There are some adaptations that may work better in a serialized drama than a feature film. That could be said for more than a few Stephen King stories. The writer's in depth approach to developing characters is rarely captured quite as well in film, with some of his short stories (Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, The Body) among the fortunate exceptions.

While Ben Affleck struggles to bring The Stand to the big screen, CBS is taking a chance with a TV adaptation of one of King's more recent novels. A year ago, it was looking like the CBS owned premium channel Showtime would be the network potentially delivering the Under the Dome adaptation to TV viewers, but it turns out it'll be CBS that'll be airing the series. And you read that right, it's a series, not just a pilot with the potential for a series. CBS made the official announcement today that they have given Under the Dome a straight-to-series 13-episode order, with the aim to get it on the air next summer (2013). Showtime might have given the project a bit more flexibility in its content, but network TV may give the series more viewers.

The series will be produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television, with Neal Baer, Stephen King, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Stacey Snider and Brian K. Vaughan on board to executive produce.

Under the Dome takes place in a small New England town that finds itself enclosed within a strange dome-shaped invisible force field that doesn't let anyone out or in. Naturally, it's arrival causes some major problems (including human casualties) and forces the community into post-apocalyptic circumstances as they attempt to grieve, organize, pool and distribute resources and figure out what's going on. Like many of Stephen King's stories, Under the Dome's heart is in its characters. The strange dome situation is more of a catalyst for the drama that unfolds as the people inside attempt to deal with the situation. It's for that reason that I could see the story working well for a series, if the writers recognize the opportunity to use the episodic structure to take the time to develop the characters the way King does in the book.

It's my nature to be optimistic with things like this, so as a fan of King's stories, I'm excited and hopeful that the potential for this story will be realized with the adaptation. Now we'll have to keep an ear out for casting news!

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