A review of “The Mist” (2017)

Although it often seemed to show far greater promise, “The Mist” TV series ultimately proved to be pretty average stuff.  I’d rate the 10-episode first season a 6 out of 10.

It started strongly, with real efforts to develop compelling characters, significant tension and a tight plot.  Most of the characters remained compelling.  I found myself liking even Morgan Spector’s protagonist Dad, who I originally thought was milquetoast.  (Spector himself isn’t a bad actor when his character is properly motivated.)  And I found myself really liking Danica Curcic’s troubled, drug-addicted antiheroine.  (She’s one of the best things about the show.)  The young Russell Posner also does some fine work as Adrian.

But the tension that the show created with its eponymous, plot-driving “mist” fizzled toward the end, and just set me up for disappointment.  Fellow monster fans, this is not a creature-feature.  It directly contrasts Frank Darabont’s wonderful 2007 film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel, by featuring mostly supernatural threats instead of physical ones.

Our heroes facing the mist are confronted mostly by phantoms, and various iterations of … sentient snoke.  (I’m guessing they are … demons?  Or some other non-corporeal bad guys?  At one point, are we actually meant to see the four horseman of the apocalypse kill somebody?  Huh?)  The antagonists’ portrayal is confusing and poorly delineated, and the scare factor consequently wears off toward the end of the season.  And the preponderance of CGI-smoke monsters suggests a fog machine and a limited special effects budget.

This is complicated by confusing and unexpected character decisions, which I can only suggest result from poor writing.  The viewers are expected to believe that nearly everyone in a small northern town — save for maybe six or seven characters — quickly succumb to elaborate, new-age fantasies in order to turn on one another.  (I’m inclined to think they’d more quickly divide along racial, economic and traditionally religious lines.)

It wasn’t all bad.  There were some character twists that I quite liked, and the show assiduously sets up a lot of interesting subplots.  It also moved at a brisk pace, even if its scattered ending left me nonplussed.  It was occasionally pretty creepy in parts, too.  I certainly tuned in every week.

I think maybe I’m just a little disappointed because the trailer made this show look amazing, and, by the end, “The Mist” proved to be an average viewing experience.



The Mist