In the avalanche of pilot announcements every winter, it's hard to pick a standout. Even the ones that seem promising don't live to see the upgrade to "series" and ones you thought might have been a joke to keep us on our toes are suddenly being produced with real money for real television (ahem, Work It and [UPSIDE DOWN EXCLAMATION POINT FOR FLAVOR]Rob!). But one that rose above the fray, with an order to go straight to series, is CBS's Stephen King adaptation Under the Dome, which has just added Twilight vet Rachelle Lefevre to its lineup.
The sci-fi tale finds a community encapsulated by a mysterious dome that appears, rendering their pleasant lives a post-apocalyptic wasteland. (Watch out, Revolution.) And with the help of Lost EP Jack Bender and Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment, the series combines the directing know-how of the man behind Sweden's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Neils Arden Oplev, and a sizable cast including Lefevre and Breaking Bad's Dean Norris . The summer series is shaping up to be a must-watch and perhaps a chance for CBS to break into the quality summer programming game currently ruled by AMC and HBO.
Not convinced? Here's why this CBS drama is worth your attention.
1. Rachel Lefevre's Probably Not Going to Be Replaced by Bryce Dallas Howard Again: The red-headed actress originated the role of Victoria, a sadistic, vengeful vampire in the Twilight movies, but as the films' profile rose, she was dropped for a bigger star. This time, Lefevre will get the chance to make and keep her mark (as long as CBS keeps the show) as Julia, an investigative journalist searching for her missing husband, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
2. Dean Norris, You Guys: If there's one terrible side effect of the end of Breaking Bad after this summer, it's that the lack of incredible actors like Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, and Norris on television will be a palpable, empty feeling. Luckily, Under the Dome will do its best to ease us through this difficult time with a healthy dose of some Hank Schrader in a giant, post-apocalyptic bubble world.
3. Speaking of Which: A Giant Post-Apocalyptic Bubble World: It's an interesting take on the narrative we've been told time and again. The world ends, what now? But unlike on The Walking Dead and Revolution, there is no where else to turn for these people. They can't find others who've suffered their fate. They're stuck together. Just think of all the potential mother-in-law drama.
4. And If Anyone's Going to Lead a Group of Isolated People, It's Lost Vet Bender: Let's see. Drop a group of folks into a dangerous world they can't escape without links to the outside world. Who better to lead the charge than a man who directed and produced ABC's beloved sci-fi drama about a group of people stuck on a mysterious island with no means of escape? No one. That's who.
5. Summer TV is Getting Good: Sure, AMC and HBO have been taking advantage of the dearth of summer programming that doesn't involve water stunts and watching strangers live in an over-surveilled house with an occasional robot visitor, but they can't run that show forever. The networks are getting wise, slowly but surely. And adding Under the Dome to the summer line-up is just the first step. Your move, cable.
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[Photo Credit: Summit Entertainment]