The television adaptation of Stephen King’s Under The Dome novel has been a surprising hit–and perhaps even more surprisingly, it was renewed for a second and now third season. This was particularly shocking to fans of the original novel, since it meant that the show would not be wrapping up the storyline in 13 episodes, but continuing into two more seasons which would almost certainly guarntee new additions, removals and general alterations to the plot of the original novel.
The TV adaptation of Under the Dome has the same general plot as the novel: a small town is suddenly surrounded by a mysterious dome, which has strange powers which can affect the town and the people living in it. However, there are many aspects of the original novel that were removed or otherwise altered for the TV show–and plenty of things created just for the series.
Some of the most notable differences include Dale’s status–in the original novel, he is actually a resident of Chester’s Mill; but in the TV series, he is a stranger, and is first shown burying an unknown body. Another major difference is Julia Shumway’s personal life: in the book, she is a 40-something divorcee of ten years, but in the series she is a married young adult. Linda Everett also underwent a major character-lift for the TV adaptation–while in the book she is a married mother of two who works part time at the station, she is a full time officer in the series who has no kids and is only engaged.
Perhaps one of the most notable differences is the radical alteration of Junior Rennie’s personality. In King’s book, he is a sociopath–this is revealed to be because of a brain tumor–who kills a young girl named Angie McCain. But in the series, he develops a relationship with Angie—although this later becomes twisted when he is consumed with jealousy after seeing Angie talking to another man. Instead of killing Angie, however, he holds her hostage.
These changes may seem radical—and some are—but many viewers are actually enjoying the TV series more than the book. The reason why boils down to the greater amount of character development, tension, and twists that the TV series is offering when compared to the original book. The different life stories for many characters has allowed for them to develop in more distinct and noticeable ways than they did in the book, despite its long length; and the major changes to some characters, such as Dale and Junior, have resulted in more complex and ultimately more satisfying (and in Junior’s case, more twisted) character relationships and arcs than the book version of the story provided.
Not every fan of the original book is happy with these changes—particularly as the show goes into its third season—but as the show’s great ratings and critical reviews have shown, sometimes it does pay to alter the original material.