The pilot… Does not give me great confidence in how this series will turn out. The best hope I have at this moment is that it will turn out to be a decent series that just uses the title “Under The Dome” as a marketing ploy aimed at Stephen King fans.
We see Barbie burying a body in the beginning, out in the woods. Shortly after this, we learn that this is happening in or near Chester’s Mill. A bit after this, the dome comes down and craziness happens. Near the end… Oh, that body? It was Julia Shumway’s husband. WTF? Now, bringing some of Barbies dark past to the more recent past could make sense- less reliance on flashbacks and all. But Shumway’s husband? And their tight alliance throughout the book? That’s going to change everything.
If I assume, though, that the writers know what they are doing and that retaining the books title is more than just a marketing ploy(things the pilot doesn’t give me much confidence in), here’s my theory on what Barbie is up to.
Given those assumptions, I’m guessing that Barbie is working for the CIA. He’s in town investigating a terrorist connected meth operation that Shumway’s husband was involved in. He buried the body rather than calling in law enforcement or his superiors to prevent people from discovering a CIA op on American soil.
This might allow for Shumway to forgive Barbie enough for their alliance to form and drive events like it did in the book. It’s still a huge change, but it’s the only way I see out of this boondoggle without shattering the connection to the book. Maybe not CIA- he could be DEA or even some vigilante group going after hte meth lab. But this is the only basic story I can think of for Barbie and Shumway to work anything like they did in the book.
Norrie’s parents were interesting- an interracial lesbian couple. I am concerned with her being presented as a bit of a troubled teen. If not handled carefully, this could suggest troubled teen is the inevitable result of lesbians raising a kid. I don’t think that’s where they plan to go, but intent isn’t everything. Competence matters if you want your intent to come through, and I’m not yet convinced that the competence is present.
There’s also the political situation. Rennie is referred to as a councilman, and Duke refers to a mayor. This indicates that Chester’s Mill in the TV series is a city, not a town. Given how a big part of the book was Rennie taking over, this is significant. In New England, a town is a direct democracy, and a city a representative democracy. Unless they are writing the rest of the city government as being out of town when the dome went up, this should vastly change Rennies rise to power- and even if they are, they’ll have residents demanding special elections to fill vacant city government positions. Chester’s Mill, as presented in the book, is also unusually small to make the transition from a town to a city government- is the TV city considerably larger than the books town, with perhaps some of it outside the dome? That might be interesting. I wonder though, if they made this change so that things would be more comprehensible to viewers outside of New England? Are municipalities in other places ever governed like New England towns? I really don’t know.
All in all… the pilot does not give me great confidence. It has hints of a few interesting bits, but also, as I said, a sense that the title might be little more than a marketing ploy.