The Stand (TV miniseries)

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The Stand
The Stand (TV miniseries).jpg
Television miniseries poster
Genre Drama, Horror, Fantasy, Thriller, Apocalyptic, Romance
Directed by Mick Garris
Produced by Stephen King
Mitchell Galin
Screenplay by Stephen King
Based on The Stand by
Stephen King
Starring Gary Sinise
Molly Ringwald
Jamey Sheridan
Rob Lowe
Laura San Giacomo
Miguel Ferrer
Ruby Dee
Bill Fagerbakke
Corin Nemec
Adam Storke
Ray Walston
Matt Frewer
Ossie Davis
Shawnee Smith
Music by W.G. Snuffy Walden
Cinematography Edward J. Pei
Editing by Patrick McMahon
Production company Laurel Entertainment
Greengrass Productions
Budget $28,000,000 USD
Country United States
Language English
Original channel ABC
Original airing May 8, 1994 (1994-05-08)
Running time 366 minutes

The Stand is a 1994 television miniseries based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. King also wrote the teleplay, and has a cameo role in the series. It was directed by Mick Garris and stars Gary Sinise, Miguel Ferrer, Rob Lowe, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Jamey Sheridan, Laura San Giacomo, Molly Ringwald, Corin Nemec, Adam Storke, Ray Walston and Matt Frewer. It originally aired on ABC starting on May 8, 1994.


At a government laboratory in California, a weaponized version of influenza is accidentally released, immediately wiping out everyone on staff except for military policeman Charles Campion and his family, who flee the base. However, Campion spreads the superflu, nicknamed "Captain Trips", to the outside world. Campion crashes his car at a gas station in East Texas where Stu Redman (Gary Sinise) and some friends have gathered. When they investigate, they find Campion dying of the flu next to his wife and baby, who are already dead. Campion tells Stu with his dying breath that he was followed from the base by a mysterious figure, and states "You can't outrun the Dark Man". While the other townspeople become sick, Stu remains healthy and is confined at a CDC facility in Vermont order to study a possible cure. This proves futile and the superflu rages unchecked, causing civilization to collapse and killing over 99% of the population.

After the infection runs its course, a small group of immune survivors lies scattered across the country. These include rock star Larry Underwood (Adam Storke), who has just had his big break but is now stranded in New York City; Nick Andros (Rob Lowe) a deaf man in the Midwest; Frannie Goldsmith (Molly Ringwald) a teenager in Ogunquit, Maine; Lloyd Henreid (Miguel Ferrer) a criminal stuck in a prison cell; and "Trashcan Man" (Matt Frewer) a mentally ill scavenger. The survivors soon begin having visions, either from kindly Mother Abagail (Ruby Dee) or from the demonic Randall Flagg (Jamey Sheridan). The two sets of survivors are instructed to either travel to Nebraska to meet Mother Abagail, or to Las Vegas to join Flagg.

As their journeys begin, Lloyd is freed from prison by Flagg in exchange for becoming his second in command. Trashcan Man, who is a pyromaniac, destroys a set of fuel tanks outside of Des Moines in order to win Flagg's favor. Larry escapes New York and meets a mysterious woman named Nadine Cross (Laura San Giacomo). Despite their mutual attraction, Nadine is unable to consummate a relationship with Larry because of her visions of Flagg, who commands her to join him as his concubine. Nadine eventually leaves Larry to travel on her own. Stu escapes from the CDC facility and gathers a group of survivors, including Frannie; Harold Lauder (Corin Nemec) a hometown acquaintance of Frannie's; and Glen Bateman (Ray Walston), a retired college professor.

As the group travels west, Harold grows frustrated at the way that Stu has assumed leadership and grown close to Frannie. Meanwhile, Nick makes his way across the Midwest, eventually joined by Tom Cullen (Bill Fagerbakke) a gentle mentally challenged man. Eventually, Nick's group reaches Mother Abagail's farm in Hemingford Home, Nebraska. She tells them of a great conflict is imminent and that they must all travel on to Boulder, Colorado. There, the various survivors, including Stu, Frannie, and Larry, join with others to form a new community based around Mother Abagail's teachings. Meanwhile, Flagg sets up his own autocratic society in Las Vegas.

