As I prepared to watch the pilot episode of Spike TV’s new adaptation of Stephen King’s The Mist, there were a few things that worried me. First and foremost, how horrific and gory was this really going to be on Spike, second, how will the characters come across and third, how were they going to keep this interesting, spread out over ten episodes. Well, I certainly won’t judge the whole series on one episode but while the horror was a nice surprise, the characters and interest factor need a little work.
The 2007 Frank Darabont movie was in my opinion, fantastic and very underrated. You had characters you cared about, a tense and terrifying setting and humans fighting with humans instead of working together. This of course, is Stephen King’s signature story setting and one he does very well. With all that being said, the TV version of The Mist has a lot to live up to and it starts with the characters. Morgan Spector (Kevin Copeland) and Alyssa Sutherland (Eve Copeland) play the married couple at the middle of this mess and frankly, they have zero chemistry. I’m not saying this won’t change, maybe it was the whole strange setup to bring those new to the story into the fold, but there were some really painful scenes in this episode.
The episode starts off in an interesting way, with a possible military plot arc that was only briefly touched on in the movie. Conspiracies can be a good thing, especially if the military is involved, so I like this as something that they can expand on over the ten episodes. Some nice but creepy conflicts were quickly thrown into the story, some look promising, others I have no idea. The tension points have been set up, now we have to see if the characters can be developed enough to carry it on week after week and more importantly, for the viewer to actually care about who is going to get swallowed up in the mist.
Interestingly, the best part of the pilot was the horror/gore. It seems Spike is trying to go the way NBC did with Hannibal (although I still cannot believe what they got away with on that show) and try and be a bit more edgy, tense and bloody. There were a few jump scares and let’s be honest, a big thick mist full of who knows what is just a breeding ground for jump scares. Blood flowed, close ups on gory, destroyed body parts, this is definitely not your average lightweight show here. However, blood and gore will not make the series, even if it is welcome, and if the characters don’t get more interesting the viewers will start cheering for whatever it is that lives in the mist to finish them all off.
It is just human nature to want to compare the movie to the series and this is not a good idea, at least not yet. While the pilot was not a slam dunk in terms of convincing viewers to watch week after week, I think there was enough there to keep the coming for a couple more episodes at least, so that is where The Mist must up its game and give us something worthy of a ten episode commitment. There are too many good options on TV these days so there is no time for any throw away episodes. Grab the viewers now and make them want to cheer for something other than the evil shit that lives in the mist.
Three and a half stars out of five
- The horror and gore look to have a prominent role in the series
- The mist is a wonderful place to build suspense and dread
- Characters did not start off interesting or engaging
- Viewers need to care about who lives or dies and not just cheer for whatever it is that lives in the mist