Under the Dome (TV series)

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This article is about the American science fiction drama based on Stephen King's novel. For the documentary on air pollution in China, see Under the Dome (film).
Under the Dome
Under the Dome intertitle.jpg
Genre
Based on Under the Dome 
by Stephen King
Developed by Brian K. Vaughan
Starring
Composer(s)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 39 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
Producer(s) Randy Sutter
Editor(s) Timothy A. Good
Cinematography Cort Fey
Running time 43 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor CBS Television Distribution
Release
Original network CBS
Picture format HDTV
Original release June 24, 2013 (2013-06-24) – September 10, 2015 (2015-09-10)
External links
Official website

Under the Dome is an American science fiction mystery drama television series. It premiered on CBS on June 24, 2013,[1] and concluded on September 10, 2015.[2] The series was developed by Brian K. Vaughan and based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King.

Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the fictional small town of Chester's Mill, when a massive, transparent, indestructible dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world. Military forces, the government, and the media positioned outside the barrier attempt to break it down, while the residents trapped inside must find their own ways to survive with diminishing resources and rising tensions. A small group of people inside the dome must also unravel complicated mysteries in order to figure out what the dome is, where it came from, and when (and if) it will go away.

Under the Dome was an instant success for the network; the premiere in June 2013 broke the record as the most-watched summer drama premiere on any television network since 1992.[3] The show continued to enjoy high viewership ratings throughout its first season,[4] but the second and third seasons of the series saw significant declines in live viewership.[5][6] Initially, Under the Dome had a positive critical reception, which changed into mixed reviews as the series progressed.[7][8]

Under the Dome came to a conclusion in September 2015. Over three seasons, 39 episodes were produced. Executive producer and showrunner Neal Baer stated in an interview after the finale aired: "I’m very happy with this ending. I feel very satisfied. We made it so there could be another [season]… but it wasn’t necessary."[9]

Cast and characters[edit]

The cast members portray characters who were mostly taken from the original novel, "although some have been combined and others have changed jobs".[10][11]

Main[edit]

  • Mike Vogel as Dale "Barbie" Barbara, an Iraq War veteran visiting Chester's Mill[12]
  • Rachelle Lefevre as Julia Shumway, an investigative reporter who becomes romantically involved with Barbie[12]
  • Natalie Martinez as Linda Esquivel, a loyal and ambitious deputy who is appointed sheriff by Big Jim (seasons 1–2)[12]
  • Britt Robertson as Angie McAlister, Joe's older sister who works as a waitress and volunteers as a candy striper with dreams of escaping Chester's Mill (seasons 1–2)[12]
  • Alexander Koch as James "Junior" Rennie, Big Jim's son and deputy sheriff[12]
  • Nicholas Strong as Phil Bushey, a popular radio DJ, then acting sheriff (seasons 1–2)[12]
  • Colin Ford as Joe McAlister, a teenager whose parents are outside of the dome; younger brother of Angie[12]
  • Jolene Purdy as Dorothy "Dodee" Weaver, a radio engineer who makes contact with the outside world (regular: season 1, guest: season 2)[12]
  • Aisha Hinds as Carolyn Hill, a Los Angeles entertainment attorney, trapped in Chester's Mill (regular: season 1, recurring: seasons 2–3)[12]
  • Jeff Fahey as Howard "Duke" Perkins, Sheriff of Chester's Mill (season 1)[12]
  • Dean Norris as James "Big Jim" Rennie, a town councilman and used-car dealer[12]
  • Mackenzie Lintz as Eleanor "Norrie" Calvert-Hill, Alice's and Carolyn's daughter and Joe's love interest (recurring: season 1, regular: seasons 2–3)[12]
  • Eddie Cahill as Sam Verdreaux, a reclusive EMT, and brother-in-law of Big Jim (seasons 2–3)[13]
  • Karla Crome as Rebecca Pine, a high school science teacher who is studying the dome (season 2)[13]
  • Kylie Bunbury as Eva Sinclair, a young anthropologist who has mysteriously arrived in Chester's Mill, and also as Dawn, the daughter of Eva and Dale and the new queen of the Kinship (season 3)[14][15]

Recurring[edit]

  • John Elvis as Ben Drake, Joe's best friend (seasons 1–3)
  • Dale Raoul as Andrea Grinell, a local widow of a hoarder; suspicious about the numerous propane trucks coming into town (seasons 1–2)
  • R. Keith Harris as Peter Shumway, Julia's husband (seasons 1–2)
  • Megan Ketch as Harriet Arnold, Julia's friend; gives birth after touching the dome (seasons 1–3)
  • Grace Victoria Cox as Melanie Cross, one of the original four hands who was killed in 1988; brought back to life by the dome (seasons 2–3)[13]
  • Brett Cullen as Don Barbara, the estranged father of Barbie; works for Aktaion Energy and is outside the dome (seasons 2–3)[16]
  • Max Ehrich as Hunter May, a computer hacker who works for Don Barbara; is inside the dome (after initially being outside) (seasons 2–3)[16]