Initially, all is well in Boulder. However, Frannie discovers that she is pregnant by her ex-boyfriend, causing her anxiety because she is not sure whether her child will be immune to the superflu. Meanwhile, Harold grows increasingly dissatisfied with his life in Boulder and begins experiencing visions from Flagg. He is soon seduced by Nadine, and decides to follow Flagg's dictates. Mother Abagail, now the spiritual center of Boulder, becomes convinced that she has fallen into the sin of pride, and leaves town to walk in the wilderness. Mother Abagail returns to town and, before passing away, tells Stu, Larry, Glen, and fellow council member Ralph Brentner that they must travel to Las Vegas to confront Flagg.

With winter fast approaching, the four men set out on their quest. While crossing a washed out road, Stu breaks his leg and stays behind while the others continue. Larry, Glen, and Ralph are soon captured by Flagg's forces and temporarily imprisoned, although Glen is later shot to death for refusing to betray the Boulder group in exchange for his life. Larry and Ralph however, are forced to endure a show trial before being publicly executed in Fremont Street. As they are being tortured, to the delight of Flagg's acolytes, Trashcan Man arrives with a stolen nuclear weapon. As Flagg transforms into a demonic visage, a spectral hand reaches out and detonates the bomb, destroying Las Vegas and apparently killing Flagg. Stu is rescued by Tom, who takes him to a nearby cabin to heal as winter sets in. They eventually return to Boulder in the midst of a blinding snow storm.While Stu was away, Frannie gives birth to a baby who had caught the flu. When Stu arrives back home, the baby who is named Abagail (named after Mother Abagail) survives the flu.


King casting connections[edit]


Stephen King's The Stand (Original Television Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album (Digital download)/Audio CD by W. G. Snuffy Walden
Released May 24, 1994
Length 46:40
Label Varèse Sarabande

Credits & personnel[edit]

  • Music Composed By: W. G. Snuffy Walden
  • Executive Producer: Robert Townson
  • Produced By: W. G. Snuffy Walden
  • Music Recorded & Mixed By: Ray Pyle & Avram Kipper at O'Henry Studios, Devonshire Studios & Taylor Made Studios
  • Music Editor: Allan K. Rosen
  • Synclavier Programming By: Mark Morgan
  • Orchestrations By: Don Davis & John Dickson
  • Scoring Contractors: Paul Zimmitti & Debbi Datz
  • Principal Musicians:
    • Guitar: W. G. Snuffy Walden and Dean Parks
    • Piano: Randy Kerber
    • Percussion: Michael Fisher
    • Woodwinds: Jon Clarke
    • Violin: Charlie Bisharat

Track listing[edit]

Stephen King's The Stand [Original Television Soundtrack]
No. Title Length
1. "Project Blue"   1:33
2. "The Dream Begins"   2:08
3. "On the Road To Kansas"   3:57
4. "The Trashmen In Vegas"   1:58
5. "Headin' West"   1:56
6. "Larry & Nadine (The Rejection)"   2:38
7. "Mother Abigail"   3:10
8. ""Sorry Mister, I Don't Understand" (Tom & Nick Meet)"   2:55
9. "Mid Country: By the Stream"   3:22
10. "Mother Greets the Multitudes"   1:26
11. "M-O-O-N...That Spells Suicide"   2:13
12. ""One Will Fall by the Way""   3:44
13. "Beginning of the End"   3:22
14. "The Stand"   3:46
15. "Tom & Stu Go Home"   2:34
16. ""Ain't She Beautiful""   6:00
Total length:

Casting and production notes[edit]

Moses Gunn had originally been cast as Judge Farris, but shortly after filming had commenced his health declined, and he died shortly after that. Ossie Davis was present at the filming because his wife, Ruby Dee, was playing Mother Abagail. Davis took over the role of Judge Farris.[1]

Having both starred in previous film adaptations of King's works, Ed Harris and Kathy Bates both had small, uncredited roles in the early parts of the series. Bates's character, Rae Flowers, was originally a man (Ray Flowers), but when Bates became available, the role was rewritten as a woman by King, who wanted her to play the part. Signs at her radio station feature the logo of WZON, a real-life radio station in Bangor, Maine, that is owned by King. Harris plays the Army general in charge of the original bio-weapons project who kills himself after the failure of the disease containment means most of the human population will die.

