Five Stephen King Mini-Series Favorites

While catching up on the latest episode of Under the Dome with my husband last night, I got to thinking…what better time is there to do a blog on my favorite Stephen King mini-series?

So, here goes…

Under the Dome: Although the show is brand new and only a couple of episodes into the series, I am taking a leap of faith and including it in the list because it seems very promising thus far. In a recent letter to his fans, Stephen King mentions that the mini-series will differ greatly from the novel in several ways, including (and this is perfectly alright with me since I was not crazy about the way the novel ended) the source of the Dome. For those who are unfamiliar with the novel and/or the series, long story short – a transparent dome suddenly falls over the town of Chester’s Mill, completely cutting it off from the rest of the world. The series stars Rachelle Lefevre (known as Victoria to Twilight fans) as the town’s journalist and Mike Vogel (who horror aficionados will recognize from Cloverfield, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2003, and Bates Motel) as a suspicious newcomer. The series is off to a great start and Barbie’s bloody handprint on the Dome certainly seems like an image that will endure in the world of horror.

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Kingdom Hospital: I re-watch this show every year around Halloween. I was addicted to it when it first aired in 2004. My husband and I were still dating at the time and I’m sure he remembers all too well how I used to end our nightly phone chats early on Wednesdays to watch Kingdom Hospital. The series focuses on its namesake – a place where strange is the norm. The hospital has a dark history (which I will not spoil for you) and is staffed by some of the weirdest people you will ever meet (including a nearly blind security guard and a surgical nurse who faints at the sight of blood). The show stars Jack Coleman as Peter Rickman, an artist who is severely injured by a distracted driver while jogging. Peter is taken to Kingdom Hospital, where he remains comatose and is befriended by the troubled ghost of a little girl. There are too many sub-plots to mention in one sitting, but the show is definitely worth watching.

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Storm of the Century: Based on the screenplay by Stephen King (which was written exclusively for television and is now available as a paperback), Storm of the Century is tons of fun (especially when watched during a storm). Little Tall Island, Maine is hit by a blizzard, which leaves its inhabitants trapped on the island until the storm passes. In the midst of the chaos, a resident of Little Tall Island is viciously killed by a mysterious stranger, who knows the deepest, darkest secrets of the townsfolk and uses this knowledge to unhinge their minds. I won’t spoil who this person is or what his motives are. I will only say that Storm of the Century is well-worth watching.

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Bag of Bones: Almost as good as the novel on which it is based, this series does not disappoint. Pierce Brosnan stars as writer Mike Noonan. After the sudden death of his wife, Mike moves back to the couple’s beloved summer home near Dark Score Lake, where he befriends a young woman and her daughter and becomes entangled in a custody battle and a mysterious curse. The woman is a widow and is fighting to keep her little girl out of the hands of Max Devore – her evil, wealthy former father-in-law and the child’s paternal grandfather. This sub-plot ties in with a curse that afflicts many of the men of Dark Score Lake (the origins of which I will not spoil). In the midst of the aforementioned, Mike’s deceased wife communicates with him from beyond the grave, helping him to unravel the mystery of the curse.

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The Shining: Any true Stephen King fan can tell you that the author was less than thrilled (and that’s putting it kindly) with Stanley Kubrick’s rendition of his novel, The Shining. While the film does differ significantly from the novel, both are masterpieces in their own rights. Displeased with Kubrick’s casting choices and plot changes, King created a mini-series in 1997, which is more true to the novel and his vision. Steven Weber and Rebecca De Mornay star as Jack and Wendy Torrance. Weber’s gradual descent into madness differs greatly from the depiction by Jack Nicholson, who already seems to be off his rocker at the start of the film (which if you ask me, only makes the film creepier). De Mornay’s Wendy is a stark contrast to the portrayal by Shelley Duvall, who is much more subservient and easily intimidated by her husband. Kubrick’s film is my all-time favorite horror movie, but as a lover of Stephen King’s novel, I am also able to appreciate the mini-series as its own separate work of art. Why choose when you can have them both?

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As a side note, The Dead Zone is one of my favorite Stephen King novels. While I am not a big fan of the film, the television series is amazing! The only reason that it was not included in this list is because it ran for six seasons (2002-2007) and does not qualify as a mini-series. The show differs from the novel in many ways, but is able to stand alone as its own unique work.

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So, that’s my list. I hope you enjoyed it. As I was not able to cover all of the great SK mini-series, feel free to chime in in the comments section with your favorites!

Comments

  1. says

    Fun blog, Jennifer. A pleasure as always. I’m not sure if The Man Hunter, Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs fall into the horror genre but I would like your perspective on the connections between the three. In the case of The Man Hunter and Silence of the Lambs, the connection has always been a little weak to me. What do you think?

  2. Jennifer Rodriguez says

    I think they can definitely be considered part of the horror genre. Manhunter and Red Dragon are actually the same movie with different casts. The 1986 film Manhunter is based on Thomas Harris’ novel, Red Dragon. In Manhunter, Hannibal is played by a lesser-known actor named Brian Cox. In 1991, The Silence of the Lambs (the movie) came out and Anthony Hopkins raised the bar for the character, inspiring the later release of the film Red Dragon in 2002, which stars Hopkins as Hannibal. Both Manhunter and Red Dragon have the same plot and are based on the same novel. Red Dragon is essentially a re-do of Manhunter with a better-known cast. They both serve as a prequel to The Silence of the Lambs and delve into the circumstances that lead to Hannibal’s arrest/incarceration. His crimes are discovered by a patient of his, a detective named Will Graham, who he later assists in profiling a serial killer known as the “Tooth Fairy.” I highly recommend the new television series Hannibal…if you like the movies, you’ll enjoy the show. Hope I was able to help! Thanks for reading!

  3. says

    I do love your choices for Stephen King mini series. I like the Dead Zones in particular because of John’s unique talent of touch. Overall your mini series are great watches and I am looking forward to your future blogs.

  4. Amanda davis says

    I would say: the stand, it, salem’s lot, storm of the century, and probably kingdom hospital are my top 5.

  5. says

    I have to say I agree with your choices, but why was Stephen King’s IT left out? I read the book, and the miniseries movie which I saw when I was 13 scared the crap out of me. Tim Curry and Stephen King’s IT deserves to be on here, and I am sad it is not.

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