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

A short review of the premiere of “The Mist” (2017)

I couldn’t help but feel just slightly disappointed by the premiere of “The Mist” (2017).  It wasn’t bad … it just wasn’t as amazing as its trailer made it look.  I’d rate it a 7 out of 10.

The first episode’s horror elements felt rote, rushed and cheesy.  The pre-credits teaser was nearly campy.  Director Adam Bernstein just isn’t Frank Darabont.  (Curiously, each episode seems to be helmed by a different director.)  And what seems like “The Mist’s” milquetoast main protagonist is played somewhat anemically by Morgan Spector.

Still, the show displays some promise.  Instead of rushing straight into its otherworldly-monster MacGuffin, it goes to great lengths to set up some interesting human drama, and it mostly succeeds.  Besides Spector’s ostensibly likable Dad, the characters felt fresh and interesting.  (And regarding that human drama?  I strongly suspect the individual accused of the crime here is not the actual perpetrator.  That’s what the clues are telling me, anyway.  It would be devilishly clever, I think, if his accuser turned out to be the one guilty.)  “The Mist’s” attention to characters here is something of which I think Stephen King would approve.

The show also seems pretty ambitious.  It places its diversity of characters in a number of locations throughout its small-town setting, and a couple are embroiled in some kind of interesting conflict even before the titular mist arrives.  For just a single episode, it feels tightly plotted.

Anyway, if you’re curious about what the mist really is … there is an explanation in King’s source material — and I’m not talking about only the vague allusions in the novella of the same name.  Die-hard King fans know it was further described in his “The Dark Tower” series.  It’s been named as “todash space” by the denizens of one of King’s many worlds — it’s a monster-filled limbo that falls between myriad parallel universes: http://stephenking.wikia.com/wiki/Todash_space.

 

 

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