Rob Lowe had been originally considered for the role of Larry Underwood, but Garris felt that having him in the more unusual role of the mute Nick Andros would better suit the production. Adam Storke ended up with the role of Underwood, where his musical skills were an asset.[1]

Miguel Ferrer, who played Lloyd Henreid, was originally interested in the role of Randall Flagg, but the sights were initially set on actors such as Christopher Walken, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe and James Woods. Stephen King wanted someone that the audience "wasn't terribly familiar with." After Ferrer heard that Jamey Sheridan had been offered the part, but wasn't sure it was something he wanted to do, Ferrer convinced him to take the part.[1]

Production Designer Nelson Coates, who garnered an Emmy nomination for his design work, created all 225 sets for the miniseries. Faced with prices of $40 per stalk for New York-made fake cornstalks, Coates opted instead to grow 3,250 cornstalks as a cost-cutting measure; when a winter storm hit Utah, the reproduction of a Nebraska house with cornfield became complicated by the fact that the harsh weather did not allow the corn crop to grow taller than 4 feet.[2]

Originally, parts of the miniseries were to be filmed on location in Boulder, Colorado. After the passage of Colorado Amendment 2, which nullified local gay rights laws, the production was moved to Utah in protest.[3]

Deviations from the novel[edit]

Character omissions and alterations[edit]

Some characters who appeared in the Complete and Uncut version of the novel were omitted from the TV miniseries, as already with the huge cast, having the film be over six hours long, and the fact that the uncut version came out only four years before the film was released. On the DVD commentary, it is stated that the screenplay is based on the original, shortened version of the novel.[1] However, one of the noted additions from the later 1990 "Complete And Uncut" edition is the section detailing what occurred in the Project Blue facility (which unleashed the superflu). Early in the film, Fran Goldsmith's mother, Carla, is omitted. Her boyfriend, Jesse (father of her child), is also not seen in the film but is mentioned in passing by Fran, Harold Lauder, and Peter Goldsmith. Jane Baker, the wife of Sheriff Baker, whom Nick Andros cares for during the superflu epidemic is also omitted, instead only referred to in passing. The somewhat notable character of "The Kid", a young sociopath who has a key role in Trashcan Man's journey towards Las Vegas was only added to the extended cut of the novel. The old man, his counterpart in the original version, was not included in the film version either. Harold Lauder is not overweight in the series but is instead portrayed as a stereotypical nerd.

Several minor characters in the novel were combined into one character, maintaining the plot elements but simplifying the story somewhat. Col. Dick Deitz and Dr. Elder are merged into the character of Dr. Deitz at the Stovington, Vermont Disease Center. Rita Blakemoor, Larry's original companion during his exit from New York, was combined with the character of Nadine Cross. Elements of the character of Perion McCarthy are expressed by Dayna Jurgens in the miniseries.

Also, in the novel, Teddy Weizak dies from wounds sustained during the bombing of Ralph Brentner's house; however, no such fate befalls him in the series, as he is shown to be alive and well at the end of the film and is even one of the men present when Stuart Redman and Tom Cullen return to Boulder.

Plot differences[edit]

Early in the miniseries, key elements of the story are not expanded in the same way as the novel.

