The long-awaited new adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand is finally only days away from premiering on CBS All Access to reveal what sets it apart not only from the book, but also from the 1994 miniseries. Reviews for the nine-episode series are in to reveal what critics think about the latest Stephen King adaptation, and there seems to be a consensus on at least one front.
The Stand adapts Stephen King's gargantuan novel of the same name that runs for more than 1000 pages, and it has only nine hours to do so with a stacked cast of characters. The plot reveals a world decimated by a pandemic, but not one quite like the current COVID-19 pandemic. Called "Captain Trips," the virus wipes out most of humanity, and The Stand follows the stories of a group of survivors and the conflict between good and evil as they congregate in Boulder, CO.
Starring Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abagail and Alexander Skarsgard as Randall Flagg as the representations of good and evil, The Stand's cast is filled out by the likes of James Marsden, Odessa Young, Jovan Adepo, Amber Heard, Owen Teague, and more. Read on to find out what critics think of CBS All Access' The Stand. Vinnie Mancuso of Collider compared the structure of The Stand to the flashbacks of Lost, saying:
The structure that worked for Lost isn't as successful when it comes to The Stand, according to this reviewer, who raises the point that following the story could be difficult for viewers who haven't read Stephen King's novel. The book is quite long and packs a long list of characters, so readers may be at an advantage going into the CBS All Access series. That said, what isn't evident after four episodes might be more clear by the end of the series. Vinnie Mancuso continued:
While the structure of The Stand may not be winning universal acclaim from reviewers, the show is also tasked with showing a post-apocalyptic world that isn't the same post-apocalyptic world that has been done time and again on television and in film. TV Guide's Keith Phipps praised The Stand for building a convincing new reality for the few survivors and keeping the story interesting:
The consensus among critics on the strongest point of The Stand seems to be that the cast shines where the structure isn't always so successful, and The Stand did pack some notable names into the ensemble, including Stephen King adaptation alum Owen Teague from the latest versions of IT. Roxana Hadadi of Variety notes that Alexander Skarsgard is particularly effective as the "standout" of the series, and says of the cast as a whole:
A cast alone can't make a show a hit, but the strong actors may result in a strong focus on character despite the show playing with time in its structure. Nicole Drum of ComicBook.com suggests that the focus on character over plot works for The Stand, although perhaps not for all fans of Stephen King's book. Drum shared:
While a series based on a Stephen King novel may earn itself a reputation as a horror story, and a post-apocalyptic setting may suggest science-fiction, The Stand is actually a fantasy saga with ties to a larger mythology in King's pantheon of works. SFGATE compares the Stand miniseries to Lord of the Rings, with reviewer Joshua Sargent praising the series' sense of hope despite all of the darkness of the premise:
The wait to see The Stand for yourself is finally almost at an end, nearly two years after CBS All Access officially ordered the series back in January 2019. The first episode of the new Stand miniseries premieres on CBS All Access on Thursday, December 17. The first season will run for nine episodes and feature episodes written by Stephen King and son Owen King, among others. Stephen King himself wrote the finale, so be sure to check out The Stand if you're a fan of the novel and/or King!
For some additional viewing options in the new year, take a look at our 2021 winter and spring TV premiere schedule for what to watch and when to watch it.
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Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.
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