Countless adaptations of Stephen King's works have appeared on both the big and small screens over the past several decades, some successful and some not. Of course, condensing a novel into a couple of hours for a film is a daunting prospect. But stretching one book out over several episodes — and possibly several seasons — of a television show asks for the opposite: expanding the source material. And that's especially true of King's shorter works. On June 22, Spike TV premieres The Mist, inspired by King's novella by the same name. So, how different is The Mist from the book?
The trailers show that the adapted series is shaping up to be a pretty different beast than King's original work, first published in 1980. Keep in mind that a movie version of The Mist directed by Frank Darabont came out in 2007. It stayed relatively true to the novella, aside from a very controversial ending. So it makes sense that The Mist series creator Christian Torpe would want to go in a different direction for his own project, instead of simply regurgitating the same story in a different form. From the looks of it, the bones of King's story are definitely still there in The Mist, but they have been fleshed out a bit to better serve the series format.
Here are some of the differences that fans of the original may notice about the new Spike show, The Mist.
Recurring King canon characters such as David Drayton and Mrs. Carmody may have made their way from the pages to the movie version of The Mist, but don't expect to see them in the series. There will be a whole new band of survivors that the show will follow as they battle the monsters that lurk in the fog outside.
The book follows one group of survivors as they huddle inside of a grocery store for safety from the impending, horror-filled mist. That works for a movie because there is a definitive end point. Obviously in television, it would be very difficult to keep a group of people in the same exact location for a season or more (I'm looking at you The Walking Dead, Season 2), so The Mist series will bring viewers to several different locations where groups of survivors are setting up camp.
As a fan of the book, I am really excited to see this expansion of King's world. After being engrossed in the stories of the people hiding in the grocery store, it will be fascinating to get to follow individuals in different locations to see how a wider scope of characters handle the horrifying situation unfolding around them outside.
Lots Of Sexy Time
Expect to see a lot more sexual content and sexual politics mixed in with the unyielding horror. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Torpe spoke about the character Eve's battle against misogyny and how her sexuality is used against her. It looks like the series will examine sexuality in an entirely different way then the novella did.
It Will Be Timely
Torpe told Entertainment Weekly in the same article that he focused on the kinds of fear that he is seeing in the world right now when writing the show. The creator explained:
"We look around at what’s going on in the world, and everyone is constantly looking for someone to blame, or someone to lead them to the promised land. They find people to hate, either because of their gender or race or faith. Those are elements we tap into — how fear drives things like misogyny and homophobia.”
So, it appears that there will be some social justice issues mixed in with the physical, visceral threats as well.
Although it appears that The Mist television show is going to be taking some detours away from King's original work, fans may be fans of the changes.