Fran Goldsmith's pregnancy is not actually raised as an issue until the third part of the series, long after the flu epidemic has played out; this contrasts with the novel where the pregnancy drives Fran's story from the very beginning. Unlike the novel, neither Fran's father Peter nor the baby's father Jess Rider (who does not appear in the TV series at all) are told of the news, and neither is Fran's mother's horrified reaction covered (the mother being previously deceased in the TV series).

Harold Lauder begins the novel as obese, but burns the weight off on the journey, while the actor playing Harold (Corin Nemec) is naturally slim from the beginning. In the novel, his jealous act of revenge toward Fran and Stu is fueled by reading Fran's diary which belittles him, whereas this plot element is omitted in the miniseries. Instead it's when Harold views Fran and Stu together by the creek.

In the Uncut edition of the book, a group of crazed, racist thugs takes over a TV station and executes hostages on live television after reading their reason for doing so. This is omitted from the series. Although the miniseries does have a scene where armed guards storm a radio station and kill the show's female host.

Stu Redman's experience at Vermont is for the most part in line with the novel, although the characters of Dr Deitz and Dr Elder are combined (with Deitz being much less sympathetic to Stu in the TV series). Although the outcome is essentially the same in both (Stu kills Deitz/Elder in apparent self-defense before making his escape), in the TV series Deitz openly makes his intention to kill Stu known, and the confrontation is more drawn-out and violent. In the novel, it is left more ambiguous - Elder does not ever state what his intentions are; Stu even has doubts afterwards over whether Elder had been there to kill him or to free him.

In the novel, it is Nadine Cross who initially takes care of "Joe" (Leo Rockway). In the mini-series, Nadine and "Joe" have no interaction. Nadine has left Larry Underwood by the time Larry teams up with "Joe" and Lucy Swann. Nadine also takes on the role of Rita Blakemoor; Larry meets her in New York, where they journey out of the city together. Nadine and Larry part ways not long after leaving the city. Unlike Rita's character, who fatally overdoses in the novel, Nadine simply leaves in the middle of the night because of the conflict between her desire to be with Larry and her destiny to be with Flagg. Nadine and Larry do not meet again until her arrival in Boulder, and thus the "love triangle" aspect of Larry/Nadine/Lucy is downplayed.

In the novel, Julie Lawry and Nick have sex and she tries to get Nick to leave Tom behind. In the miniseries, almost all of the sexual nature is left out. Julie and Nick have a brief moment of intimate hugging in the drug store, and Julie is left behind after she says the medicine Nick tries to give Tom is poison.

Fran's baby is a boy in the uncut version and is named Peter after her father, yet in the miniseries she has a girl which she names Abagail after Mother Abagail.

Judge Farris travels to Boulder as part of Larry Underwood's party in the novel; however in the TV series he travels with Stu Redman's group. However despite this, it is still Larry who later nominates and approaches the Judge to ask him to go to Las Vegas as a spy for the Boulder Free Zone - however whereas in the novel Larry's nomination is entirely serious, in the TV series Larry is initially being sarcastic when he makes the suggestion, and is horrified when it is subsequently taken seriously by the Free Zone Committee.

The nomination of the childlike Tom Cullen as the third spy gives rise to a notable scene in the novel where it touches on one of Stephen King's main themes of society repeating the same mistakes as their predecessors; there ensues a heated debate within the Free Zone Committee as Fran Goldsmith furiously argues that they cannot take advantage of Tom's simpleness by "programming" him to become a weapon, nor send someone in who would have no real idea of what they were walking into, and points out the Free Zone Committee are behaving no better than their political predecessors who caused the flu apocalypse in the first place. However in the TV series no such argument is shown at all, and the Free Zone Committee members appear relatively at peace with their decision.

In the novel, Nadine taunts Flagg about missing Tom as the third spy, so much that he is overcome with rage and tosses her off the balcony of the penthouse. In the series, Nadine slowly climbs up the wall of the balcony and falls backwards purposely as Flagg lunges at her trying to stop her suicide.

