The re-imagining of Stephen King’s novel The Mist has finally hit Netflix. I binge watched all 10 episodes. Was it worth it?
The Mist is one of my favourite novels by Stephen King. The mini series is my absolute favourite filmatisation of a Stephen King novel. There’s just something satisfying about watching all these otherworldly beasts appear through the mist and trying to figure out how it is all connected. And to see the characters trying to do the same, coming up with everything from religion to chaos theory.
If you like the latter part of that, you’ll love the Netflix adaptation of the novel, because that’s all you’ll get. There are no monsters and no explanations at all in this series. In fact, it introduces several mysteries that weren’t in the original series or the novel.
There are some points from both the originals in the Netflix version, which is the only reason I don’t think it’s just another original intellectual property that got Stephen King slapped on it Hellraiser style. But that wasn’t enough to make it enjoyable for me.
I am ok with focusing on character building rather than mindless action and spectacular deaths, in fact I prefer it. But this series took it one step too far and just replaced the action, monsters and answers with character building. At the end, when you think you’ll get more answers, the show just ends. Obviously they are sequel baiting, but the only questions we got answered were ones that has no bearing on the plot and were more predictable than the “twist” in The OA.
Where is the mist from? What does it do? Why do some seem safe from it? Why do some who were safe before get attacked later? Is it all in their minds, or are the apparitions physical? Not a single thing of these are explained.
So why did I watch it all? I’m not the kind of guy that would pain through over 5 hours of something I didn’t enjoy just to write a review. Well, that’s because the things they did good they did extremely good. Just like The OA, the show has a way of capturing the audience. Unlike The OA, that capturing lasts through the entire series. You get invested in the characters and the mystery.
One thing done differently in this series is that they show in a much more believable way how people could get convinced that Mrs. Raven’s religious take on the mist’s purpose is true. It’s a tiny bit hamfisted how she came to that conclusion, but taken with what she just went through it’s not unbelievable in any way. We also get a much more believable transition from a civilized community in the mall to the utter chaos that broke out. People didn’t just start screaming “burn the witch”, it happened gradually with a lot of factors building up to it.
We also see how heroes are made and how normal people can turn into villains. And how people we thought were villains can turn out to be the most noble people when crisis strikes.
The Mist is not a bad show by any measures, but it is very far from the Stephen King spectacle we all expected. I recommend watching it, but think of it as its own show and not a remake.