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'Under the Dome' TV show changes from book: Stephen King writes to 'miffed' fans

Stephen King's 'Under the Dome' films new scenes on June 27 in Southport, NC. The series airs Monday nights on CBS.
Stephen King's 'Under the Dome' films new scenes on June 27 in Southport, NC. The series airs Monday nights on CBS.
Gina Carbone photo

"Under the Dome," a TV series adaptation of Stephen King's novel, has been taping in the Southport/Wilmington, North Carolina area since February. Season 1 premiered Monday, June 24 on CBS.

King has been open about giving the TV showrunners approval on many changes, including a new ending. But after the premiere, many fans complained about the numerous character and plot alterations. In a letter posted June 27 on his website, King addressed readers "feeling miffed because the TV version of Under the Dome varies considerably from the book version."

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Here's a portion of King's full note:

"If you loved the book when you first read it, it’s still there for your perusal. But that doesn’t mean the TV series is bad, because it’s not. In fact, it’s very good. And, if you look closely, you’ll see that most of my characters are still there, although some have been combined and others have changed jobs. That’s also true of the big stuff, like the supermarket riot, the reason for all that propane storage, and the book’s thematic concerns with diminishing resources.

"Many of the changes wrought by Brian K. Vaughan and his team of writers have been of necessity, and I approved of them wholeheartedly. Some have been occasioned by their plan to keep the Dome in place over Chester’s Mill for months instead of little more than a week, as is the case in the book. Other story modifications are slotting into place because the writers have completely re-imagined the source of the Dome.

"That such a re-imagining had to take place was my only serious concern when the series was still in the planning stages, and that concern was purely practical. If the solution to the mystery were the same on TV as in the book, everyone would know it in short order, which would spoil a lot of the fun (besides, plenty of readers didn’t like my solution, anyway). By the same token, it would spoil things if you guys knew the arcs of the characters in advance. Some who die in the book — Angie, for instance — live in the TV version of Chester’s Mill…at least for a while. And some who live in the book may not be as lucky during the run of the show. Just sayin’.

"... There’s only one element of my novel that absolutely had to be the same in the novel and the show, and that’s the Dome itself. It’s best to think of that novel and what you’re seeing week-to-week on CBS as a case of fraternal twins. Both started in the same creative womb, but you will be able to tell them apart. Or, if you’re of a sci-fi bent, think of them as alternate versions of the same reality.

As for me, I’m enjoying the chance to watch that alternate reality play out; I still think there’s no place like Dome."

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What do you think? Were you upset by the changes, or do you like the idea of the TV show existing alongside the book, as a kind of alternate universe? At least it offers some surprises (and a new resolution).

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