Stephen King's 'Under the Dome' returns for second season

Under the Dome season two. Courtesy

Under the Dome season two. Courtesy

Jim Slotek, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:18 PM ET

With his books now passing the 1,000-page mark, here are five words Stephen King probably thought he’d never hear - “Could you give us more?”

But that was the case last summer when the hardcover doorstop known as Under the Dome was turned into ostensibly a one-off 13-part series.

The book about the small town of Chester’s Mill, which suddenly finds itself behind an impenetrable, invisible dome of unknown origin, wasn’t being treated much differently than, say, The Tommyknockers or It. Both of those somewhat lighter reads ended up as entertaining mini-series with a beginning, middle and end.

But then the ratings for Under the Dome came in, and the network did what one does in those circumstances – it greenlit a second season.

Which means that anybody who never read the book and who watched all 13 episodes expecting to find out who or what was behind the Dome, was disappointed. Maybe we’ll find out this season. Maybe not. Maybe it’ll be like Gilligan’s Island with Big Jim, Junior, Dale Barbie and Julia Shumway almost-but-not-quite breaking through the Dome every episode (with occasional drop-ins by guest-stars like The Harlem Globetrotters).

Actually, guest-stars and new characters are among the carrots that are being dangled in advance of the first episode of season 2 (written by King himself). Eddie Cahill, for example, has signed on as Big Jim’s brother Sam, a significant relative you’d think would have made an appearance before now. Also look for Stephen King himself to show up on camera at some point.

And there will be a break in the Dome, such that Internet communication becomes possible – and at least one outside character will become a semi-regular.

But mostly, the producers and writers are following the trend set by Game of Thrones and True Blood (which almost nonchalantly killed off a major character in the debut episode of its final season last week). There have been hints that major Under the Dome characters are similarly marked for death, and it could happen as early as the opening minutes of Monday’s premiere.

Is that bad news for Barbie, who had a noose around his neck last time we looked, as pink stars fell from the sky?

I’m going to guess it won’t be the demented Junior, or any of his fellow young contactees whose four handprints have connected with the intelligence behind the Dome. That’s a narrative thread you’d want to keep intact.

We do know that the Dome itself will be more proactive as an engine of destruction. As indicated in the trailers, it becomes magnetized in the opening episode, opening the door to all kinds of death-by-flying debris.

Personally, I hope to see the ending (which those of us who’ve read the book already know) come to pass this season. But realistically, that’ll only happen if people stop watching and the network decides to cut and run. Until then, Under the Dome will rely entirely on its Lord of the Flies vibe to keep the show interesting.

It’s season two of the show that alerted Hollywood to the existence of a sizable summer TV audience. And the end is nowhere in sight.

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