"Under the Dome" captures dramatic secrets

An entire unsuspecting, average town is trapped under a mysterious, transparent and indestructible dome. That's exactly the strange dilemma that the townsfolk of Chester's Mill face in CBS's new show “Under the Dome.” Loosely based off of a Steven King novel, “Under the Dome” is a 13 episode mini-series that premiered on June 24, the finale airing on Sept. 16.

In Chester's Mill, Maine, a dome mysteriously encompasses and traps the small town and its origin is left unknown.

Sparse food, water depletion and lack of propane - all the things we often take for granted--are issues that the townspeople face, and they have to learn how to collaborate together in order to survive. Other issues arise, however, that are bigger than simply managing resources.

Everyone has secrets, but when a small town is trapped under a dome for an unknown amount of time, secrets have a way of showing their ugly heads. As Julia Shumway, the town's journalist and one of the show's major characters, says in the show's intro, “None of our secrets are safe.”

Many of the citizens of Chester's Mill have buried secrets that they are afraid of surfacing, including the dark secrets of Big Jim Rennie, owner of the town's propane and a politician who appoints himself as leader of the town.  As more secrets are exposed, tensions between the people of Chester's Mill grow increasingly and threateningly thick.

The characters also face the mystery of where the dome came from and how to get rid of it.

With no internet connection, no telephone signals, very limited radio signals and no known way to escape its clutches, the enclosure separates the citizens from the rest of civilization. As the episodes develop, a select few find themselves intricately connected to the dome and they may be the only saving grace that can bring redemption to Chester's Mill.

If you have already read King's novel, then you will be sorely disappointed if you expected the show to follow the plot of the book. The television show takes its own unique twist on King's book and makes it more suitable for television.

For example, Junior, Big Jim Rennie's son in the book has a brain tumor, which causes him to go insane and become a rapist and a murderer. In the show, although he does keep his ex-girlfriend Angie McAlister locked in his basement for a length of time, he does not commit the grotesque crimes of his literary counterpart.

Although I fully enjoyed the first season of “Under the Dome,” I feel making a second season is bit of overkill. When I watched the final episode, I thought it was officially the end of the massive dome and its secrets would finally come down with it.

I was shocked to find that there will be another season next summer with King writing the premiere episode. King, being the master of suspense and thrills, will surely write a great screenplay, but I don't think that dragging out the mini-series is really going to add anything to the plot, and I'm afraid there are only so many episodes you can make about a town being trapped under a dome before it starts to get repetitive and boring. CBS really should have stayed true to the label and kept it a mini-series.

Overall, “Under the Dome” is a sci-fi drama that is refreshingly original and each episode leaves you thirsty to know the secret behind the mysterious dome. If you have yet to see this hit new drama and you are fortunate enough not to be trapped under your own personal massive dome where television signals cease to exist, head over to Netflix to catch season one.