Talking TV: What's up with CBS' 'Under the Dome'? [Video]

The CBS adaptation of Stephen King's novel is doing well in the ratings despite opening episodes that were more confusing than creepy. TV critic Mary McNamara and TV reporters Greg Braxton and Yvonne Villarreal talk about life under the dome.

"Under the Dome," the CBS adaptation of Stephen King's novel, continues to pull in double-digit ratings despite a tepid critical reception that has increasingly curdled.

Following the trials and tribulations of a small town suddenly encased in a mysterious invisible force field, "Under the Dome," suffers from a variety of problems, which Times television critic Mary McNamara and TV reporters Greg Braxton and Yvonne Villarreal are only too happy to discuss.

With a perpetually frantic pace, the series breaks the cardinal rule of horror -- you have to calmly create a believable reality before unleashing the monster or dropping the dome. CBS seemed overly worried that an ADD audience wouldn't stick around for that, Braxton says, and Villarreal points out that many find the cast is just too big to connect with.

Big and strangely uncurious, the characters all appear much more interested in arguing about who's in charge than figuring out what the bloody heck the dome is and who put it there.

Post-apocalyptic drama is hot now, with "The Walking Dead" and "Revolution" re-imagining a world without the traditional rules or borders. "Under the Dome" deals with some of the same issues -- the inevitable emergence of bullies, the reconfiguration of shattered families -- but it's as if the show's writers have forgotten that this is Stephen King, which is why everyone's watching, which means something scary or creepy or wierd had better happen soon. Or that poor cow won't be the only thing the dome cuts in half.

What do you think of "Under the Dome"?

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