From what I’ve read, this series did not get good reviews. Never the less, I sat down and watched it anyway, just to see for myself whether this did the book justice or not.
To be frank, it doesn’t. I don’t think the people behind this really understood the basis of the novel. They tried to put more emphasis on horror. I get it to a certain extent, when you see Stephen King’s name on something, you expect it to be scary, but that’s not what this book was about. Yeah, there were ghosts, but they took something of a backseat as far as the overall plot is concerned.
This might be forgivable if the scary scenes were pulled off well. They, however, are not. The script tries to shoehorn in “eerie” scenes with these nightmare sequences that are more giggle inducing than spine-chilling.
The story follows successful writer Mike Noonan, played by (I think, a miscast) Pierce Brosnan. As the series opens, his wife dies. Where as she died of an aneurysm in the book, here, she’s hit by a bus. I’m not sure what the purpose of the change was. I guess they were looking for a reason to use some gore? What I really want to know is why the bus driver didn’t try and slow down or honk his horn to warn her to get out of the way. Instead, he just plows through her without giving it a second thought.
A majority of this episode is just Brosnan alone, talking to himself and brooding. I think he’s trying, but he doesn’t pull it off particularly well. As a result, scenes that are supposed to be dramatic don’t have that effect.
I’m surprised that the series glossed over Noonan’s writer’s block as much as it did. In the book, it’s a major problem, that goes on for some time. It forces Noonan to use up all of his “trunk novels” as he can’t come up with new material without vomiting. Here, there’s one scene where he can’t write, and he does use one old manuscript, but, all things considered, he gets over it pretty quickly.
Another thing that gets glossed over is Noonan’s involvement in a custody battle involving a local woman and her multi-millionaire father in law. Noonan only speaks to her once briefly, and all of a sudden, he’s getting subpoenas, phone calls at home from said millionaire (who by the way is a one-dimensional cartoon character of a villain), and the townsfolk are going out of their way to warn him not to get involved when he was barely involved to begin with.
These are two problems that could’ve been solved had they not wasted so much time on pointless nightmare sequences, but I digress.
I wanted this to be good, but it isn’t. It has some nice riffable scenes (there are points where it seems like Pierce Brosnan is about to converse with a mounted moose head), but all in all, it’s pretty boring. From what I’ve read, part 2 only gets worse, but we’ll find out when it airs tonight.