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Under the Dome - Episode 1.01 - Pilot - Review

Under the Dome, the show I've been looking forward to for a while is finally here. CBS has experimented in the past before with serialized shows, but none were as notable as Under the Dome. Heavily promoted and with some notable actors in the lead roles CBS went all the way to make this show a success. Developed by Brian K. Vaughan, mostly known for his work on season 4 and 5 on Lost, Under the Dome is something different from the usual CBS lineup.  Based upon the novel of the same name by Stephen King, Under the Dome is about the people living in a little town in Maine called Chester's Mill. As their day starts unlike any other day, they suddenly find themselves cut off from the rest of the world by a mysterious dome.. 

The pilot itself reminded me a lot of Lost, it was fast paced and intense. It also rapidly introduces an ensemble cast and offers up several mysteries. Most of which I hope will be answered soon, instead of being smeared out over several seasons. Revolution was a good example of answering question quickly, while also adding to intrigue and raising new questions. More importantly however, on a heavily serialized show like this, are the characters. We, as viewers, need to be able to relate to them in order for the more mythological elements to work and wanting to see how their respective stories play out.

It's hard to comment on the characters who, so far, have only been giving a few minutes screen time. I'll give you some of my first impressions, starting with Julia (played by Rachelle Lefevre). She seems like your standard reporter, even spouting off a few cliche lines in her first few scenes, but generally a good woman. Her husband is out of town, but the gossip around town is that her husband is having an affair, which she doesn't believe because she knows him. I'm hoping we'll explore more of her back story as for now it all feels a bit cliche. 

Unknowingly her husband was killed by Dale ''Barbie'' Barbara (played by Mike Vogel), the very man she offers a roof over his head for the night. Dale has more shades of grey around him, having killed Julia's husband but is later seen helping out people. Then there's deputy Linda (played by Natalie Martinez), who has a fiancee just outside the dome. She seems like a straight and honest cop, with only a few years of experience under her belt. The evolution of her character will be interesting to follow now that the sheriff is dead. Talk about a freaky way to die, by the way, with his pacemaker exploding. 

A character that struck be as a bit more odd was Junior Rennie (played by Alexander Koch), who went from friend with benefits to crazy abuser to psycho stalker to kidnapper in the course of one episode. We knew so little about him, other than the comment about what he really is, that it all felt very strange and forced. His father, Jim Rennie (played by Dean Norris), the councilman is another character that is covered in shades of grey. Being responsible for the stockpiling an amount of propane, while the sherrif turned a blind eye, he probably knows more of why the dome came crashing around than he admitted to the sherrif. If I had to guess the propane is fuel for a generator which keeps up the dome. 

The clue for this came from Joe McClatchey (played by Colin Ford) was suggesting that the generator might be within the dome, as it had to be in close proximity to power it. Shortly after he suggested this another interesting moment that raised questions came. Experienced by Norrie (played by Mackenzie Lintz) earlier in the episode they both uttered, what seemed like, prophetic words. This one is harder to explain and I currently have no idea what caused this or what it could mean. 

If there is anything wrong with the pilot, I would argue that it's too short. The amount of ground to cover with the mysterious dome and the ensemble of characters they had to introduce, it would have been better if the pilot had been two hours. Though I'm sure future episodes will delve more into the characters. Overall it was an intense pilot episode, that set up the mysterious dome and the premise of the show well. The introduction of the character could have been better, but that's nothing that can't be fixed. It's hard not get sucked into a show like this and, not having read the novel, I'm curious to see where the show will take me. If the quality of the pilot continuous throughout the rest of the season, CBS will surely have a summer hit on their hands!

8/10

Pascal Buijnsters Pascal's a Dutchman and has been a longtime commentator on SpoilerTV and started out as a writer for SpoilerTV last year. He is quite a TV addict and writes for a local, Dutch, newspaper. Next to that he's into soccer for his local team, a gamer and a fanatical swimmer. He writes previews and reviews for SpoilerTV for a variety of shows.

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