The Mist TV show cancelled

Talk about a Mist opportunity! I’m sorry, I’ll go as soon as I’m done here. But first, here’s some not-so-happy-news for Stephen King adaptation fans. While there’s been an extreme uptick in all things King, it seems that not everything that bears the master of horror’s name is safe. The Mist, a TV series adapted from a King novella, has been axed.

Stephen King adaptations are now hotter than hot cakes (read about all of them here), coming fast and furious and only likely to pick up steam now that It has made boffo box office. But as popular as Stephen King adaptations might seem right now, they’re not impervious to failure. Spike TV’s The Mist is the first sign of cracks in the King adaptation veneer, as the show has officially been cancelled, per THR.

The show was based on King’s novella, originally published in 1980, about a supernatural mist that rolls into a small town, bringing with it unspeakable Lovecraftian monsters. The story was previously adapted into a 2007 film directed by Frank Darabont and starring Thomas Jane. While King’s story and the movie were primarily set in one location – a barricaded supermarket – the Spike TV series attempted to expand the events to a variety of locations, with the series centering “around a small town family that is torn apart by a brutal crime” as its residents deal with a sudden, eerie mist that cuts them off from the rest of the world. Apparently, this just wasn’t enough to hook audiences, and negative reviews of the show certainly didn’t help matters. The THR story reports that in the end the show could barely draw 800,000 viewers on a weekly basis. The Mist cancellation comes just as Spike TV is preparing to rebrand themselves as the Paramount Network in January with more high-profile material, like the mini-series Waco.

There’s a cautionary lesson to be learned here: just because something has Stephen King’s name on it doesn’t mean it’s a sure thing. I’m sure even King himself can tell you that. The reason audiences and critics took so well to It was because it was good – some actual thought and care went into the making of the film, and it shows in every frame. There have been plenty of earlier Stephen King adaptations before this one (read a ranking of them all right here), and a large chunk of them didn’t work, simply because you could tell producers assumed that if they just slapped King’s name above the title it would do all the legwork for them. Take heed, all you folks out there developing Stephen King properties: you have to do the work.

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