Stephen King's sprawling post-apocalyptic soap opera becomes a TV mini series. I use the expression because the story's vast cast of characters frequently involve us, the audience (or "constant reader", if you prefer), in their domestic affairs. But that's fine, because - as is often the case with King - every character has a part to play in a story which appears deceptively simple, but has more complexity to it than immediately meets the eye. The TV miniseries format suits the size of the novel (400 previously excised pages were re-inserted in a revised and updated version), which tells the story of the few survivors of a super-flu plague grouping together into "goodies" and "baddies" enclaves, each of which has some sort of supernatural behind-the-scenes element, on the way to a potentially devastating confrontation. Some of the casting is inspired, but some of it is massively wide of the mark: much as I like Gary Sinise, he is too lightweight and furtive to convince as Stu Redman. and Mother Abigail's portentous utterances of taking a "Stayund" provoked laughter in our house. Worst of all - and, to be fair, it's not a big "worst" - is the fact that the miniseries trails off into low key anticlimax. In this, it is simply reflecting the book.