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The things people watch on TV
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There is a TV series about an entire town trapped under a giant, mysterious crystal-clear dome that appears out of the blue one day. The dome is impenetrable; no one can get in, no one can get out. Who made the dome? Aliens? God? A super-secret branch of the U.S. government? It's a mystery.
No one under the dome can communicate with the outside world and vice versa, except by putting your hands against it and looking soulfully at people on the other side while your mouth flaps silently. No radio, no TV, no voice, no smart or dumb phones.
I suppose they could write things on pieces of paper and show it to people on the outside and vice versa, or bring by some lip-readers or find people on both sides who know American sign language, but no one inside or outside the dome seems to know how to do anything but text, which is now useless. Besides, what would you say? "We're trapped under a big dome and can't get out"? Most people can figure that out without anyone telling them.
Stephen King wrote this, and he has written some of the most creepy, chilling and terrifying books ever, so it's a puzzlement how the only mysterious thing about this show is why anyone watches it. Even if you can get past the unappealing, stereotypical, cartoonish characters, life under the dome makes no sense.
Where does their food come from? Where does their garbage go? Where does the gas for their cars come from? Why doesn't their air run out? Why isn't it as hot as a greenhouse in there? Why does no one under the dome have a sense of humor?
One of the promotional spots for this show bragged that it's perfect for summer viewing. What does that mean? That we wouldn't watch this show if it were on in the winter? Do network executives think our brains go soft in the summer and then harden when the cold weather returns? Do people who live in the South have different TV brains than those in the North?
"Would you even consider watching 'Under the Dome' in the winter?"
"I think not, my good man. The only thing we watch in the winter is 'Masterpiece Theater.'"
But maybe the climate does change our brains. I've heard the most popular show in Norway is the "Yule Log." But then, its only competition was "Norway's Saddest Home Videos."
This could have been a wonderful show and a gigantic hit if King had changed one little thing: if the dome appeared over the Kardashians' home while all the housewives from Orange County, Atlanta, New Jersey and everywhere else just happened to be visiting that day. And just by coincidence, the Bachelor and the Bachelorette, Gordon Ramsay, all the people who were ever on "Survivor" and "Big Brother" as well as a few of the contestants from "American Idol."
Now that would be a show. And in this version, the food does run out, the garbage starts to smell, and maybe the air starts to get a little thin.
Tune in next week to find out what happens when there's nothing for the Kardashians to buy.
Contact Jim Mullen at JimMullenBooks.com.