Like so many of us, Stephen King likes to get lost in a great TV show or movie, in the way that his fans love to get lost in his books and stories. Sometimes, as it goes with Hulu's stellar new thriller Castle Rock, King is watching movies and shows that are based on titles from his lengthy bibliography. The author is good about sharing his thoughts on the myriad adaptations, too, and Castle Rock's amalgamated narrative just got some keen praise from the King of Horror.
If I'd be Castle Rock co-creators Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason, then I'd be feeling pretty good right now about my efforts to bring to television Stephen King's haunting plot threads; also, I'd probably be freaking out over being two different people, sorta like The Dark Half's Thad Beaumont and George Stark. There's only so much room in a tweet to pack his thoughts into, so King doesn't need to be overly loquacious when delivering his compliments to Castle Rock, which is Hulu's second trip into one of literature's darkest imaginations. (One of the service's first marquee dramas was James Franco's 11.22.63.)
Stephen King praises the two elements of Castle Rock that I think deserve it the most. There's the story, which is set atop a series of J.J. Abrams-produced mysteries and keeps building until the bottom falls out and chaos ensues, with each episode unlocking new clues and characters. One plot concerns a mysterious disappearance and murder from the past, one concerns a mysterious prisoner found deep in the bowels of Shawshank Prison, one involves a unique telepath who can't escape her powers, and so on. And then there's that "incandescent" cast, which includes the likes of André Holland, Scott Glenn, Sissy Spacek, Bill Skarsgård, Terry O'Quinn, Melanie Lynskey, Noel Fisher, Jane Levy and many more. There aren't any weak links in this group, where even side characters are portrayed by winners like Allison Tolman and Frances Conroy.
And with all that goodness to pay attention to, Stephen King says that viewers shouldn't get obsessive about finding the show's easter eggs and references to his works. That's a completely arguable point to me, as I absolutely love nitpicking about the details that Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason's creative team spent time inserting into the show. (You can read our full list of references here.) But to each his own, King!
On Twitter, the author followed up his opinions with a cheeky post implying there's no conflict of interest here.
For full disclosure's sake, Stephen King is technically an executive producer for Castle Rock, though he didn't have very much hands-on time with the material, if he had any at all. By most accounts, he was utilized for his encyclopedic knowledge of his own works, and for information of that nature, rather than as someone crafting new ideas for the show. Maybe one day, we'll get King writing up a new TV show for fans. But for now, we'll just have to make do with the town library's worth of work he's already put out there.