THE SHOW "Under the Dome"
WHEN | WHERE Second-season premiere Monday night at 10 on CBS/2
WHAT IT'S ABOUT To briefly catch up, the Dome that sits over Chester's Mill has literally hatched an egg -- which Julia (Rachelle Lefevre) dropped into a lake last season, prompting a Dome reaction: Just as Big Jim (Dean Norris) is about to hang "Barbie" (Mike Vogel) -- part of his devious plot to take control of the town -- the lights literally go up. Tonight, a mysterious newcomer, Sam Verdreaux (Eddie Cahill) arrives. What does he know about Jim's son, Junior (Alexander Koch), and who is the poor (and also mysterious) waif, Melanie Cross (Grace Victoria Cox) whom Julia saves from drowning? Based on the Stephen King book of the same name, this very loose adaptation was a big winner for CBS last summer.
MY SAY Fool 12 million viewers once, fool them twice? No reason why not, and with King writing Monday night's episode and also appearing in a cameo, that number might conceivably grow. King, after all, is ratings magic: A great American writer who also knows how to make TV chum for the chumps if he's of a mind to. "Under the Dome's" welcome, however, is starting to wear a bit thin.
Some excellent special effects are in Monday night's episode, but nothing particularly shocking because it's become abundantly clear by now that The Dome can do any damn thing The Dome -- or the writers -- want. Twiddle its thumbs? Do a soft shoe? Rain down jelly beans? Whatever. Tonight, The Dome brings back the dead, makes people faint and sucks up a bunch of metal stuff into one noisy crunch. The Dome was angry. Do not make The Dome angry.
The problem with this sort of narrative strrrretch is that when the payoff finally arrives -- hopefully by season's end -- it's been upstaged or rendered irrelevant by all the plot flimflammery that preceded it. King even seemed to warn against this sort of plot hyper-drive in a letter to fans a year ago: "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."
Poor, silly "Dome" has been breeding like a drunken rabbit. Does anyone else have an itchy trigger finger yet?
BOTTOM LINE Under the dumb.