An eerie mist descends from the hills causing chaos in a small town in Maine. Thirty-seven years after first being published, and a decade after creeping its way onto the big screen, an adaptation of Stephen King’s The Mist is getting the TV series treatment on Spike.
The first episode opens with a soldier (Okezie Morro), swatting a bug off of his face as he wakes up in the middle of the forest with a dog patiently waiting by his side. Not knowing who he is or how he got there he tromps off into the woods with his four-legged companion. The mist slowly creeps in and we get our first sense that it contains more than innocent droplets of water. With fear setting in, he manages to find the road and a traffic sign pointing towards civilization.
My only other experience with The Mist comes via the Frank Darabont film ten years ago. In terms of the characters they were pretty straight forward and the only mystery was: What is the mist and where does it come from? With this being a drawn out television show, The Mist has injected more ambiguity into the story.
Done incorrectly, some of the characters could have come off as corny, but instead are interesting enough. Alyssa Sutherland (Vikings) plays Eve Copeland, a resident with a past that comes up in small whispers throughout the episode. The husband Kevin is played by Morgan Spector, caught in the middle of trying to bring his overprotective wife closer together with their daughter Alex (Gus Birney) who is getting to that age where the parents need to start letting go.
Later we meet Alex’s mascara-eyed friend, Adrian (Russell Posner), during a tense dinner scene where his dad refuses to talk to him. Afterwards the father storms off from the table the mother ridiculously explains “You know your father can’t hear you when you’re wearing make-up.”
There are several other side characters (the town cop, the hippie married couple, the burned out junkie, etc.) and the script does a nice job of naturally maneuvering them to different places where they will inevitably end up crossing paths with one another. After attending a high school football game, Alex and Adrian go to a house party where Alex’s crush and star quarterback are hanging out. The next day the Copeland family is torn apart by an appalling crime. Going their separate ways, they begin to intertwine with the side characters just as the mist is bearing down on the town.
As expected in a first episode the mist itself plays a smaller role, not really baring its teeth until the end. When it does, however, the series doesn’t hold back on the gore. The visuals are quite graphic and it will be interesting to see how much they can get away with being on Spike (I’m guessing a lot). They didn’t go too overboard, though, as they’ll no doubt need to save some eye-popping visuals for later in the season, but some of the shots left me with my mouth open and eyebrows raised. A particular scene with Eve approaching a clouded glass door at the mall left me optimistic for the level of horror they will bring later in the season, and I’m looking forward to seeing more from The Mist.
The Mist premieres tonight at 10pm ET/PT on Spike TV.