Left to right: Morgan Spector, Okezie Morro and Danica Curcic star in “The Mist,” the new show adapted from Stephen King’s novella on Spike TV.
By KIMBERLY GRANT
Special to South Florida Times
Thanks to the talents of Stephen King, I will have nightmares about fog for a long time. And, the dark, too.
The celebrated novelist has had many of his works adapted for film and television screens and can’t seem to churn out anything that’s considered bad. He’s been scaring up die-hard fans for decades.
His novella, “The Mist,” is the latest work to be adapted for the television screen with Danish writer/executive producer Christian Torpe at the helm (with producing help from the likes of Bob and Harvey Weinstein of the Weinstein Company and writing help from King himself). Torpe has been a fan of King’s writing since he was 10-years-old and it lends a certain expertise to the making of the series.
The pilot episode (directed by Adam Bernstein) establishes the residents of Bridgeville, Maine, who were introduced in the novella, but are now being fleshed out in the series. The characters are in their own crises as they all encounter the same mist with mysterious and deadly consequences.
In Torpe’s reimagining of the novella and its marketing, he uses the tagline: “Fear. Human.
Nature.” It’s apropos, because the novella isn’t completely about a deadly mist that sweeps through a small town like the fog of Exodus that killed the first born of each house.
It’s really a social commentary on human nature. What would a typical human person (who sees themselves as good) do in a situation where they are reduced to their most basic instinct: survival? What would we do if we were in a place where food was scarce and we had to employ our animal instincts of survival? Would we bring ourselves to kill another human being (innocent or otherwise) in order to stay alive?
As a true testament to King’s prowess as an artist in the writing genre, “The Mist” is also a cautionary tale about climate change. Global warming may not be a major plot point in the series at the moment, but nature turning on humankind has been a fear of many environmentalists and scientists for years.
And, with the recent news about government involvement (or lack thereof) in working toward a better earth for our children, “The Mist” is timely. How would we react to an event caused by Mother Nature in which we were forced to sit and think about what we could have done differently to prevent it in the first place?
In the pilot episode, we meet the main characters who are at odds with each other over a criminal act that has left the town’s people picking sides and drawing a line in the sand. That is, until the mist rolls into town and forces everyone to work through their differences or die trying. The pilot episode doesn’t disappoint in the scare factor, either.
In true Steven King adaptation, there are enough frights to keep the audience on the edge of its seat. There’s also enough storytelling to make the audience want to come back for more.
In the marketing for the series, Torpe has said about King: “Stephen King’s storytelling skills are exceptional and way beyond most other contemporary authors/writers. The core of his stories are about human nature. He understands fear. He understands love. He understands the human mind.”
King writes pretty good characters; hence, why the series is sure to be a hit.
One of the characters in the episode refers to the mist as “Black Spring,” in which the frozen lake turns black and the living beings that use it as a resource are forced to flee as a rebellion against the ever-changing climate.
With a stellar pilot that is sure to keep the audience guessing and jumping with giddy fright, while considering their role in our changing environment, “The Mist” seems poised to be the next best sci-fi series to hit the cable circuit. And, yes, it will make you afraid to travel in the next foggy day. In true Steven King fashion, “The Mist” is scary good.
“The Mist’s” pilot episode will premiere on June 22 at 10 p.m. on Spike TV. Please check local listings for more information.
You can contact Kim Grant at KAliciaG@aol.com.