After the pilot episode aired, fans of the book complained that the series does not stay true to the story in the book.
Within 3 days, Stephen King posted a public response to this criticism on his website. Here are a few of his key points:
- [I]f you look closely, you’ll see that most of my characters are still there, although some have been combined and others have changed jobs.
- Many of the changes wrought by Brian K. Vaughan and his team of writers have been of necessity, and I approved of them wholeheartedly.
- It’s best to think of that novel and what you’re seeing week-to-week on CBS as a case of fraternal twins. Both started in the same creative womb, but you will be able to tell them apart. Or, if you’re of a sci-fi bent, think of them as alternate versions of the same reality.
You can read the whole letter here.
I will admit that I have been guilty of being disappointed when a film or TV adaption of one of my favorite books varied from the book greatly. But it happens all of the time. It’s even happened to a number of Stephen King’s own books (The Shining being the most obvious example).
The reasons these changes happen vary, but they are sometimes necessitated by the original work itself.
In the case of The Dome, many of the changes in the story were necessary simply because they needed to keep the dome in place for several months in order to create a series of any length, whereas in the book the dome lasted only a single week.
But just because changes like this should be expected, that doesn’t mean that the fans are okay with them.
What You can Learn From Stephen King and “The Dome”:
- You can’t please everyone. No matter what decision you make, or what kind of product or program you create, or even how you run your business, there will always be people who don’t agree. Accept this fact and don’t take it personally.
- Address problems directly. When problems arise, even those you can’t actually fix, address them directly and as soon as possible. Complainers often just want to be heard and acknowledging their concerns will go a long way to diminishing their impact.
- Don’t get attached. When we are birthing a book or a business or a program out into the world, we can often get attached to it and the form it has taken. But this attachment can sometimes get in the way of that work taking the shape that it needs to take to serve its audience in the best way. Create, put it out into the world, and then let it develop in the way that it needs to so that it can have the greatest impact in the world.
I’m enjoying watching The Dome this summer; it has become one of my guilty pleasures. I suspect there may be other lessons for us in this small town microcosm and how they deal with being a world unto themselves.