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TV Wasteland: Under the Dome
Stephen King's bestseller comes to CBS.
By Rob Vaux
June 24, 2013
CBS returns to well-worn territory this week with a new Stephen King series Under the Dome. King has proven irresistible to network programmers over the years, with over thirty television adaptations in various forms. Most of them appear as miniseries, but full-bore series aren’t unheard of… most notably with the successful run of The Dead Zone a few years ago.
The difference here is twofold. King himself is keeping a significant hand in the creative process for Under the Dome… and the means of financing it has changed. Amazon is underwriting part of the cost, in exchange for gaining exclusive streaming rights four days after each episode airs. It’s an unprecedented move, and a sign that the networks are bowing to new realities about online consumption of their products. (The original novel for Under the Dome did something similar in 2009 when the modestly priced Kindle version far outpaced the more expensive hardback version.) The effects of it – whether people will take advantage of the Amazon version and what that will do for the show’s future prospects – are apt to serve as a bellwether for these kinds of deals in the future.
Of course, CBS is doing quite well on its own and can afford to take a risk like this. If Under the Dome tanks, either because fans don’t tune in or Amazon doesn’t like the returns it gets, the network can just go back to watching the giant pile of money grow under The Big Bang Theory. But what happens when a more desperate network tries the same thing… when, say, NBC enters into a deal with some online distributor that has it more definitively over a barrel? Stephen King is a scary guy to begin with, but I bet the prospect he just unleashed is going make a number of executives start soiling themselves.
In the meantime Under the Dome premieres tonight, Monday, at 10:00 PM EDT on CBS.
Under the Dome (CBS, 10:00 PM EDT)
CBS unveils its new limited series based on the Stephen King novel. See the top of the article for more. Repeats on Saturday at 9:00 PM EDT.
Teen Wolf (MTV, 10:00 PM EDT)
Stiles defends the werewolves, while Scott tries to stop a deadly altercation from soaking the screen in CGI blood.
Defiance (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
A hidden body appears in the NeedWant walls, and wacky mayhem ensues. Most of it involving some deeply held town secrets.
Warehouse 13 (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
Back in the day, a pirate stole a bunch of artifacts, which the team now has to recover, even while the new traitor in their midst plots his next move.
Star Trek (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
J.J. Abrams still has a lot of street cred based on this film alone.
The Prestige (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I think this is Christopher Nolan’s best work. And that’s saying something.
The Last Legion (IFC, 10:45 PM EDT)
They still insist on airing this film, even though it sucks on toast.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Spike, 8:00 PM EDT)
And there goes Shia LaBeouf’s career! Don’t bite that hand Shia; it’s awfully big.
Underworld (Spike, 10:50 PM EDT)
Spike feels just about right for this bit of supernatural cheesecake.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Cinemax, 7:45 PM EDT)
Apparently not all Robert Downey, Jr. franchises did as well as Iron Man.
Men in Black 3 (Starz, 10:00 PM EDT)
A nice recovery hopefully begets a graceful bowing out for the durable franchise. Repeats on Saturday at 7:10 PM EDT.
Heat (Cinemax, 7:00 PM EDT)
Simply put, the best cops and robbers movie ever made. Repeats on Sunday at 10:00 PM EDT.
Girl vs. Monster (Disney, 9:00 PM EDT)
The former unleashes the latter at a Halloween party and has to hunt it down. The end.
The A-Team (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
Liam Neeson leads a deeply underrated update of the seminal 80s action show.
The Shining (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Jack Nicholson + axe = horror movie Nirvana.
Gone (Showtime, 8:00 PM EDT)
Someone tell Amanda Seyfried we’ll overlook this one, but not to take advantage of our largess. Repeats on Saturday at 7:25 PM EDT.
Drive Angry (Showtime, 9:35 PM EDT)
It definitely loses some of its charm without the 3D.
The Warriors (Sundance, 8:15 PM EDT)
Walter Hill produces one of the best guilty pleasures of all time, about a street gang trying to make its way through hostile territory to get home. It’s so well made that people want badly to forget how incredibly goofy it is.
A Clockwork Orange (Sundance, 10:00 PM EDT)
Stanley Kubrick has never been better in one of the unquestioned masterpieces of sci-fi.
Ghost Hunters (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
Ghostly hauntings appear at a Missouri winery, prompting the question… Missouri has wineries?
Parnormal Witness (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
A portal to another dimension opens in an El Paso eatery. Seriously.
Futurama (Comedy, 10:00 PM EDT)
Fry is marooned on a distant planet and finds a Monster Friday to help him survive.
Hook (BBC America, 8:00 PM EDT)
It’s a little creepy watching a bunch of fortysomething filmmakers extoll the virtues of Peter Pan in his forties.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
This film contains the single wussiest thing any vampire has said ever.
Priest (FX, 10:30 PM EDT)
Definitely not good, but I confess I have a hard time turning away when it’s on.
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (HBO, 7:30 PM EDT)
They really mean it when they say “the end of the world.” Fair warning.
Austin Powers in Goldmember (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT and 10:00 PM EDT)
When Sean Connery turns a project like this down, you know there’s trouble.
Finding Nemo (Starz, 6:55 PM EDT)
If it’s not Pixar’s very best, it’s definitely in the running.
Burn Notice (USA, 9:00 PM EDT)
Michael springs a prisoner from a nonexistent Cuban prison, which somehow involves Fiona and Madeline framing someone. Don’t ask me how.
