After months of hyped waiting, Castle Rock is now on Hulu, releasing new episodes every single week. Astute fans of Stephen King will see fun little references to the writer's books and short stories in each episode, but according to King himself that's not the important part of the series.
"CASTLE ROCK is really good, each episode better than the last," he wrote on Twitter. "But put all that Easter egg stuff aside and just enjoy it on its own terms. The cast is incandescent and they support a story worth telling ... I can say all that because I didn't write it. :-)"
That's true, and King is literally the only person in the world who can get away with saying something like that. While the show is set in the author's fictional Maine town, it's not based on any existing book, short story, or novella. Castle Rock is inspired by his works and shared universe without being overly reliant on them, meaning that there's no way it can incur the ire of fans wanting a 100 percent faithful adaptation.
The nods to The Shawshank Redemption and Cujo are nice, but aren't the sole purpose for the show's existence. And if you want to look for them, that's great, just don't let it eclipse your enjoyment of the general product itself. Indeed, the series acknowledged this in the first episode, when the new warden of Shawshank (played by Ann Cusack) is being shown her new office.
"Shawshank's actually lost four wardens in office. You can still see the bullet hole where Warden Norton..." says one of the security guards before he's cut off by Cusack.
"We can skip the audio tour," she says, a comment that underscores that this won't simply be the Stephen King Greatest Hits Tour of 2018.
The third episode of Season 1, "The Box," actually arrives on Hulu today.