The premise of CBS’s brand new Stephen King adaptation, Under the Dome, is a familiar one – take a group of people with clashing personalities and a whole lot of secrets, lock them up together and see what happens. What has happened so far is an okay pilot for what is going to be a summer mini-series, based on the eponymous 2009 King novel.

While the first hour of the horror/drama doesn’t really have a lot to offer in terms of plot, we’re willing to explain that away with the necessary exposition. What Under the Dome seems to offer (besides some thoroughly entertaining footage of a cow and several houses sliced in half) is a tale of middle class mediocrity breaking down under the threat of apocalyptic mayhem. And really, with the slew of zombie films, disaster films and various apocalyptic interpretations across all forms of media, we’ve seen quite a lot of that already. At some point the breakdown of society ceases to be an entertaining plot and becomes a cliché. What’s supposed to bring some flavor to the somewhat bland series is the weight of the secrets most of the characters are hiding.

In the first episode, we see the show’s immediate villain, “Barbi” (Mike Vogel) bury a body and try to get out of town – only to be stopped by the dome dropping, of course. He then goes on to make government jokes and disrupt the discussion, which doesn’t really go beyond the “Oh no, what do?” stage in the first episode. Still, most of the pilot’s flaws are typical of a first episode and Under the Dome might still build up to an exciting resolution by the end of the series. In case you feel like catching an episode or two, the show airs Monday at 10PM on CBS.

Mike Vogel, ABC Party

Mike Vogel's character raises what are likely the first of many questions in the series.

Rachelle Lefevre, Heal the Bay's Bring Back The Beach Awards
Rachelle Lefevre is the town's newspaper editor, who has her own motives for solving the mystery of the dome.