Review: One Word to Describe The First Season of CBS' Under The Dome – Absurd

^The greenery sure grew back fast after that atomic bomb, eh?

Season 1 and finale spoilers. But none of it makes sense anyway.

Well what in the world was that? What exactly were those 13 hours I watched?

I’m such a nerd for sci-fi, supernatural, general weirdness kind of shows. So I was definitely, at the very least, going to check out CBS’ Under The Dome when it premiered. And the first episode definitely made me want to come back for more.

And I did, for four episodes. At that point, I liked the show and all, but none really compared to the premiere and the week of Episode 5 came and I forgot to watch. Really though, I wasn’t all that excited to watch anyway. And I certainly was in no hurry to catch up.

Weeks and weeks passed, but it wasn’t until last week (two weeks after the season finale) that I actually brought myself to finish the season.

And boy. Marathoning the final episodes was already pretty tough. So I don’t know how I would’ve been able to keep watching if I spent nine weeks having to watch the series and wonder what crazy thing would happen next.

And there was lots of crazy.

Now the biggest questions the series’ premise poses are the What? and Why? What the hell is this dome and why has it descended on this small town and sliced cows in half?

Those are the questions you know are not going to be answered easily. So what should reel the viewer in week after week are the conflicts resulting from being trapped and the fight for survival by the disconnected-from-the-outside-world townspeople. That’s while we get clues and hints at the bigger picture and get to know our heroes and heroines and villains.

Well. We certainly got conflicts. But we also got exploding hearts and eardrums. A wall of Monarch butterflies. And a first kiss in front of an atomic bomb.

And no. None of it made sense.

During the first few episodes of Under the Dome, it was clear the dialogue would be rough going and the characters merely existing to cater to the plot. And the cast was nothing to write home about, especially with such awkward writing.

For a premise dependent on the characters’ reactions to the central conflict, the series was purely plot driven. And in turn, caused the characters to be merely what they needed to be week to week to support whatever forced catastrophe was thought up or to recite exposition explaining facts about the dome that seemed to be pulled out of the air.

I love random, absurd sci-fi developments, but Under The Dome seemed to take it to new, nonsensical heights I’ve certainly never experienced before. Explanations about the chosen 4 (is this Battlestar Galatica?), the need to murder the series’ cartoon, moustache-twirling villain because the dome told them to, the importance of a butterfly, the importance of a “Monarch,” black splotches, secret Iraq pasts, debts, drugs, dead mothers popping up from the ground, pre-fabricated gallows, pink light shows, and eggs… all absurd nonsense with absolutely no basis for any of it.

I mean, they talked more about Monarch butterflies in an episode more than NBC’s Kings did in its entire run where the butterflies actually were important to the story.

It all made for probably the most frustrating final episodes of a season I’ve ever seen from any show ever.

No, we didn’t get a single answer as the series literally faded to white as a cliffhanger. Which shouldn’t be a surprise when CBS ordered season 2.

But the series also didn’t give any indication that anyone knew what it was doing. It was 13 episodes of absurd nonsense. And the longer I think about what I watched in 2 days last week, the more absurd I think Under The Dome became. And the more absurd, the more enjoyable hilarious, actually.

Having never read the original novel by Stephen King myself, I decide to pop on over to the read its Wikipedia summary version before its premiere to get a gist of what the series was generally about. And I didn’t really mind reading about its ending since they assured the series would be different.

Now I’m starting to think they should’ve just left well enough along and done a straight miniseries adaptation of the novel and be done with it. The novel’s original conclusion is quick and easy, it seems. But it makes a whole lot more sense than what we’ve gotten with the series.

But it’s a sci-fi fantasy show! you might say. Of course it won’t make sense!

Well, that’s not necessarily true. Things can be random and crazy, yet still make sense and fit into a puzzle. Instead, we’ve got eggs and mini domes made of dirt and dead-not-dead butterflies choosing the Messiah or something.

As horribly as the story progressed (or not), the season finale at the very least should have given the show’s millions of fans (and there are millions, which is why CBS was more than happy to greenlight a season 2) some solid ground to stand on and wait for next year.

Like Revolution panning away from an American colony in Cuba at the end of its season 1 finale or even The Event ending its final episode with an entire planet come flying into the Earth’s atmosphere; Under The Dome should’ve given something, anything, that was definitive and not just throw out even more absurd rules that mean nothing.

And yet, I’m still going to be there when the series returns next Summer (or Spring, if CBS needs to fill a slot). If only to see if the Stephen King-penned premiere actually gives any semblance of hope. But also to see just how they can top themselves with nonsensical absurdity.

Absurd. What better way to describe the series than with the word: Absurd.

If you want a good dramatic series about people stuck in a dome, watch Power Rangers RPM. Now there’s a good show. Absurd it is not.

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