The CBS sci-fi thriller, ‘Under the Dome’ returns June 30 for a much-anticipated second season. Will this season be able to match expectations?
Under the Dome, the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, is back on June 30 for its second season. Chester’s Mill is a seemingly perfect, all-American town in Maine until a massive dome cuts them off from the rest of the world. The second season continues to follow the citizens stuck in the dome as resources decrease. So, what are the critics saying about the new season?
‘Under The Dome’ Reviews
In the second series premiere of Under the Dome, residents are hit with yet another challenge. The dome is magnetic and is attracting all of the metal, big or small, in the town to its walls — and sends huge tractors hurling through the air.
Is the thriller too unrealistic? Will it be able to survive another season? Read the critics’ response below, then let us know — will you tune in?
Under the Dome gradually evolved into a kind of big old summer cartoon last year, and that’s how it picks up as we start season two Monday night. Just as the normal rules stopped applying in Chester’s Mill when the dome slammed down, the writers don’t seem to be feel bound by any regular rules of character. Like if you’re dead, maybe that doesn’t mean you’re really dead. Just like in the cartoons. Fans of “Dome,” and there are many, have never expected the acting to reach award-level, largely because of the dialogue, and hey, a lot of times it’s more entertaining that way.
Ultimately, the premiere — while moving along briskly enough — doesn’t add much of anything to the audience’s understanding of the show’s fundamental mystery: why this giant dome formed over the small town of Chester’s Mill, and what its purpose might be, though the characters do increasingly talk about “the dome” like it’s a sentient being. As for plots, in the opener the dome becomes magnetized, pulling everything metal in its direction. Visually, this development is hell on furniture, but not terribly exciting to watch.
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.
As with so many Stephen King TV projects, this ambitious CBS summer effort started out well before collapsing into incoherent silliness, with the dome becoming more sensible and sentient than the increasingly unfathomable characters it’s covering. In its second-season return, the show completes its creative self-immolation, courtesy of a script from King himself that ups the Dome ante on risible dialogue. On the plus side, there are a few decent set pieces, led by an attack by a magnetized kitchen that is fun as long as you don’t think too deeply about the logic behind it, and a few new characters to spice up the mix. That may just barely be enough to allow Dome to maintain its status as an empty-calorie treat — but only because it’s shaping up to be a long, hot TV summer where treats are few and far between.
Even if the novel serves as a template, Under the Dome often has the quality of making things up on the fly in the grand tradition of shows that like to string viewers along — and viewers who like to be strung along. (They exist!) In my more accepting moments, I see Under the Dome less as a TV show and more as a campfire game in which someone tells a small part of a horror story and then it’s up to the next person to keep the story going, no matter how ludicrously.
Chester’s Mill, ME, where apparently the state of Maine has rounded up every sociopath, drug addict, and moron and left them to die. Seriously, Chester’s Mill is so dysfunctional in this series it makes moving to Castle Rock seem like a good idea.
— Noelle Trainor