Why Under The Dome producer warns that 'the bad guys are us'

CBS's Under The Dome

CBS heads off into Stephen King territory tonight with the new series, Under the Dome, but don't expect your standard horror show, said creator and executive producer Brian K. Vaughan in an exclusive interview with Blastr.

“The thing that I love best about the show is, unlike a lot of genre shows, our enemy in the show is not zombies or space aliens or a smoke monster like on Lost. This is, at its heart, a character-driven drama, and the bad guys are us, the things that we do to one another. I think it's always going to be very focused on our characters and the people of Chester's Mill. How do they deal with the fact that we have limited resources under this dome?” said Vaughan.

Under The Dome is based on the King novel of the same name, and explores what happens when the town of Chester's Mill is suddenly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by a massive transparent dome. The series stars Mike Vogel, Rachelle Lefevre, Dean Norris, Natalie Martinez, Britt Robertson, Alexander Koch, Colin Ford, Nicholas Strong, Jolene Purdy, Jeff Fahey and Aisha Hinds.

“The book takes place over just a few days. You're under there for a relatively short amount of time. Our goal with the series is hopefully to be on the air for years and show how this town is going to change over that period of time,” said Vaughan. “I also think because we have a little more space -- if you've read the book -- Dale 'Barbie' Barbara, who is our hero, starts out in the novel as very much a white hat, and Big Jim Rennie, who's sort of a councilman in town, is really evil in the book to begin with. We wanted to back off both. We start off our story with Barbie in a much darker place and Big Jim as a bit more of a hero. It'll take some time for them to become the people they were at the start of the book.”

Since the action takes place over time, “we'll see a lot of reversals. People that the town might have taken for granted before, the farmers who are considered the least of these people, are now going to be first. They suddenly have a great deal of importance. Really, this dome is a microcosm for planet Earth. It's our story. We are all trapped here together under this fragile atmosphere, and everything we do has an impact on each other, and there's only so much to go around. Just like in our world, this will lead to conflict, to war, to violence. Are we going to live up to our best nature and overcome that and learn to survive together?” he said.

Behind the scenes both Stephen King and Steven Spielberg serve as active executive producers. “I wish I could name-drop somebody cool, but we're stuck with those two Stevens,” joked Vaughan. “But yeah, they have very different worldviews. Steven Spielberg has traditionally seen the very best in people, while Stephen King has seen the worst. But I think that they have a lot of similarities as artists. They're both real humanists, and they love characters, and they love taking ordinary people and throwing them into extraordinary circumstances. I have always loved that collision of the mundane and the fantastic, and nobody does it better than those two guys.”

Here's Stephen King talking about the new series:

Under the Dome premieres tonight on CBS at 10 p.m.