The recent CBS Home Entertainment BD release of S2 of the Stephen Spielberg/Stephen King CBS scifi drama "Under the Dome" is perfect for marathon (rather than binge) watching over the holidays. It also makes one count the days until the 2015 premiere of the third season.
The sturdy creative packaging of the BD set and the video and audio enhancements in this version of this very well-produced series greatly contribute to enjoying these 13 episodes that follow the British television model that emphasizes quality over quantity.
The numerous parallels between "Dome" and the earlier series "Lost" scream out a comparison. Although thoroughly examining these similarities requires much more than the available space and time, it must be mentioned that the pilots of both programs begin with a catastrophic event that strands our heroes (and villains).
The epic footage during the pilot of "Dome" focuses on the enormous transparent item coming down on the town of Chester's Mill without any warning and with unknown (if any) provocation.
The inhabitants of this small community and a few outsiders who become trapped face challenges that include the consequences of having limited resources, being cut off from the rest of the world, and finding a way out of their predicament. The fact that some loved ones of these far more than seven stranded castaways are outside the dome and cannot join their special someones contributes to the drama.
S2 opens immediately where cliffhangers in S1 left off. The most significant plot line is Locke-like town leader/used car salesman "Big Jim" Rennie having a noose around the neck of quasi-nefarious Jack-Sawyer hybrid Dale "Barbie" Barbara (nicely played by Mike Vogel of "Bates Motel") and ready to lynch him for an crime that occurs in S1. (Dean Norris of "Breaking Bad" seems born to play Big Jim.)
Other developments lead to introducing the Charliesque Sam, whom Eddie Cahill of "Friends" and "CSI: New York" portrays. The deal of Sam is that he is an EMT who becomes a hermit and an alcoholic following the apparent suicide of his sister Pauline, who was married to Big Jim, several years earlier.
The event that prompts Sam to venture from his cabin in the woods into the life of the town is the mysterious appearance of an adolescent girl. Teen sleuth and all-American boy Joe McAlister (who "young" Sam Winchester on "Supernatural" actor Colin Ford plays) and his sidekick/sweetie newcomer Norrie discover that the new girl in town looks just like Melanie Cross, who was the new girl in town twenty-five years earlier before disappearing.
S2 also introduces high school science teacher Rebecca Pine, who is more like the Professor from "Gilligan's Island" than a "Lost" character. Rebecca repeatedly utilizes scientific methods to counteract the effects of the latest mischief that the dome inflicts on the townsfolk.
Like the actions of the "Lost" island and discoveries on it, the dome seeks to test and control what occurs within its sphere of influence. It also does not hesitate to inflict punishment when it determines that doing so is apt.
The tests include an infestation of crop-eating insects, highly toxic rain, and an early onset of cool weather. The punishments include inflicting great physical and emotional harm.
The "Lost" parallel continues with plot lines related to characters finding a potentially viable escape route, setting primary action outside the dome, and learning more about the probable reason for the dome falling, what it wants, and the dire consequences of angering it.
The buildup to the S2 cliffhanger includes a fairly substantial bloodbath related to a main character going off the rails, the dome closing in on the town, and an attempted mass exodus. The final scene suggests a proverbial game-changer for the third season.
The plethora of extras include a discussion with producer Stephen King about this show based on his novel of the same name, a making-of look at the S2 season premiere, a gag reel, and deleted scenes.
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