‘Dome’ a La King, Under Glass

under-the-domeIf it wasn’t from Stephen King, “Under the Dome” (CBS, 10 p.m.) would be laughed off pretty quickly, even as summertime fare.

The series about a town that has a glass bowl suddenly cover it is, at a certain point, as stuck as the people inside.

Normally makers of such fare (which would include everything from “BioDome” to “The Simpsons Movie” would spend some time introducing all the various characters you’ll be stuck with once the disaster falls. That happens rather quickly, though and the dome crashes down 10 minutes into the premiere.

Its first effect is in slicing a standing cow exactly in half so that the half inside the dome slides down and the one outside still stands, Damien Hirst style. Grisly yes, but there will be a Burger King ad coming soon enough, so pipe down.

Other than the car selling city councilman played by Dean Norris who is so good as the cop brother-in-law in “Breaking Bad” there are very few people to initially care about. A guy who was burying a body is suddenly stuck in a place he wanted very badly to leave. A bratty girl from California with two moms just driving through. A radio DJ is glad there’s no more competition from outside stations. A newspaper editor who hasn’t heard newspapers are dead. a diabolical police chief who smells of town malfeasance.

While sharp enough to cut the cow in half, the dome itself is not exactly glass; it may be just a force field. Either way you can’t hear people on the outside, no matter how you try.

It’s like having the TV on with the sound off. They can do all kinds of things through the glass but they can never get out and you can never hear them. It’s kind of comforting.

The difference between “Under the Dome” and any SyFy channel B-movie is that there apparently won’t be a hybrid monster and it won’t find its too easy solution within a couple of hours. More like 13. And if there are further seasons, more of King’s massive book, the first thing he ever wrote, will go on.

Bail now.

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