Episode #32: Joyland and Under the Dome

This time around, a review of Joyland, the new Hard Case Crime paperback I previewed last episode, and also review the first two episodes of the CBS television production of Under the Dome.

Would love to know your thoughts on either or both of these new King releases. Tell me, either in a comment here or by email: thekingcast@gmail.com.

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2 Responses to “Episode #32: Joyland and Under the Dome”

  • ChrisC says:

    Nice to have you back, it’s also nice to here from someone who is willing to call Under the Dome a flawed book.

    You use the word meandering to describe the book, and I’d like to add to that. I’d go so far as to say, compared with his best work like It and Misery, Under the Dome is highly unorganized, even undisciplined, as a book.

    To me, King runs over the same ground he’s gone over elsewhere and in much more structured and dramatic form in novels like The Stand and the other two mentioned above. Whereas in Dome the sense I got at least, was writer going over the same old tropes, however it was only going through the motions, like his heart or at least interest just wasn’t in it. King can go over the same tropes and make it interesting, however this time he sort of fails in my estimate.

    This where, so far for the most part, I’m willing to say I’m grateful for the changes made to the TV show, and am willing to say it’s one of the rare occasions where the film is better than the book.

    I like the fact that the character of Jim is more nuanced, I like that Dale isn’t some pure knight-armor-white hat, I believe the best villains can be the most nuanced, and I do think Jim is still on his way to being the embodiment of evil in this series, it’s just taking it’s careful time to build him up for us, and that may just wind up being what counts the most.

    Aside from a recent edition I’m unsure about (though I’m keeping an open mind) I’s say so far Under the Dome the Series has outperformed the book. I’m also glad they chucked the politics since it added nothing to the original story, and as King notes elsewhere “Politics always change, good stories don’t”. I kind of wish he’d kept that in mind when he was at work on the book.

    Other than that, one thing I’m still looking forward to is your thoughts on Doctor Sleep.

    On that subject at least, I’m still very much the Star Wars purist in the room, and didn’t you say you thought it sounded like a bad idea too? I’d like to here a podcast of you thoughts (misgivings?) about it some time.


  • Hey Bob, I didn’t really take to Under the Dome at first. In fact after the 2nd episode I pretty much stopped watching. I thought maybe if I waited until there were enough episodes I could binge watch. My theory was character development would move along a little quicker and I would actually care about these poor sods. There comes a point where the novelty of the situation wears off and if the characters aren’t sufficiently developed, there is nothing left to keep that nasty old disbelief suspended.
    Well, I finally got caught up to episode 11 and I’ve realized where my failure to latch exists. It’s because these people have no sense of humour. Everything is so serious, so fierce, so scenery chomping melodramatic.
    Yes, I know, they are in a pretty unusual situation and desperation would certainly rank up there in yer regular people reaction. People faced with desperate situations, however, cope by now and then making bad jokes or finding a way to laugh. That is what makes us human. It is what made “Haven” work where ‘Dome’ is continuing to strike a flat note. It’s like soup without a good stock, that middle part of the flavour is missing.
    I’ve been through some fairly bleak times and it was being able to take a moment to laugh that got me through it all. Even at funerals you will find laughter mixing with tears in the eulogy and at the reception.
    I’m not expecting it to turn into a non-stop stream of self-referential humour or a Woody Allen destruction of the fourth wall. Just a moment or two where they lighten up. If they behaved more like the usual characters King can flesh out with a few skilled strokes, I might actually care about them.
    I’ll still watch it, mostly because I’m enjoying Dean Norris as Big Jim. He’s the only one who is actually reacting to and being changed by the events. Other than Big Jim, the only thing that is changing is the mini-dome.
    So, overall I’m finding the writing fairly stiff, predictable and lacking in depth. Hmmm, I guess I could have started with that, eh? I find it hard to believe this is a Stephen King project.
    Anyway, I’m looking forward to the next King Cast, Bob, I always enjoy listening to you. Talk to you later…
    xxoo moe

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