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Twelve Shows You Can't Miss: No. 9 Under The Dome

The sci-fi drama proves Maine is a beautiful place to live — unless you can’t leave

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Stephen King’s 2009 novel Under the Dome is the story of Maine everytown Chester’s Mill, which descends into chaos when a mysterious invisible dome cuts it off from the outside world. Bleak, nihilistic, and more than 1,000 pages long, the book was going to be a daunting challenge to adapt. Enter Brian K. Vaughan, the well-regarded author of comic-book masterworks (Y: The Last Man), who also worked on a little show called Lost. ”[King] encouraged us to take the characters to totally new places,” says the exec producer. The 13-episode season follows Chester’s Mill through two weeks of Dome life, as residents struggle to uncover the mystery of their imprisonment — and to survive with limited resources. Some familiar faces include Bates Motel‘s Mike Vogel as Army vet Barbie and Rachelle Lefevre (the original Victoria from Twilight) as nosy reporter Julia Shumway, who get thrown together when the Dome comes down. But the most recognizable is Dean Norris as Big Jim Rennie, car salesman and powermonger — the polar opposite of Norris’ lovable Hank from Breaking Bad. ”He’s a guy who’s all about power and manipulation,” says Norris. ”I’m rereading some old Nietzsche to get in the mindset of this guy.” Originally developed for Showtime, Dome might look like an odd fit for CBS. But if you think about it, it makes an excellent companion to the network’s other summer show about trapped human beings driving each other crazy. And Under the Dome might even be less nihilistic than Big Brother.