Posted on Tuesday, August 30th, 2011 by Peter Sciretta
Stephen King originally mentioned that his 2009 book Under The Dome might end up as an HBO miniseries. Soon after those comments were made, we learned that Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks TV optioned the book. It looks like the plans have changed as Under The Dome will not air as a mini-series on HBO as King originally thought — but instead on Showtime as a dramatic tv series.
Spielberg will executive produce the series, and a search for a writer is currently underway. Deadline, who broke the Showtime news, doesn’t mention “mini series” and instead calls the project a “drama series.” So it looks like the format has changed as well? The story is set in a small vacation town in Maine which becomes covered by an invisible force field which causes the residents to fight for survival, in two warring factions. Here is the official plot description from the book:
On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when — or if — it will go away. Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens — town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician’s assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing — even murder — to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn’t just short. It’s running out.
The front of the book features an elaborate town map and list of characters, even including “Dogs of Note”. USA Today called the book “Propulsively intriguing… Staggeringly addictive”, and The New York Times said it was “Tight and energetic from start to finish… Hard as this thing is to hoist, it’s even harder to put down.” And author Neil Gaiman called it one of his “favourite books of the year so far.” The 1088-page book was released on November 10th 2009, and is available on Amazon for $9.33.
To give you a feel of what the mini series might look like, here is a promotional trailer King’s publisher produced to sell the book:
Spielberg has been trying to be involved in a King production for years. Steven purchased the rights to King’s book The Talisman shortly after the book was published in 1984. The project went through many incarnations, but never went into production. Most recently, Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy announced plans to produce a six-part mini-series based on the book for TNT. The project fell back into development hell due to budgetary concerns.