A small town in the US suddenly is encompassed with a mysterious clear dome where nobody can get in or out and survival becomes of the utmost importance. That’s the conceit of CBS’s new sci-fi drama, Under The Dome, which is based on the Stephen King best-selling novel of the same name and is being produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television.
The series, which stars Rachelle Lefevre (early Twilight films) and Britt Robertson (The Secret Circle), focuses primarily on how the residents of Chester’s Mill react to the Dome and, this being a Stephen King novel, we’ll see the dark side of human nature come out.
Besides the residents of the town, a lesbian couple (played by Samantha Mathis and Aisha Hinds) happen to be passing through town with their daughter (Mackenzie Lintz) and also end up trapped inside the dome.
Here’s what we know from the first episode of Under The Dome at which AfterEllen had an early peek.
Carolyn (Hinds), an entertainment attorney, and Alice Calvert (Samantha), a therapist, are a lesbian couple from Los Angeles who are driving their troubled less-than-cheery daughter Norrie (Mackenzie Lintz) to a nearby camp for troubled teens.
It’s mentioned that Norrie bit another girl but with her sullen, bratty disposition, but with her less-than-cheery disposition it’s easy to see that’s just the tip of what she may have done to land her at a camp to help straighten out an unruly teenager.
Though it’s unclear in the first episode, certain events make it clear that it’s possible that Norrie is a link to the dome – either in understanding it or perhaps in what exactly it is.
For fans of the King book, the three females are new characters. “Those are some characters who weren’t in the books or are composites,” Brian K. Vaughan, Executive Producer who developed the project, said during a recent press screening of the first episode. “King was really encouraging when he heard the idea of a Los Angeles entertainment lawyer and a shrink being stuck in small town Chester’s Mill. They’ve been really fun characters and Norrie has been really great.”
Asked if the issue of two women in a committed relationship raising a child becomes an issue in the small town, Executive Producer Neal Baer (Law & Order: SVU, ER) answered, “We talk about it in the show and it comes up.” Watch for the third episode to get more into the issue, Baer teased.
Since these are new characters, was a lesbian couple raising a child created for the sake of making comment on the very relevant debate today about gay couples raising children? “Absolutely,” Vaughan said. “The book is set in Maine, which is pretty homogenous, so I think we made a conscious decision about ‘let’s not be so specific.’ It’s Anytown, USA so we can get a little more diversity in the cast and more diversity in the climate and what kind of town this is.”
Once the dome appears and the people in the town realize they’re trapped, watch for things to get serious, which will be a way for the show to comment on how we as a culture react in dire situations. “It gets pretty dark,” Baer revealed. “They’re in trouble, big trouble. Human nature rears it’s beautiful and ugly head in the course of the season.”
One problem they’ll surely face is water and food supply as well as, of course, medicine, which will more than likely play an important role with Carolyn and Alice since it seems that Alice is diabetic. Carolyn voices her concern about Alice’s insulin levels in the first episode and that proves to be the reason they stopped in town in the first place.
However, without spoiling too much, it’s not Alice who needs medical attention in the first episode but someone else in the threesome.
Since the people in Chester’s Mill are trapped inside the dome, will we find out if it’s possible to literally venture under the dome to get out? Vaughan said that that very issue is addressed in episode two.
One thing’s for sure, even though Under The Dome is starting out as a summer event series, the door is definitely left open to keep the story going if the first season clicks with viewers.
Are you sold on Under The Dome? Will you be watching? Check back soon for interviews with both Samantha Mathis and Aisha Hinds.
Under The Dome premieres tonight at 10 p.m. on CBS.