Megafault (Syfy, 7:00 PM EDT)
It’s apparently a really, really big fault that’s going to crack the Earth in two.
Independence Day-Saster (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
It’s an alien invasion scenario… and even for Syfy, this is pretty shameless.
Battleship (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
They should have gone with Hungry Hungry Hippos instead.
Iron Man 2 (FX, 6:30 PM EDT)
There’s something about Robert Downey and Part 2s that just doesn’t work.
Prometheus (HBO, 7:15 PM EDT)
Have you heard Ridley Scott’s explanation for why the aliens hate us in this film? It’s wild.
Crank 2: High Voltage (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT and 10:00 PM EDT)
Jason Statham is just so hard to hate…
Hannibal is off for the season. Don’t worry though; it’ll be back.
Continuum (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
Kiera hunts down what she thinks is another time traveller, with Liber8 making life difficult for her along the way.
Cult (The CW, 8:00 PM EDT and 9:00 PM EDT)
The CW starts burning off its failed series from this February. Enjoy!
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (BBC America, 8:00 PM EDT)
For those of you who enjoy the second act without the first or the third.
The Scorpion King (Bravo, 7:00 PM EDT)
The Rock’s surprising career got off to a fairly ignominious start with this role.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
Expect to see this one get a lot of play in the next month or so.
The Dark Knight Rises (HBO, 7:15 PM EDT)
I want Bane in charge of the Super Bowl halftime show this year.
Die Another Day (Showtime, 7:45 PM EDT)
I’m not sure why Showtime has been running this ignominious end to Peirce Brosnan’s career as James Bond. (And seriously, have any of the Bond actors bowed out with any real grace?) In any case, enjoy your magic invisible car and parasailing superspy.
Rambo 4 (Spike, 8:00 PM EDT)
It’s always refreshing to see a pacifist bludgeoning someone to death with a rock. Gives the movie a classy sheen. Repeats on Saturday at 6:31 PM EDT.
Misery (Sundance, 10:00 PM EDT)
Kathy Bates and her Oscar would like to thank Mr. Stephen King for coming up with this wonderful bit of Hitchcockian suspence.
RED (TNT, 8:00 PM EDT)
And again, with the sequel coming soon, this should be showing up on the schedule a lot.
Sinbad (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
Sinbad runs into a strange old man onboard an even stranger abandoned ship.
Primeval: New World (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
Drug deals abduct Dylan and Evan for reasons I’m sure the episode will make clear.
Doctor Who: The Doctors Revisited (BBC America, 8:30 PM EDT)
It’s time for a visit from the Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker, in this new BBC special.
Zero Hour (ABC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Hank reluctantly joins forces with Laila in the hunt for the True Cross, which I’m sure would be shocking if anyone gave a crap.
666 Park Avenue (ABC, 9:00 PM EDT)
A new tenant moves into the Drake, full of terror and intrigue for all of the show’s dozens of fans.
Do No Harm (NBC, 10:00 PM EDT)
NBC throws its hat into the burn-off ring with this barely-there Jekyll-and-Hyde update that was cancelled after two short episodes.
The Expendables (Spike, 9:00 PM EDT)
Stallone looks pretty cool in that beret, doesn’t he? Repeats on Sunday at 8:00 PM EDT.
Hotel Transylvania (Starz, 9:00 PM EDT)
Here’s a comparative rarity: an Adam Sandler film I don’t actively loathe.
John Carter (Starz, 10:35 PM EDT)
Has the worm turned yet? I’m thinking yes.
Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (TCM, 10:30 PM EDT)
TCM airs a macabre camp classic about a wheelchair-bound woman and her deranged sister who now cares for her. I won’t call it great, but it’s definitely worth looking at.
Con Air (A&E, 9:00 PM EDT)
Not only is it a good Nic Cage movie, it’s a good Nic Cage movie in which Nic Cage sports a mullet. Mind = blown.
Up (ABC Family, 7:00 PM EDT)
Man, it’s a good week for great Pixar films, isn’t it?
Despicable Me (ABC Family, 9:00 PM EDT)
This isn’t a bad film by any means, but I think a sequel is really pushing it. Repeats on Sunday at 7:00 PM EDT.
The Mummy Returns (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
It’s a lot of fun… though that isn’t the same thing as “good.”
Surf’s Up (Cartoon, 7:00 PM EDT)
The Dude abides… even when he’s a chicken.
The Watch (HBO, 8:00 PM EDT)
This turkey cannot disappear from our television screens fast enough. Repeats on Sunday at 7:15 PM EDT.
Dexter (Showtime, 9:00 PM EDT)
The final season begins with Debra working as a private investigator and a new killer who removes pieces of his victim’s brain.
True Blood (HBO, 9:00 PM EDT)
Eric rolls the dice in an effort to change the vampire crackdown, while Bill sends Jessica on an important mission.
Falling Skies (TNT, 10:00 PM EDT)
Tom and Pope have to depend on each other after a mission goes seriously wrong.
Big (Sundance, 10:00 PM EDT)
Tom Hanks has never been more charming than he was here, playing a young boy who magically ages twenty years overnight.
X2: X-Men United (BBC America, 7:30 PM EDT)
Because again, The Wolverine is a lot closer than you think.
The Apparition (Cinemax, 8:30 PM EDT)
Nothing like a shitty horror movie to close out our week. Have a good one everybody!