The Mist, a novella from the legendary mind of Stephen King, was already made into a film by Frank Darabont in 2007. With the movie still fairly fresh in everyone's minds, many wondered why Spike would be turning the horror property into a new TV series.
Well, after watching the pilot episode of the new show, the answer is pretty simple; It's better than the movie.
The Mist TV series tells the story of a Northeastern town that's taken over by a horrifying fog. The mist itself isn't too scary, but what's lurking just out of sight definitely is. Instead of being a strict adaptation of the book - as the movie was - the new series only takes the concept from the source material. Many of the characters, settings, and plotlines are much different - but it manages to capture the stress and tone of King's work like the movie never could.
When the series begins, you're immediately thrown into the mix. The very first episode - without spoiling anything - teases the dangers of the mist itself, in order to get audiences invested before a little time is spent building the town of Bridgeville and its inhabitants.
Speaking of the town, this is where The Mist really has an opportunity to set itself apart. A slew of characters are introduced in the first 20-30 minutes of the episode, and each one is given a complicated, yet relatable backstory. Every character has baggage that they're bringing to the table, and the small town setting sets the stage for all of that baggage to come to light, eventually. Since everybody in Bridgeville knows everybody else's dirty laundry, there's so much to be explored and revealed throughout the series.
Those two elements - the small town vibe and the mysterious characters - are where The Mist truly nails the work of Stephen King. His books often make you feel claustrophobic, mainly because you can't escape the setting that the characters find themselves in. Whether the story goes to the library, the circus, or a warehouse loading dock, no character ever feels truly comfortable.
When it comes to the characters, each of them is shrouded in mystery. As a viewer watching the series, it's hard to ever understand who should be trusted and who shouldn't. It speaks volumes to the writing of showrunner Christian Thorpe and his team, as well as the talents of the actors.
Alyssa Sutherland, Okezie Morro, and Russell Posner are three of the major highlights of this cast. However, Morgan Spector is the actor that will stand out most to audiences. His character, Kevin Copeland, is the most similar to King's original protagonist, David Drayton. Spector is able to capture the complexity and transparency of the every-man, a feat that escaped Thomas Jane in the film.
As for the horror elements, The Mist won't leave anyone wanting, you just have to be a little patient in order to reach the pay-off; once the actual mist arrives, it's off to the races. The scenes shot inside the dense fog make you fell uneasy, and there's a sense that you're actually lost along with the characters. It's a brilliant blend of pacing and camera work that hasn't been seen in a horror TV series before.
While Spike isn't exactly well-known for its scripted programming, it's likely that will change over the course of 2017. The Mist is a breath of fresh air in terms of horror on television, and genre fans would be keen to flock to the series as it unfolds.
The series premiere of The Mist will air on Spike on June 22, and we suggest you tune in.
Official Score: 4/5 Stars