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Stephen King's "The Stand" remake on CBS All Access

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Spaghettiows, Sep 24, 2019.

  1. '05Train

    '05Train Crashin' & Flyin' & Livin' & Dyin'

    I completely disagree, it's terrible. Terrible might not be a strong enough word.

    There are indeed some good performance. The ending is a slight improvement from the 1994 ending. Didn't care for King's coda.

    If someone were to re-edit it so that the storytelling was linear, that would help tremendously. Even still, so much of the necessary character work wasn't done, and there are so many nonsensical changes made (no tunnel?) that what was filmed isn't salvageable.

    I haven't read the book in at least 10 years, and it might even be closer to 15. I'm sure I've forgotten details of the story. I was pissed watching the first episode because it was evident that the people in charge of the show had no love for the story.
  2. coffeetime

    coffeetime Senior Member

    Lancs, UK
    Having finally finished the audiobook of the uncut & expanded novel, first time through this expanded version having read the original book 2 or 3 times in the 80s, I’m freshly primed for all things The Stand related.

    I’m doing the Marvel comics adaptation (excellent) and the BluRay of the 1994 mini-series (love it for what it got right and happy to overlook its flaws).

    Having some iTunes Store credit, I picked up the recent CBS series on Apple TV and watched the first episode last night. Planning on watching the entire series before going back through the entire thread, so apologies if I go over any points that have been raised already.

    On the basis of what I’d read here, I was expecting car crash television, and adaption so woefully misguided one might wonder what it was in the original novel that the producers, writers and directors understood. On the basis of the first episode, it was better than I expected. Much better. I’ll try not to compare it to the 1994 mini-series except where necessary. I want to see how it stands on its own, pun intended, as well as an adaption of the novel.

    Ok, episode 1.

    • Great depiction of Captain Trips itself, abundantly clear why it is also known as Tube Throat.
    • The depiction of the grim work of the Boulder cleanup crew.
    • Harold’s practiced The Smile he flashes at everyone he meets in Boulder, dropped when no one is looking.
    • Fran hearing Harold’s furious typing across the otherwise dead town of Ogunquit.

    • The casting in main was great. Yes, Harold is supposed to be fatter and arguably even more self absorbed than he is depicted here. Going off of the first episode, the cast are blameless for the issues the show does have,
    • The tone of the show is well done; the onset of Captain Trips is suitably graphic, the dream sequences a little uneasy.
    • Moving Stu between the Atlanta & Stovington sites was good, and didn’t mind the changes made to the doctors etc that attend Stu.
    • That someone, and we know who, intervenes to hold the door open to allow Campion’s escape from Project Blue. The impressions I picked up from the book is that Flagg has been waiting around, biding his time, for a situation he can take advantage of. This scene suggests he intervenes directly to precipitate a situation he can take advantage of. I’m fine with that.
    • In the novel, Stu is regarded as no more than a lab rat to the Atlanta & Stovington CDC staff. He has to fight his way out of Stovington, life or death, them or me stuff, his equivalent of Larry’s tunnel to face and overcome if he is to live. here, the General takes time to say everything he says to his subordinate in the novel to Stu instead. Why? No idea. Then charitably lets him go. No recurring scenes of the General realising the impotence of his actions. Not sure keeping the General in without his scenes with his subordinate make sense, nor does his explanation to and freeing of Stu. Does both characters a disservice. And the General is supposed to be at Project Blue, not Stovington.
    • Starting the story half way through, and relying on flashbacks, and then flashbacks within flashbacks. The only people I know who enjoyed and understood David Lynch’s Dune were those who’d ready the books and understood the unfilmed chapters and scenes between those filmed and seen on screen. The episode as shown with must have been nigh on incomprehensible who wasn’t already familiar with the novel’s linear structure. It occasionally felt like Stu, Fran & Harold’s earlier scenes had been filmed, cut up, tossed into a tombola drum, spun and then sequenced in the order they were withdrawn. So we see the Campion family arrive in Annette before they leave Project Blue etc. Other than the episode gathering scenes/chapters with related characters, the structure is infuriating.
    • What in the world have they done to Fran?! Specifically the attempted suicide. To me at least, her whole character is one of someone who is frightened at the circumstances she is thrust into, but strong, and self resilient. She’s pregnant, she wants to keep the baby to whom she feels protective off from the start, she doesn’t need or want to marry the father. She is her own person. She doesn’t require saving by anyone, least of all by Harold and his need to feel recognised as her saviour. So why on earth does she try and end her life?! Plot wise, it’s so Harold can actually save her. Motivation wise she is no longer the Frannie from the book, she’s now a damsel in distress who would be dead by her own hand had Harold not raced to the rescue and saved her. Ugh.
    All in all, I’m looking forward on the next episode, even with the reservations above. It is the least of the adaptions, after the marvel comic, then the 1994 series, then this. But so far at least, no irredeemably awful and several aspects that I really quite enjoy.
    Curveboy, P(orF) and Pete Puma like this.
  3. Mr Matchbox

    Mr Matchbox Forum Resident

    NE England, UK
    This is the bane of so many new TV series and films now. For me it's effective very rarely but it's almost become the norm. Is this timeline scrambling something everyone's taught to do in film school now? If I see a film start that's apparently 10 minutes from the end of the story and then it fades to 3 months/weeks/days earlier I tend to switch off. I know who is going to survive come the end and what physical or emotional state they'll be in so most of the dramatic tension is gone.

