by Nile Fortner
I am someone who is actually a fan of ‘The Mist’ novel by Stephen King. I actually consider it one of my favorite novels, and I have read it a couple of times. I even went back and read it before the first episode aired on Spike TV. This may not be the most popular thing to say, but I am actually a fan of the movie as well. I consider it one of my favorite movies because it works with a tight budget, and proves you can have a compelling story that is mainly character driven. The only thing that didn’t work for me was the ending of that film. I will never forget that ending, so that’s good. On the other hand, it’s an ending that makes your heart feel like it was hit by a ton of bricks.
When I first saw the advertisement for this show, I was smiling from ear to ear. The series was being advertised as a spin- off and continuation of both the movie and the book, and I was ready to glue my eyeballs to the screen and check this out. I’m just going to get right into it. Season one of The Mist is not a spin – off and continuation of the novel and film. It is more of a re-imagining, a re-imagining with very little terror, bad CGI, poorly acted, and honestly doesn’t deliver the goods when compared to the novel or movie for that matter.
What makes this a re – imagining is that it is the same premise as the book and film, yet they changed certain things from the original source material, especially from the movie. If you’re a horror – aholic, I’m sure you all know a thing or two about ‘The Mist’ already, a small town in Maine and the mist comes into play. Residents are afraid of the malevolent creatures that come from out of the mist. This leads to residents turning on each other and being afraid for their lives. This is all stuff from the book and movie. Even though the show is satisfying the audience with familiar plot points, I think of it as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. By this I mean, it’s good comfort food for the moment. But when you get down to it, there is really nothing about it that is really challenging or packs a punch.
The show did a decent job of trying to establish everyone in the small town. In the first episode, we are introduced to the Copeland family. Parents, Eve and Kevin, have different ideas on how to raise their teenage daughter, Alex. Eve doesn’t want her pretty daughter to go to a high school party celebrating the latest football victory with handsome ‘n hunky jocks, because she fears something bad will happen. Residents in the town are constantly gossiping about Eve and giving her that stink-eye look. Eve is disliked in the small town because she is a teacher and wants to teach sex education to students in public schools, but she is a little too liberal for certain parents. Alex’s best friend Adrian is also a fellow student who is bullied at school and snubbed at home. Kevin is our middle man, the character audiences can relate with. But honestly, I did not find Kevin that interesting of a character.
Everyone is written somewhat well except for Kevin. We know all these details about everyone else except the character that gets the most screen time. I feel like all we know about him is he loves his wife and daughter to the point where he would give a couple of boots to asses for them. That’s it, not much else on his background, family history, and or personal beliefs. I just wish his character were written a little bit better and more well rounded. That brings me to my next point, the writing on this show.
This show could have been written far stronger. It really is a point A to point B type of series. Run from the mist to go the hospital to get to a parking garage, run from a grocery store to get to a church, I’m sure you get the idea. Where the writing shines would be with dealing with a couple of dramatic circumstances for our characters. Such as, Alex having to deal with one of the football jocks for an incident that happened at the party, or Adrian having to deal with his issues and father.
Also, the book and film did an extraordinary job of showing how the mist and people can be equally terrifying. The residents do come off as scary people, but the mist did not come off as nerve – racking as it should have been. In the movie, if you are out in the mist for literally a minute, something is going to come down to swoop your ass away and will kill you in a split second. However, in the show, people are in the mist in and out constantly. Where are the giant monsters from other worlds? Where is the overall fear in these characters? They run through the mist, they walk through the mist, drive through it, have full blown conversations within the mist that’s around them. Earlier I mentioned how the mist causes hallucinations, but those hallucinations are not very frightening. I personally would have liked to see the monsters and the hallucinations play a role together.
I do not want to make it seem like the writing is the only issue. There are some issues, but I do believe some of the dramatic writing worked, and it’s that drama that kept me somewhat interested. In addition, the writing isn’t the main problem, I believe it is the directing. I don’t know if it is the directing or the acting, but a majority of the actors unfortunately just need a little bit more time learning the craft of acting. Some of the acting on this show is even bad for television standards. The chemistry between Eve and Alex feels very staged and the delivery of dialogue comes off like they are reading off constant cue cards. It’s not just them, when Eve and Alex are in the mall, you see the other actors not performing to their best abilities as well. Frances Conroy (American Horror Story) is in this series as well. She starts off as a lovely gardening hippie woman, but things go south for her very quickly. I believe she gave the best performance on this series.
I’m not going to spend too much time on the CGI. It looks like something from a Playstation 2 video game. Also, the movie would play around with dark colors to make the mist seem more eerie. But in some episodes, the mist doesn’t come off as threatening when there are blue skies above. I did like how we see the P.O.V. (Point of View) of the characters looking out and running through the mist. That was a good and clever technique to put the audience in the characters shoes.
Season one of ‘The Mist’ needs some better writing, performances, and directing. I can get past the cheesy acting and poor CGI, but the writing has to improve. The drama between certain characters was enough to keep me invested. On the other hand, I wish the horror could have been written just as well as that drama. Especially since the original source material is horror. As I said earlier, it’s like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich of a series. It’s comfort food, but yet you eventually want to bite into something more flavorful and filling. I am interested in where season two goes. Not so much for the mist and the horror, but for the few characters they have that seem interesting. I really hope we get to see The Mist’ season two. I believe season one of ‘The Mist’ earns…
2 out of 5 Hairpieces!