So, is Anyone Watching “Under the Dome” on CBS?

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As many of you likely already know, CBS began broadcasting a television adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, Under the Dome, a couple weeks ago. I’ve read a lot of Stephen King over the years and, while this particular book wasn’t among my favorites (I originally posted about it here, in Bibliophilopolis’s infancy), thought it might have great potential for small- or big-screen treatment. Although I was impressed and excited to learn that Breaking Bad veteran, Dean Norris, was cast to play Big Jim Rennie, so far I’ve been a little disappointed in the series – but I’m not anywhere close to abandoning ship yet! Besides, the book is somewhat “special” to me for other reasons…

(below: actor Dean Norris as “Big Jim” Rennie.  Norris’s most famous role – as a DEA agent in Breaking Bad – has a great literary tie in: the mid-season cliffhanger for Season 5 of that series involves him doing some, er, <ahem> “bathroom reading” of Walt Whitman(!) and making an important discovery…)

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“The First”

There is doubtless a magical quality about something that is a “first.” Think about it. Everyone remembers their first car, their first job, their first date, first kiss, first… well, we could go on and on. While I don’t remember my first book (I don’t count educational “readers” like “On Cherry Street”), I do remember my first eBook. It was in February 2010 that I finally took the plunge and bought an e-reader, opting for Barnes & Noble’s “Nook” product. I still have it, but do almost all of my e-reading on my iPad or iPhone now (via the Nook app, though). Anyway, I was having coffee with a friend one Saturday morning and as a fellow reader, she was interested in seeing my brand new Nook and “what it could do.”

I remember showing her how to navigate to the “store” where one could purchase items from B&N. I think she asked something like, “…and how soon do you get it after you order it?” My reply was, “I think almost immediately,” then, being the inveterate wise guy that I am, I said, “Lets find out!” So I ordered “Under the Dome” which was still a pretty recent release that I had been eyeing for a couple weeks. She (and I) were both kind of amazed at the ease of this transaction. “So you can read it right now?”
“Yep.”
Secretly, though, I was still a little worried about reading on an e-reader vs. reading a “real” book. I had already planned, though, to make my first e-read a book of this nature. Nothing too deep that I would want to be highlighting and underlining passages in, etc. This process was painstaking and time consuming on the Nook anyway. My friend, who was then doing some seasonal tax preparation work hadn’t planned on staying long that morning was about to leave:
“So, are you going to read that now?”
“Yep. Well, not the whole thing, obviously.” – but as the Lazy Daze Coffee House does have splendidly comfortable “real” furniture, I thought there wasn’t likely to be a better way to spend the next hour or so than slowly sinking into the cushions as I knocked out fifty pages or so of this new novel – and my first e-book!

I remember being pleasantly surprised at how quickly I forget the fact that I was using an e-reader. I made it up to about page 75 as I recall and finished the book a couple weeks later. So, I’ll always remember this book as my first experience with an e-reader. What about you? Do you remember your first eBook? Your first book? Audio book? Are YOU watching Under the Dome on CBS? Do share… 🙂

(Below: a first-generation Nook reader – similar to mine)

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(Below: here’s a blast from the past:  this was the “Ginn Reader” book that I started learning to read with – “On Cherry Street”)

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8 Comments

  1. Megan said,

    July 8, 2013 at 9:04 am

    My boyfriend and I have been watching Under the Dome. Neither of us has read the book, and we went into the series knowing that filmed versions of Stephen King books are all over the place in terms of quality, some of them being fantastic and some of them being little more than SyFy quality (don’t get me wrong…I love SyFy movies. Just this weekend I watched one where dinosaur skeletons came to life and starting attacking). This one is somewhere in the middle. The acting is often pretty bad, like they’re not giving the actors enough rehearsal time. The writing is frequently lazy, and people do things (or don’t do things) that make no sense at all (the girl being held in the basement…her mother was at the Denny’s outside the dome…and she hasn’t bothered to show up and see if she can find out how her kids are doing? Maybe stand outside it and hold up a sign or something?) The continuity editor needs to be replaced (when the dome cut the cow in half and it slid down to the ground, why didn’t it leave a blood streak??).

    Of course, we’re not giving up on it. I think what we’re doing is called hate watching. We don’t find it good, but we’re at the very least interested in the plot and finding out what happens, so we’ll keep watching it, and making snarky comments all the way through.

    Like

    • Jay said,

      July 8, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      Hi Megan,

      Thanks for the comment (& good to hear from you!).

      “Hate watching!” I love it!

      It’s been so long since I’ve read the book I honestly don’t remember a lot of plot. I do remember enough to realize there have been some major changes from the novel. None are show-stopping yet, and some may admittedly be addressed in future installments since they seem to be taking the pace quite slowly so far. (One thing I didn’t like about the book was how King just went on and on with different stories of the moment that the dome came down. I could’ve moved on after just a few examples, but he went on. And on…)

      I watched “The Stand” miniseries long ago and, like you with Under the Dome, hadn’t read that book yet. I enjoyed that miniseries very much and some of the actors in particular. I still haven’t read the book so am not sure how faithful it was to the original.

      Dinosaur skeletons that “come to life and start attacking!?” I clearly need to watch more SyFy… 🙂

      -Jay

      Like

  2. Kelly said,

    July 8, 2013 at 11:26 am

    I just did a post about the Under the Dome series this morning! I am not loving it so far. I think I might try one more episode, but after that I’ll be done if it doesn’t pull me in. They’ve made way too many changes…especially to Barbie and Junior’s characters. I’m having a hard time with how they “Hollywoodized” things.

    Like

    • Jay said,

      July 8, 2013 at 12:11 pm

      Hi Kelly,

      Thanks for the comment and visit. I agree with you on the too drastic changes to Barbie and Junior. Barbie especially, as – like you mentioned in your blog post – they’ve added that element of him having a “dark side.” I think they have plenty of time to work Junior into a more menacing character (his dad, too, as we only have hints so far at his evil nature).

      It’s been a long time since I read the book so I don’t remember if Julia Shumway was a redhead in the novel or not. If not, I assume that’s one change you approve of? 🙂

      -Jay

      Like

  3. Judy Goodwin said,

    July 8, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Stephen King wrote a letter to his fans on his blog about how the TV version will be markedly different, as it only takes the situation and the characters from the book . . . and then takes off from there in wildly different ways.

    Like

  4. Dale said,

    July 9, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    This has always been the “next” King novel I want to read – it’s been in that “next” position for a long time. I saw the TV show advertised, but haven’t watched it. I think the episodes are streaming on Amazon Prime, though. Maybe I could catch up. Is this just a mini-series or is it a regular television series?

    Like

    • Jay said,

      July 9, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      Hi Dale,
      I’d assumed it was just a “finite” miniseries, but at the rate they’re going the could probably stretch it out into a couple seasons! I don’t know if you read Stephen King’s letter linked in the prior reply, but he says it’s great (Not that his would be an objective opinion). It is very different from the book, though.
      -Jay

      Like


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