Development and production[edit]

Initial planning and announcement[edit]

The project was first announced in November 2009, but it was not until two years later that Brian K. Vaughan was hired to adapt the novel as a series, then set up at cable network Showtime.[20][21] Showtime entertainment president David Nevins felt that the series was not right for the network and suggested to Nina Tassler, his CBS counterpart, that she take on the project. Tassler was interested and picked up the series along with attaching veteran television producer Neal Baer, who was under contract at CBS, as the showrunner. It was announced in November 2012 that CBS had bypassed ordering a pilot and given Under the Dome a 13-episode straight-to-series commitment. "This is a great novel coming to the television screen with outstanding auspices and in-season production values to create a summer programming event," commented Tassler in the official CBS press release.[22]

On January 12, 2013, CBS released their summer 2013 schedule, which revealed that Under the Dome would premiere on June 24, 2013.[1]

A teaser trailer was created specially for the 2013 Super Bowl. Instead of showing footage, the teaser directed viewers to the show's official website, where they could enter their street address and postal code to view photos of what their homes and neighborhood would look like "under the dome".[23]

Production[edit]

In the first season, Brian K. Vaughan and Stephen King served as executive producers along with Neal Baer, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Jack Bender, Steven Spielberg, and Stacey Snider. Danish director Niels Arden Oplev produced and directed the pilot. Baer served as the showrunner for the series.[24] Vaughan exited the series before the premiere of season two, citing personal reasons. However, he had helped plan the second season with Baer and King before he left.[25] Tim Schlattmann joined the series as an executive producer for season three.[26]

On the night of the series premiere, entertainment website Vulture published an article about the economics of Under the Dome; in order to bring the expensive production (an estimated $3 million per episode) to life, CBS had struck a deal with Amazon Video that would bring new episodes to the platform four days after they debuted on CBS. That deal, estimated at $750,000 for each episode, covered one quarter of each episode's estimated production cost. Additionally, the article says that foreign markets also played an important role in the financing, bringing in approximately $1.9 million, and with the North Carolina state tax credits the show earned for filming in the state, an estimated $400,000, meant CBS had already earned back the money they paid for each episode before the episodes even aired on TV. CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves described the deals: "Combining Amazon with the international syndication deal makes Under the Dome profitable immediately".[27]

On July 29, 2013, the series was renewed for a 13-episode second season, with executive producer and Under the Dome novel writer Stephen King announced to be writing the second season premiere episode.[28] King also made a cameo appearance in the episode, as a customer in the Sweetbriar Rose diner.

On October 9, 2014, the series was renewed for a third season.[29] Following information from CBS entertainment chairman Nina Tassler in August 2015 that "The Dome is coming down at the end of this season”, speculation started that the third season would also be the final season.[30] Later the same month, CBS confirmed that the third season would be the last.[2]

In an interview after the series finale aired, executive producer and showrunner Neal Baer said he was "very happy with this ending. I feel very satisfied. We made it so there could be another [season]… but it wasn’t necessary."[9]

Baer had previously stated in an interview in October 2013 that he knew what the ending of the show would be, and that five seasons of thirteen episodes would be an ideal length.[31] Despite this, when the series ended in 2015 after only three seasons, Baer said a potential fourth season would've been a "real challenge", as the third season finale left the show in a situation where he questioned ""Then what?” Would we do the same thing again?"[9]

CBS affiliate WRAL-TV reported August 10, 2015, that tours around the show sets in the EUE/Screen Gems studio would be wrapping early, because the sets no longer used for the series were going to be torn down.[32][33]

On August 25, 2015, it was reported that the show's props would be sold on August 27–29, 2015.[34][35]

Filming[edit]

Filming for the series officially began in Southport and Wilmington, both in North Carolina, on February 28, 2013.[36][37][38] Additional filming took place in Burgaw.[39] It was confirmed on October 9, 2014 that even after extensive cuts to the state tax credits, filming would remain in the Wilmington area for the show's third season.[40]

Episodes[edit]

Season Episodes Originally aired Avg. viewers
(millions)
First aired Last aired
1 13 June 24, 2013 (2013-06-24) September 16, 2013 (2013-09-16) 11.19[41]
2 13 June 30, 2014 (2014-06-30) September 22, 2014 (2014-09-22) 7.17[42]
3 13 June 25, 2015 (2015-06-25) September 10, 2015 (2015-09-10) 4.70[43]

Reception[edit]

On June 27, 2013, King acknowledged that "the TV version of Under the Dome varies considerably from the book version", and called the series "very good" while commenting on some of those differences:[10]

Critical reception[edit]

Season 1[edit]

The first season has a score of 72/100, based on 35 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews", on review aggregator website Metacritic.[44] The season has a score of 81/100, based on 47 reviews, on film and TV review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes; the site's critical consensus for the season reads: "Under the Dome is an effective and engrossing horror/mystery with airtight plotting and great special effects."[45]

