I watched last night’s episodes of Under the Dome and Longmire, and have to say my hopes that the shows were going to bring something new to television, namely quality writing, were sadly disappointed.
What in the world was Stephen King thinking when he penned the premiere episode of the second season of Dome? I’ll credit him with writing probably the best episode the series will ever have in terms of increasing the dramatic pace and action of what have been rather slow, and frankly boring episodes of the first season. But the idea of making the Dome itself a character who does things was ludicrous. The Dome suddenly becomes magnetized and most of the action consisted of characters running and ducking flying furniture. and SUVs.
We were told in advance publicity that some first season characters would be killed off. And King lived up to that promise. Only thing is, he killed off the wrong characters! I can’t remember any of their names, they’re pretty non-descript, but most of the ones killed seemed to be women. And not only that they were among the few likable persons in Chesters Mills.
The police woman, who represented sanity as well as law and order, the young girl that the mayor’s nutso son chained up in a bunker, and a few others all bit the dust. While the cheesy,lying, two-faced mayor and his demented son continue on. I suppose you can’t get rid of villains until the end, if they indeed are villains. I tend to think now, with so many hints given that something else other than what’s on the surface is actually gone on, we may discover someone or something else is the heavy. Maybe they’ll let the Dome off the hook.
King planted a few hints, at the beginning when the mayor;s hitherto unknown brother taps a light bulb that triggers the Dome into some kind of fit. And at the end we see the mayor’s wife in another town in a studio putting up a painting of a mysterious doorway. Is it a doorway to another dimension where all this is taking place. Who knows? I got a feeling we’ll watch another whole season and still not get the answer.
As for Longmire, it fulfilled every expectation that it was just another cop show featuring psycho cops, and psycho killers. The only difference between Longmire and every other cop show is that it’s a western. At least it looks like one, because Longmire wears a cowboy hat, and there are some Indians in the story. Everyone acts real serious and the mood is heavy, but it’s a pretension that something important is going on or is about to happen. But its just another show that stays at surface level, dwelling more on the seamy aspects of the crimes without much attention to the inner lives of the characters. I mean there is backstory, and suffering, but its at that trivial level that most TV series stay hung up on.
I guess another basic problem with these continuing story series is that the writers know they’ve got to stretch the story out for a season, so a lot of the episodes have long, time-filling scenes that could be cut or discarded completely. At least King kept the action going in this one, but I’m sure starting next week, while he’s off cashing his check, we’ll see characters talking the paint off the scenery instead of doing anything. Maybe Longmire’s writers could pick up the pace, if they gave him a horse to ride.
Interesting thing was the appearance of Peter Weller, who also directed last nights ep of Longmire..
So that’s my take on last night’s TV shows. It was more interesting than usual, but like the man at the shooting gallery says: “Close, but no cigar!” Feel free to agree or disagree.