CBS's UNDER THE DOME Jumps Over the Shark

CBS's UNDER THE DOME season three premiere review
Look! I think I see a plot on the floor!!! Where!?
I just caught the two-hour (too many) season three premiere of CBS's Under the Dome, and to be honest, there was a reason why key demographic numbers were dropping in the TV ratings from season one to two and this third season premiere just pointed out exactly why the series has started to flounder.

Why CBS renewed the show, I am not sure, but the show runners obviously do not know what to do with the story now that they've basically covered much of Stephen King's source material, and are now just pulling random plots out of a hat with the go-to tool of mind f***ing with the primary characters.

WHY CBS, why?

In the third season premiere of Under the Dome, we watch people looking to exit the world of the dome, and they suddenly find themselves on the outside, looking into it.

At first I thought we were starting to deploy flashbacks of character stories, a popular way to fill out story time and give characters some piece of depth in other shows that have better stories.

Mike Vogel in Under the Dome

But it was in my confusion that I must have looked away at just the right moment and missed some tell-tale clue that it was not a flashback of Barbie, Right? No. They soon informed this confused viewer that it was a year later since the residents were released from the dome. And for Barbie, the memories of Julia, Junior, and Big Jim being dead haunt him.

But alas, we then have Barbie playing soldier, Ben no longer has asthma, Norrie is in college joining a sorority, and... wait, now suddenly Julia, Junior, and Big Jim are not dead, but rather, dad and son are shooting each other, while other stupid bullshit is happening in the opening part of Under the Dome.

And all after a completely near-confusing and useless recap of what's happened up until this point in time.

I was already on the bubble (not a dome) about pulling up the DVR'd premiere and how this panned out did not help me want to watch it any more.

Oh, wait, I forgot to mention Barbie's mystery girlfriend and the shrink running around wanting everyone to tell her how they feel, or to be technically correct, Marg Helgenberger playing Christine Price, a FEMA trauma specialist.

And Junior got into a fight with a swarm of butterflies. Because, you know, they're man's biggest threat?

I'm going to need some kind of specialist after watching this show, because, as if this is some kind of shocking revelation, the sweet young girl, Melanie, is not who she appears to be, but rather, something bent on killing things.


Looking back, I found the titles of the first two hours sort funny, those being "Move On," and "But I'm Not."

They could be construed to mean move on with the story people, but then the writers reply, but we're not. We're going to shove stupid confusion down your throat.  Or it could be a warning to viewers to move on from the show, but it is such a train wreck, that we're not.

Either way, these alternate realities everyone was experiencing just frustrated me and I sort of tuned out a bit and decided flossing was more entertaining.

Actually the disjointed flashbacks reminded me of how Fox reordered the episode lineup of Joss Whedon's Firefly and amazingly later, his Dollhouse. YES, they did it twice to him!

I won't even get into the gooey pods everyone is sleeping and dreaming in. I just won't. I will resist Matrix jokes and pod-people jokes. It is not worth my time. Though to be honest there's a much funnier and light-hearted review (Peppered with hilarious animated gif files of this premiere over on, by Tim Surette, where he calls the town Chester's Matrix!

And if you think I'm being tough on the season crash... I mean opener, I AM NOT ALONE in trashing on it. But I'm so disappointed in the opener that I figure I am going to spill the beans about the source material, so...


HUGE SPOILERS About the show and the source material and the pain...

OK, here it is... the show is based on a book from Stephen King, where aliens decide to frack with humans by dumping a dome on a town in Maine. With King, it's always Maine, but then again, he may know something we don't. I have family in Maine and spent a lot of time there...  just saying.

So the aliens dump a dome on a town and everyone freaks out, supplies are dwindling, hostilities are on the rise, and, oh, one of those "supplies" is air.

As the story develops, we learn that its aliens bent on killing these folks. Mostly. Because humans, well, we can go all kinds of places with that.

What passed as source material pretty much panned out mostly in season one, and partly into season two. Now the showrunners are grabbing at straws and playing make believe while they fling elements that the show to keep it going, like trying to figure out how to make a show seem fresh and come up with weird ways to introduce new characters. I love the cellar door in the woods that shoves you out in the middle of a lake.

In 2013 the first season averaged 11.2 million viewers, and season two saw that dip to 7.2M viewers. I'm thinking that number is going to drop just a wee bit farther after last week's premiere.

At this point, the show has jumped the shark for me and is feeling a bit desperate. But it is summertime TV and it is not about the quality, but just keeping something alive through the off-viewing TV season.

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