lated.

When Joe, a sweet, cu­ri­ous boy asks Dale, the guy who has hero stamped on him, if the govern­ment built it, Dale tells him he doesn’t think so — be­cause it works.

But does the show work? It’s Stephen King, so you know he can write char­ac­ter.

Those first nine min­utes be­fore the dome cov­ers ev­ery­one take us through Ch­ester’s Mill house by house. Or that’s how it feels. The used car dealer is played by Hank, the brother-in-law DEA agent from Break­ing Bad. A some­what dif­fer­ent role.

The most sig­nif­i­cant in­for­ma­tion comes right at the start in a for­est nearby. A dead body, a car leav­ing the scene, the driver — an out-oftowner — who turns up again later.

And from Ch­ester’s Mill’s obese hoarder, who gets in touch with the edi­tor of the lo­cal pa­per to tell her about some trucks go­ing past and how of­ten.

But th­ese are overtly jar­ring things. By the end of the episode there’ll be sev­eral other dis­turb­ing de­vel­op­ments, and in­volv­ing peo­ple who seemed so nice at the start.

It’s only go­ing to get worse the longer they stay un­der that stupid dome.

The dome’s not over all of Ch­ester’s Mill ei­ther — the rest of the town can wist­fully put their hand up against it, like they’re their girl­friend vis­it­ing them in jail, only with­out phone ac­cess.

Yes, it’s per­plex­ing all right. And when you add the kinds of un­hinged freaks Stephen King cooks up, or even just the ‘‘ nor­mal’’ peo­ple he has liv­ing in Maine, it’s quite the mix. Ev­ery­one’s say­ing this is re­mind­ing them of The Simp­sons movie, which it won’t once you watch it, but King started writ­ing the book this is based on back in about 1982 ap­par­ently. It had a dif­fer­ent name then, but I don’t want to say what it was be­cause it gives too much away.

Plus the other thing is, King doesn’t re­ally strike me as a guy who needs to steal ideas.

But some truths stand: both this and The Simp­sons have use­less po­lice who are im­po­tent when any­thing ac­tu­ally hap­pens. Un­der the Dome, Chan­nel 10, Tues­day 8.30pm

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