The second season of the hit CBS drama “Under the Dome” kicks off tonight with an episode penned by literary master Stephen King, the man who created the source material with his 2009 novel of the same name.
While not divulging anything specific about what’s in store for the residents of Chester’s Mill, the town trapped under the dome, showrunner Neal Baer did offer some insight into the show, saying, “There was no shortage of story ideas here. In season one, we had a fire, riots over food, medical emergencies, several characters have died, and more will die going forward. These are big plot points that move the story forward, but the most important thing in each episode is really about relationships and how each of these events affects everyone.”
One of those characters is --The Dome. Yes, says Baer, the dome is definitely a character in the show. “It does things, but what things exactly is a bit vague. The Dome clearly has a relationship with the residents, but that relationship is not the same for everyone in town. It’s different for each individual.”
Coming up with every plot point has been “challenging and a lot of fun,” says Baer. “It’s definitely a ‘room show’ where all the writers work together to flesh out each episode. It’s not one writer pitching a complete episode; it’s all of us working together.”
Baer has often said that when he writes he doesn’t think about the audience, only about the story that he wants to tell. “I don’t know how to please the audience,” admits Baer. “We (the writers) can’t get too wrapped in thinking about what the audience wants; we just stay focused on telling a good story. It’s all about creating a compelling, continuing story for appealing characters.
While keeping a town trapped under a dome seems like a difficult premise to sustain, Baer assures that this is really not the case. “There are lots of people under that dome. There are 2000 inhabitants of Chester’s Mills and obviously we’ve only met a small portion of them, so there are plenty of directions to go, plenty of stories to tell.”
Creator King has pretty much given the showrunner free reign with the material.
“Stephen has been wonderful,” explains Baer, “He reads all of the scripts. He emails me with comments, but he makes no demands. He said, ‘it’s your baby, run with it.”
In fact, King has written an open letter to fans, many of whom expressed dismay that the novel had been turned into a television show and that the course of the show had deviated from the text. In the letter, King confirms that he approves of the changes wholeheartedly and offers reasons that the readers of his work should give the show its due. The full contents of the letter can be found here.
As for exactly what viewers will see in season two, Baer was tight-lipped but offered this, “The bottom line is that the whole show is about sustainability, but it’s not a message that we’re going to bonk you over the head with. It’s a parable for our life – the atmosphere being depleted and what could really happen. Stephen wrote it as a parable about that, and that part we're staying very true to.”
Season two of “Under the Dome” premieres tonight at 10e/p on CBS.