Under the Dome needs to get out

Development moves forward on the television adaptation of the Stephen King novel.

The quiet New England town of Chester’s Mill is just like any other typical New England town until the day a large, impenetrable, transparent dome appears, sealing it off from the rest of the world. With no communication, transportation, or energy coming from the outside world any longer, the residents (and a few happenstance guests) have to learn to survive autonomously while also seeking answers to the nature of the dome itself.

This is the premise behind King’s novel, Under the Dome, which CBS picked up last year – after it failed to fully develop over at Showtime – for a 13-episode season order. We hadn’t heard much from the show until this week when it was announced that casting had begun with Natalie Martinez and Alex Koch joining the cast as two of the principal characters.

Martinez will play Linda, one of the town’s most respected law enforcement officers, and a strict proponent of the rule of law in the face of disaster. Linda will have frequent reason to face off with Koch’s character, Junior, the son of the town’s wealthiest resident. When the dome goes up, Junior starts to go a bit mad, though he hides it from the other residents, and his unhealthy obsession with the town’s pretty-waitress-with-plans-to-get-out-of-this-town-someday stereotype character, Angie, becomes dangerous.

Other major roles have not yet been cast, but we can expect that they will be soon, as the network is planning to start the serial this summer during the season break. They’re not going to hit that target unless they begin production very soon.

Expect the show to follow the big-mystery formula which has become so popular the last few years. Each episode will center on some specific drama of the moment incited by the overarching mystery, which will never quite get solved as each episode with answers raises more questions.

We might even see regular flashbacks, slowly depicting just how the various characters of the town tie into the appearance of the dome. It will have some dramatic elements in common with CBS’s last attempt at the genre, Jericho.

Of course, if you already read the book, there will likely be some spoilers there, but don’t expect the answers to all be the same. A serialized television show needs a much different sort of mystery than a novel, and many liberties will be taken, with multiple complications likely added.

Under the Dome, which will be joint produced by Steven Spielberg and Stephen King among others, is planned for a Summer 2013 run on CBS.