    I know what happens in "The Stand" because I've read the book (long version) and seen the previous mini series but it is written as very much a long shaggy dog story where the plot slowly evolves and characters take time to learn the nature of things. Starting mid-way through the story is just fundamentally wrong.
    aroney and P(orF) like this.
  4. aroney

    aroney Who really gives a...?

    Yup, exactly. While "in medias res" is nothing new, it seems to be the norm now, rather than the exception, and, in most cases these days, seldom works.

    Harold is evil from the jump, so there is nothing at all meaningful about his character arc, or any of the other characters for that matter. Sure, when he's busted up at the bottom of a hill he has a "moment of clarity", but by then, who really cares - good riddance.

    The mini-series is a POS and a HUGE wasted opportunity. I struggle to come up with anything I liked about it.
    Scotian likes this.
  5. aroney

    aroney Who really gives a...?

    The things you hated/disliked were enough for me to find the whole series idiotic and without any redeeming qualities. The showrunners botched the execution so badly, that it never really had a chance to be worthwhile.

    It doesn't get any better either. One of the worse parts about it is that it's just plain dull...
  6. You're going to hate Lloyd.
  7. coffeetime

    coffeetime Senior Member

    Lancs, UK
    Episode 2 done. It sometimes feels as though the parts of the series that work the best are those that hew closest to the novel itself, mainly due to the novel’s structure, style and plot mechanics working int he first place. That said, the bits that bother me least about the second episode are the gender swaps etc for some of the characters, namely Larry & Ralph/Rae (?) Brentner etc.

    • Not an awful lot to love about the episode.
    • Folding Larry’s backstory from the novel (drugs & partying in Los Angeles, “You ain’t no nice guy!) into New York was well done, as was his relationship with his disapproving mother.
    • Heather Graham made for a pretty good Ruth. Larry’s scenes in the park with the Yankee stadium guy and meeting Ruth herself worked well.
    • Wasn’t sure about TV Larry having to get his mother out of hospital when book Larry was trying in vain to ger her in worked for me, but did afford for a scene showing hospitals being over run.
    • Lloyd was a different take on the character than I imaged, but it mostly worked. His scenes in the prison worked fine, and a great shot with Lloyd silhouetted against the ticker tape of falling, burning toilet roll paper was quite striking.
    • Lloyd’s introduction, mostly around his relationship with Poke. In the book, Lloyd is amoral and happily follows Poke’s lead with their crime spree. In the book, after being caught, his appointed lawyer suggests a narrative to Lloyd that he was a terrified, unwilling accomplice, acting out of fear of Poke - a narrative that Lloyd is slow to grasp the purpose of, instead talking up his own role. In the TV show, Lloyd is pretty much the guy that book lawyer suggests Lloyd could have been for defence purposes.
    • Nadine. Not Amber Heard’s fault, but the fault of the silly time structure imposed on the show. She has no introduction, has no obvious character, is not shown to have refused Larry’s advances on the road to Hemmingford Home/Boulder, appears to be nothing other than the possible carer for Joe. We know next to nothing about her from the TV shows. So why should we be in anyway interested or concerned that she appears to have one of Flagg’s stones? Likewise, why sh9uld we care about her taking down the writing toy. Without any knowledge of Nadine’s character, relationship with Larry etc, she is nothing but a blank slate in the TV show so far.
    • Again, the non-chronological ordering of the TV shows has Larry making a point of visiting and thanking Harold on arriving in Boulder for his help and guidance. As a book reader, I know why this is (graffiti writing in Ogunquit giving Harold;s intended route from Ogunquit to Stovington, then again at Stovington etc). In the TV show…eh?
    • Dropping the Lincoln Tunnel in favour of a maze of sewers. Larry’s hellish, arduous trek though the tunnel filed with corpses, military checkpoint etc It was disappointing to see this key, memorable scene dropped in favour of something that just didn’t work for me. Larry gets to ‘see’ one corpse, and finds his was under the river through a maze of sewers that never appears to go deep enough. Even worse was Rita - she and Larry are facing certain violence at best when they go into the sewers. Rita leaves and then manages to arrive at the exact point where Larry emerges from randomly fleeing down. Hell of a co-incident, to say nothing of the threat to Rita having seemingly vanished into this air. In the book 1 tunnel; one entrance, one exit. Rita refusing to go in, then following Larry in later out of fear (of attack and of abandonment) works SO much better,

    I blame the success of Lost. Lost was specifically structured to introduce characters as strangers to one another on the island and to the audience. The flashbacks then fleshed out the characters and often commented on or informed whatever was going on in the island in that episode. Worked fine. Trying to do the same with something constructed as a linear story doesn’t work and isn’t working for The Stand.

    I hear you. The flashbacks to Captain Trips onslaught are well done visually (that’s why it is also called tubethroat) but there is rarely sense of society falling apart and the would be survivors horror at the events unfolding around them. Close relatives and friends die and the would be survivors simply move on, with little sense of grief. Nor is there much sense of each characters road trips and journeys (and the book is nothing except cross cutting between multiple, parallel road trips).

    Maybe this will change in coming episodes, but from what you say, I’m not hopeful. WIthout book knowledge to recognise and contextualise each scene, it must be nigh on incomprehensible.
  8. Scotian

    Scotian Amnesia Hazed

    Anything Vegas related was over the top. Lloyd, Trashy & Vegas itself. Very cartoonish.

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