cbsallaccess The Stand

Innula Zenovka

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Anyone else watching this? I gather it has attracted criticism for failing even to audition a deaf actor for the role of Nick Andros, one of the leading characters, who is deaf and mute in the novel.

That aside, while watching the first episode I was struck by the way they're trying to dramatise the story of Stephen King's extremely long novel, which has previously been dramatised, of course, as a rather disappointing miniseries back in 1994, and the problems inherent in dramatising something like that, and particularly what assumptions you make about the audience's prior knowledge of the plot.

I mean, I've read the book, so I know who everyone is, so for me the plot is just reminding me of who these characters are, and what's happened, and that's all I need because I can remember all the backstory, but should the showrunners assume everyone is at least familiar with the basic story, or do they need to assume a naive audience, too?
 

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should the showrunners assume everyone is at least familiar with the basic story, or do they need to assume a naive audience, too?
Yes.

They're likely damned if they do, and damned if they don't. Taking a novel that's 1,100 plus pages and snipping it down to even a mini-series length for a live-action production is fraught with a lot of difficulties.

Dropping us into the action without much in the way of character introduction, if done well, has some benefits to it. And it's a lazy trope anyway to provide a nearly literal foreward at the start of some film or show, giving you blatant explanations of who the main characters are before getting to the actual story they're involved in. It's the sort of thing Airplane! parodied so well.

At the same time, when you have a cast of a few dozen main figures, and a host of minor ones, dropping us into the action without much in the way of character introduction can definitely leave people who don't know the story without context and confused.

I myself would hate to go through a 2 hour character intro. But I have become lost on just who is who in a badly-structured story line. Something something fine line to walk.
 

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BTW, I'm not watching it.

There's a 1.5 page incident somewhere in the middle of The Stand that forced me to close the book and stop reading Stephen King entirely. Watching the first miniseries or this one would just remind me of it, and I'd prefer to forget it.
 
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