The Mist Review

By
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TV:
Edward Love

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4.5
On June 14, 2017
Last modified:June 14, 2017

Summary:

Escapism at its finest, The Mist is a excellent reinvention of Stephen King's novella that looks set to deliver a character drama married to a gorgeous thriller. With production values of the highest order, television has come a long way indeed.

One episode was provided for review prior to broadcast.

Compact in size but full of bite, Stephen King’s The Mist told the story of a fog that swept through a sleepy town in Maine carrying demons unseen. The original 1980 novella might have only been 130 pages long, but it left its mark on popular culture, inspiring the seminal video game Half-Life and securing a big-screen adaptation in 2007 as well.

But if books and movies had their moment in the sun, now it’s TV’s turn. In a post-Breaking Bad and soon Game of Thrones climate, television is an art-form that’s on the rise, and money is being channeled towards creating shows that look like blockbuster films with the type of character development books once held exclusive rights over.

The Mist is TV for a new age, then; a gorgeously-shot character ensemble about people and their personal struggles. Gone are the low-resolution close-up shots of TV series of old. In its place, we have a magisterial setting filmed in high-definition with lavish production values that mean The Mist looks ten times better than the film that shares its name. Then there’s the script, penned by Christian Torpe and overseen by King himself. In only a few years, it’s amazing how far TV has come.

The ability to build a story slowly is one immediate advantage this medium has. The mist is an all consuming force that sends people into hallucinatory confusion before devouring them whole (How?! Why?!) but before the mist arrives, we meet the townsfolk of Bridgeville, Maine. Alyssa Sutherland of Vikings fame plays a controlling yet libertarian mother named Eve who runs the rule over her sixteen-year-old daughter Alex (Gus Birney), while her husband Kevin (Morgan Spector) watches on with a sense of helplessness.

Alex is in love with quarter-back heartthrob Jay (Luke Cosgrove) at Bridgeville High, but she has to entertain the affections of a gay best friend named Adrian (Russell Posner) who’s wanting to make himself heard, too. One thing leads to another and Eve whisks Alex away to the mall to buy some supplies when the titular mist arrives in full, trapping them inside. In the novella and the film, the shopping mall is the central location of the story and will likely serve as ground zero here as humanity plumbs the depths of depravity in the face of a threat it doesn’t understand. I only hope a character like Mrs. Carmody – the religious fanatic from the book and movie – makes an appearance, too, though there’s no mention of her on the series’ official IMDB page.

Other characters include Bryan (Okezie Morro), who remembers nothing of his past and only has his army garb to fall back on and a slogan written on his clothes to guide him; one familiar to existing fans – “Arrowhead.” He unwittingly meets a mysterious drifter named Mia (Danica Curcic), who’s a new character and an intriguing one at that, and as the pilot winds towards its close, one group is walled off inside the mall while the other goes off in search of them.

I’ve only had the opportunity to watch this single episode but I can’t wait to see more, because The Mist gets off to a strong start. There are some schlocky moments to be sure – watching a high school jock pounce on a boy for being gay is pushing stereotypes to the extreme, while the teenage daughter Alex doesn’t feel like a real person to me yet – but overall, there’s something pleasingly familiar about The Mist. Watching a Stephen King production, you’re in the hands of an experienced storyteller and much like his books, you can sit back and simply enjoy it for what it is: a masterfully-orchestrated performance that, above all else, is designed to entertain you.

King has always had the reader (or the viewer) on his mind – and it shows. Annoying characters are quickly sent to the chopping block with Spielberg-esque moral authority as they’re engulfed by the swirling, distorting mist, which leaves them covered in insects and eventually reappearing with body parts missing. But King has also allowed Christian Torpe to reinvent his work for contemporary audiences. Themes like homosexuality, identity and acceptance are written large, and it’ll be interesting to see how these themes play out in the weeks to come. And with characters across the age spectrum, it’ll very much appeal to audiences young and old. Clever.

In the end, King devotees will devour this whole while fans of shows like Stranger Things will be immediately at home with its milieu. It’s fun, it’s chilling and it’s strangely comforting, too. There are secrets to discover, alliances to forge and surprises on the horizon. It’s entertainment for a Netflix age, where audiences are willing to tune in week by week or binge-watch the entire show. The Mist is a character ensemble designed for extended hours of viewing rather than a mindless gore-fest. So sit back with a bag of popcorn and enjoy the ride.

The Mist Season 1 Review
Fantastic

Escapism at its finest, The Mist is a excellent reinvention of Stephen King's novella that looks set to deliver a character drama married to a gorgeous thriller. With production values of the highest order, television has come a long way indeed.

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