John C Adams Reviews 'The Mist'
(TV Series, Spike and Netflix, 2017)
I tend to have high expectations with screen adaptation of works by Stephen King, but they don't always live up to their full potential, and 'The Mist' was not renewed for a second season. Despite finding that out just as I was about to watch the last of ten episodes in season one, I was determined to see the season through and I still hope for a renewal even now. I didn't really get into the earlier film version, despite being a fan of Andre Braugher, although Jim watched the whole thing and said he quite liked it. So we were both intrigued by what the TV version would offer.
The inhabitants of beautiful Bridgeville, Maine are surprised as a cloying mist swiftly descends on their community. They seek to protect themselves as best they can while buying time to understand what could have happened. A number are trapped at the mall, some take refuge in a church and others head for the local hospital. Forced into closer proximity with their neighbours in a small town, they begin to see a darker side of those they thought they knew and to question their own priorities.
One of the three plot strands revolves around the Copelands: mother, father and teenage daughter Alex, who was recently raped at a party and accuses the local sheriff's son of being her attacker. Another plot strand involves a soldier, Bryan Hunt, who wakes up to discover himself lying out in the woods, unsure of his identity or why he is there. The third is centred around the death of long-term resident Benedict Raven out in the mist and his ageing wife Natalie's (a standout performance from Francis Conroy) subsequent, bizarre grieving process.
I enjoyed this TV show immensely and felt that it merited further seasons. The season finale clearly threw it open to renewal and expansion, rather than tying up loose ends and offering a satisfyingly complete ending. One of the reasons I hope to see further seasons even now was that the cause of the bloodthirsty mist was left unexplained, although the existence of the nearby army base where experimentation was hinted at taking place, Hunt's memory loss and the mysterious presence of undercover soldiers at the mall all pointed the viewer towards the belief that the army had created the mist encircling the town.
Comfortably within the horror genre, there was a regular supply of bloody action and gruesome events generated initially by the mist and later by people turning on each other. The central message was that times of strain, with everyone pressed in together, seldom bring out the best in people. Authority figures faired badly in this show, with decent people emerging to show leadership when they are tried by the test of experience and those already in positions of responsibility when the mist descends found wanting. This is common in the 'end of the world' genre and it was well utilised here.
There were shortcomings, of course, which is probably why it was cancelled after season one. Very few characters represented a positive take on the situation. I personally did not like the way that Alex Copeland, the rape victim, was further traumatised by being trapped in the mall with the boy she accuses of attacking her, however the twists and turns of plot took the viewer on from the initial starting point of accusation. But on balance I would suggest giving it a go, and I still hope that these shortcomings could be fixed were this show to return.
Thank you so much for joining me for this John C Adams Reviews blogpost. Please share your thoughts on horror TV you've enjoyed and would recommend in the comments section below.
My next post is for 'Why Not Wednesday'. See you then.
Many thanks to photographers ziixii, Barb Meunier and Marinela Prodan for providing the images for this blog via freeimages.com