Several of the more graphic scenes in the novel were eliminated because of their violence and sexual nature in the TV adaptation. The entire plot line concerning the "female zoo" that Stu Redman's party encounters is omitted, with the relevant characters (Dayna Jurgens and Sue Stern) being folded into the storyline through other means. Of course, this plot line was not in the original novel at all and was only featured in the expanded edition that came out later. Another omission involves the Flagg-ordered execution of a drug user who violates one of the rules set up by Flagg's society, by openly demonstrating the execution in front of everyone to their horror, particularly Lloyd Henreid's. Director Mick Garris also felt that the crime spree and eventual capture of Lloyd and Poke Freeman was most compromised by the requirements of television.[1]

Dayna Jurgens's bisexuality is not addressed in the miniseries and neither is the discussion in the novel between Frannie and Stu about how Stu, as the new sheriff, will not enforce the anti-gay "blue laws".

There are other minor differences between the two versions; most of the alterations made for the miniseries were made to move along the progression of the storyline. The characters from Arnette are moved directly to Vermont, instead of going to Atlanta for initial treatment, for example. Nick's time in Shoyo is similarly compressed, with Ray Booth representing most of the action, which was originally split between several of the thugs who beat him up. Larry goes on foot to escape from New York City, which is developed much more in depth with the novel, such as encountering other survivors.

The miniseries does not specify what year the story takes place. It is evidently set a few years later than either version of the novel, because Larry Underwood makes a brief reference to the Rodney King police brutality incident. During the first Free Zone Committee meeting, Ralph Brentner also makes mention of a SCUD missile, a phrase which didn't enter popular culture until Operation Desert Storm in 1991.

In the end of the Complete & Uncut version of the novel, Randall Flagg wakes up on a beach on an island in another universe where he encounters a group of tribesmen. This is not shown in the series.

Awards and nominations[edit]

1994 Casting Society of America (Artios)[edit]

  • Won – Best Mini Series Casting: Lynn Kressel

1994 Emmy Awards[edit]

  • Won – Outstanding Makeup For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Special:
    Steve Johnson, Bill Corso, David Dupuis, Joel Harlow, Camille Calvet
  • Won – Outstanding Sound Mixing For A Miniseries or a Movie:
    Grand Maxwell, Michael Ruschak, Richard Schexnayder, Don Summer
  • Nominated – Outstanding Art Direction For A Miniseries, Or Movie:
    Nelson Coates, Burton Rencher, Michael Perry, Susan Benjamin
  • Nominated – Outstanding Cinematography For A Miniseries Or Movie: Edward J. Pei
  • Nominated – Outstanding Miniseries: Richard P. Rubinstein, Stephen King, Mitchell Galin, Peter R. McIntosh
  • Nominated – Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Dramatic Underscore): W.G. Walden

1995 Screen Actors Guild Awards[edit]

  • Nominated – Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Gary Sinise


The Stand was released as two separate VHS tapes for Parts 1-2, 3-4 originally in New Zealand and Australia, and later as a two VHS set.

The Stand was released on 3 Laser Discs in a box set.

The Stand was released on DVD by Artisan Entertainment in a two-disc release and a single disc DVD. Both DVD versions have audio commentary and special features. Both the double disc and single disc releases of The Stand are out of print, but can still be purchased online. The DVD was re-released on June 18th, 2013.

In 2006, American DVD rights reverted to Paramount Pictures/CBS DVD. Paramount has not yet released a standalone version of The Stand, but has released it as part of a collection with The Langoliers and Golden Years. This release of The Stand lacks the audio commentary.

The underlying international rights to The Stand were once owned by Warner Bros. Television.

Netflix offered its users the choice to instantly stream "The Stand" from mid-2011 until July 2013.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d e Stephen King, Mick Garris (1999). Stephen King's The Stand (DVD). Artisan. 
  2. ^ Michael Booth. "5 Points a star: Hollywood action invades Denver neighborhood", The Denver Post, August 27, 1994, page A1.
  3. ^ Dusty Saundes. "Amendment 2 Drives Film's Makers Away" Rocky Mountain News, May 8, 1994

External links[edit]