Under The Dome

EXCLUSIVE: Under The Dome showrunner Neal Baer promises Stephen King will 'leave a mark' on Season 2

Contributed by
Jun 30, 2014, 5:08 PM EDT (Updated)

When Under The Dome premieres its new season on CBS, the sci-fi show will delve into brand new Stephen King territory. That's because the season two premiere has been written by the horror icon, himself, who is an executive producer on the series. Showrunner Neal Baer told Blastr exclusively that King's sense of humor and depth of character will be very apparent, not only in the premiere, but throughout the entire season.

“Stephen's been a huge fan of this show from the start,” said Baer. “Obviously, it's inspired by his book, but he also likes that the show has gone in its own direction. So, this was a way of really having him leave a mark on this season as well, since we've gone past the book in many ways. The book lasts for about a week, and we're already in week two.”

Last season, the people of Chester's Mill suddenly found themselves trapped under a giant, transparent dome. Season one left off with Julia dropping the egg into the lake and purple lights shooting up to the top of the Dome. Big Jim (Dean Norris), who'd been doing very bad things all season, was about to hang Barbie (Mike Vogel) in front of the town, when a bright white light suddenly appeared.

When season two premieres tonight at 10 PM ET, “about half a second” will have passed since the season one cliffhanger, said Baer.

“The first episode is really fun, because it epitomizes Stephen's sense of humor. The Dome becomes magnetized and things that are ordinary and everyday, like appliances, take on terrifying power. It's very scary when knives are flying across the kitchen or a barbecue is flying through the air at you or the stove pulls free from the wall and is going through the house towards the Dome and crushing everything in its path. It's very Stephen King,” he said.

“It's all setting up the second season. We worked in concert with him to devise what the season would be, so that we'd all be on the same page, together. It was a really wonderful collaboration,” said Baer.

“This is the season of transformation. Last year was the season of secrets being revealed. Everyone was under this hot house. Barbie's secret of having murdered Julia's husband, and Big Jim's secret with the propane and running drugs. All of these things came to light. This is the season of survival. How are they going to manage shortages and lack of resources? Who has the goods to make it? Who doesn't?” he said.

“We experienced the sad demise of two of our leading characters, and that certainly creates conflict and intrigue and mystery and puts some of our characters at odds with one another and allows us to introduce new characters who can create more conflict and story. We're bringing on four new characters this season,” said Baer.

Eddie Cahill, who plays Sam Verdreaux, is Big Jim's brother-in-law. “He's Junior's uncle and Junior's mother's brother. He's been a recluse for ten years, ever since his sister committed suicide. We learned last year that Pauline committed suicide because she was so haunted by images of the Dome coming. He's been a recluse, an alcoholic, and the Dome coming down and some events in the first episode cause him to come back to the town. Junior and Big Jim are quite surprised. And he strikes up a relationship with Julia,” he said.

“And then we introduce Karla Crome, who plays Rebecca Pine, a high school science teacher. We really wanted a character who could explain, or try to explain, some of the science behind what was going on, especially now that the Dome is challenging our inhabitants because there are limited resources and ecologically things are starting to spin out of control. There's pollution and fires burning and things like that. She is a level-headed teacher who can try to bring some science and reason to what's going on. And then we have a new actress named Grace Victoria Cox, who plays Melanie, whom we see drowning in the lake right after Julia has dropped the egg. She is a pivotal character to connect us to the origins of the Dome. Also she's part of this love triangle between Norrie and Joe. Finally, we bring on a very mysterious character played by Sherry Springfield, who I worked with on ER years ago. She's introduced in the first episode but I don't want to say any more than that because that's a big surprise,” said Baer.

“We had set up a lot of things almost subconsciously in the first season that we will explain in the second season. In other words, why is Barbie in Chester's Mill? Well, he was collecting a debt, but is that the only reason? You'll see. Things kind of all make sense, I hope, by the end of this season in many ways that are, I think, deep,” he said.

“In some ways the second season can be just as challenging as the first...I've been so fortunate to work on ER and SVU, two shows that have lasted a long time, and I never dreamed that I'd have that kind of ER experience again where a show just breaks through right away. That's a real high, but also raises the bar. We know that second season has to be even stronger, better, more dynamic than the first. So we really are striving to make it as good as we can. That's a challenge, but it's been really fun. We have wonderful writers and directors and actors. It's really a pleasure,” said Baer.

Here's a behind-the-scenes look at tonight's premiere of Under The Dome and Stephen King's involvement:

Are you going to watch?