Positive reviews included Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter, who wrote that "the intriguing Stephen King adaption is filled with storytelling promise",[46] Glenn Garvin of the Miami Herald, who wrote that "based on the pilot episode — with its taut script, strong performances and special effects that are impressive without being overwhelming — there’s hope that Under The Dome might measure up to its unsettling print progenitor",[47] and Verne Gay of Newsday, who wrote that the show "looks like a summer winner".[48] A negative review came from Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe, who wrote that "so much is working against Under the Dome, it’s hard to get genuinely excited. While the arrival of the dome is intriguing, the characters are not".[49]

Season 2[edit]

The second season has a score of 52/100, based on 9 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews", on review aggregator website Metacritic.[7] The season has a score of 57/100, based on 14 reviews, on film and TV review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes; the site's critical consensus for the season reads: "Though it reins in some of the first season's absurdity and shows potential for improvement, Under the Dome's second season still feels like a ride with no closure."[8]

Negative reviews included Hank Stuever of The Washington Post, who wrote that "I just don’t buy Under the Dome, on any level. I think the story is a shambles and the concept is dumb",[50] and Verne Gay of Newsday, who wrote "Under the dumb".[51] However, other critics were more positive; Mark Dawidziak of The Plain Dealer wrote that "If not top-tier TV terror fare, Under the Dome certainly is solid second-level stuff. And given the state of horror on television these days, that's a bloody good compliment. Even while acknowledging the occasional misstep, give Under the Dome credit for getting a lot of things right",[52] while Sarah Rodman of The Boston Globe wrote that "there are glimmers of hope for season two".[53]

Season 3[edit]

Positive reviews included Ken Tucker of Yahoo, who wrote that "Under the Dome is certainly broadcast television’s most enjoyable science-fiction/fantasy series, a summer treat that, while sometimes silly and over-the-top, is never less than energetically imaginative and aware of the history of its genre",[54] Scott Von Doviak of The A.V. Club, who wrote that "this show is always more fun when it leans into its sci-fi elements",[55] and Paul Dailly of TV Fanatic, who wrote that "All things considered, this was a solid, if unspectacular return for the show".[56] Negative reviews included Kevin Yeoman of ScreenRant, who wrote that "There is a certain joy that comes from watching something as consistently moronic as Under the Dome",[57] and Tim Surette of TV.com, who wrote that "it takes balls to think your audience is so dumb and brain dead that you feel the need to explain the big twist in the episode that's about to happen before the episode even begins".[58]

Ratings[edit]

The Under the Dome series premiere aired June 24, 2013 and established new records. It was the highest-rated CBS summer premiere since Big Brother's 2000 season, the most-watched drama summer premiere on any television network since 1992, and the second highest rated premiere of the 2012–13 United States network television schedule after The Following.[3] With DVR viewership figures added, the series premiere was viewed by a total of 17.76 million viewers.[59]

Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes First aired Last aired TV season Avg. viewers
(millions)
18–49 rating
(average)
Date Viewers
(millions)
Date Viewers
(millions)
1 Monday 10 p.m. 13 June 24, 2013 (2013-06-24) 13.53[60] September 16, 2013 (2013-09-16) 12.10[61] 2012–13 11.19 2.7/8[4]
2 13 June 30, 2014 (2014-06-30) 9.41[62] September 22, 2014 (2014-09-22) 7.52[63] 2013–14 7.17 1.6/5[5]
3 Thursday 9 p.m. (1)
Thursday 10 p.m. (2–13)
13 June 25, 2015 (2015-06-25) 6.25[64] September 10, 2015 (2015-09-10) 4.23[65] 2014–15 4.70 1.0/4[6]
Under the Dome: Viewers per episode (millions)[a]

Season:     1 (2013)    2 (2014)    3 (2015)

Episodes Avg.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
S1 13.53 11.81 10.71 11.13 11.60 11.41 10.42 10.36 10.64 11.11 11.15 9.72 12.10 11.19
S2 9.41 7.70 7.64 6.74 6.57 6.83 6.90 7.30 6.60 6.29 6.62 7.04 7.52 7.17
S3 6.25 6.25 5.28 5.12 4.75 4.63 4.68 3.88 3.73 4.04 4.60 3.70 4.23 4.70
  1. ^ US viewers of the initial CBS airing.

Broadcast[edit]

In Canada, the series premiered on June 24, 2013, on Global Television Network.[66] In Australia, the series premiered on June 25, 2013, on Network Ten – just hours, calculating for time differences, after the U.S.,[67] and airs in repeat on TV H!TS since January 4, 2015.[68] The series premiered in the UK on August 19, 2013, on Channel 5.[69] The series premiered in Ireland on September 12, 2013, on RTÉ Two.[70]

Home media[edit]

Season Episodes DVD and Blu-ray release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
1 13 November 5, 2013[71] November 18, 2013[72] November 27, 2013[73]
2 13 December 9, 2014[74] December 29, 2014[75] December 3, 2014[76]
3 13 December 8, 2015[77] December 14, 2015[78] December 17, 2015[79]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]