I have to disagree, and since the TV show is being watched by more than Stephen King and the producers of the show, it would behoove them to think about their "audience."
You also have to think about why one would make a tv show or movie out of a novel. Is it because no one can write anything original or is it because the novel was popular and people would like to see it come to life? It's the latter. So when that doesn't happen, it's jarring.
It's kind of like when the Fugees did a remake of Roberta Flack's "Killing me Softly." Roberta's version of that song is iconic and definitive. The Fugees version was interesting, but most people, at least of my generation did not want to hear it...I changed the station every time it would come on.
It's also like remakes of movies. The original "Amityville Horror" was great, the remake not so much. If we go by Stephen King's theory, the original is still there to watch. But that doesn't change the awful experience when watching the remake, and it doesn't change our experience when we're watching "Under the Dome" and something is glaringly different than what our fondness for the book remembers.
Lots of "artistic" people in Hollywood feel the need to change things just for the sake of changing them; they want to put their mark on it. In my mind, that's very selfish. While I'm all for being artistic, the artist has to remember their audience.
I'm really happy that the story is different. This isn't a miniseries; it's an ongoing series inspired by the novel. I think of it in the same light as The Dead Zone series. I think it would be pretty boring for me as a viewer if the story unfolded exactly the same way as it does in the book -- I'm looking forward to surprises and unexpected developments.
Wow - didn't know so many had a problem with the series. I'm loving it so far. As always thanks to Uncle Steve for taking time out of his busy day to calm down the kids...
Did someone say "coconut cream pie"?
Steve asked me to post this to, hopefully, address the concerns of those of the viewers who are having some problems with the changes that have been made in the TV series:
For those of you out there in Constant Reader Land who are feeling miffed because the TV version of Under the Dome varies considerably from the book version, here’s a little story.
Near the end of his life, and long after his greatest novels were written, James M. Cain agreed to be interviewed by a student reporter who covered culture and the arts for his college newspaper. This young man began his time with Cain by bemoaning how Hollywood had changed books such as The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity. Before he could properly get into his rant, the old man interrupted him by pointing to a shelf of books behind his desk. “The movies didn’t change them a bit, son,” he said. “They’re all right up there. Every word is the same as when I wrote them.”
I feel the same way about Under the Dome. If you loved the book when you first read it, it’s still there for your perusal. But that doesn’t mean the TV series is bad, because it’s not. In fact, it’s very good. And, if you look closely, you’ll see that most of my characters are still there, although some have been combined and others have changed jobs. That’s also true of the big stuff, like the supermarket riot, the reason for all that propane storage, and the book’s thematic concerns with diminishing resources.
Many of the changes wrought by Brian K. Vaughan and his team of writers have been of necessity, and I approved of them wholeheartedly. Some have been occasioned by their plan to keep the Dome in place over Chester’s Mill for months instead of little more than a week, as is the case in the book. Other story modifications are slotting into place because the writers have completely re-imagined the source of the Dome.
That such a re-imagining had to take place was my only serious concern when the series was still in the planning stages, and that concern was purely practical. If the solution to the mystery were the same on TV as in the book, everyone would know it in short order, which would spoil a lot of the fun (besides, plenty of readers didn’t like my solution, anyway). By the same token, it would spoil things if you guys knew the arcs of the characters in advance. Some who die in the book—Angie, for instance—live in the TV version of Chester’s Mill…at least for awhile. And some who live in the book may not be as lucky during the run of the show. Just sayin’.
Listen, I’ve always been a situational writer. My idea of what to do with a plot is to shoot it before it can breed. It’s true that when I start a story, I usually have a general idea of where it’s going to finish up, but in many cases I end up in a different place entirely (for instance, I fully expected Ben Mears to die at the end of ’Salem’s Lot, and Susannah Dean was supposed to pop off at the end of Song of Susannah). “The book is the boss,” Alfred Bester used to say, and what that means to me is the situation is the boss. If you play fair with the characters—and let them play their parts according to their strengths and weaknesses—you can never go wrong. It’s impossible.
There’s only one element of my novel that absolutely had to be the same in the novel and the show, and that’s the Dome itself. It’s best to think of that novel and what you’re seeing week-to-week on CBS as a case of fraternal twins. Both started in the same creative womb, but you will be able to tell them apart. Or, if you’re of a sci-fi bent, think of them as alternate versions of the same reality.
As for me, I’m enjoying the chance to watch that alternate reality play out; I still think there’s no place like Dome.
As for you, Constant Reader, feel free to take the original down from your bookshelf anytime you want. Nothing between the covers has changed a bit.
Your comparison of the TV show Under the Dome vs the novel as an original to a remake is faulty. Making a movie from a movie, or rearranging of a song from an original song, is easy compared to making a movie from a book. I imagine making a movie series from a book is even more of a challenge. I think Steve explains some of those inherent challenges in his post.
I agree that sometimes TV producers take too much liberty, have too little imagination, are too bad at storytelling to be capable of being faithful to the heart of any story, original or not. I think Steve's post explains why this is not the case with the Under the Dome TV series.