|TIM SCHLATTMANN - EXECUTIVE PRODUCER UNDER THE DOME
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DF Interview: Executive Producer Tim Schlattmann of ‘Under the Dome’ says Season 3 will answer many viewer questions
By Byron Brewer
Season 3 of the summer science fiction TV drama “Under the Dome” is now airing on CBS and it seems like the show is offering hints on what was responsible why the town of Chester’s Mill was hermetically sealed from the rest of the world.
While it was not tackled directly during the June season premiere, the body invasion perpetrated by aliens plot has essentially paved the way for assumptions previously put forth by some of the characters that the Dome is indeed the work of those not from Earth.
Up until the series finale of Season 2, many in Chester’s Mill were still toying with the idea that outer space beings were responsible for the force field that has enveloped their town and cut it off from the rest of the world. While there may have been a few items which seemed to come from alien worlds, there was no moving alien stuff at all in the past two seasons.
Season 3 picked up that particular slack with its premiere episode focusing on body snatching of the people of Chester’s Mill, subsequently placed in cocoons, and then coming back differently.
The people who emerged from the cocoons all say they experienced extraordinary real-feeling visions. It turns out that their confinement in the cocoon is part of an alien plot to control the hapless townsfolk of Chester’s Mill.
And that in itself might be the show’s most genius development so far because it explains so much. The plot has somehow given a solid explanation for the almost weekly murders and mysterious happenings in the town.
To help us understand other aspects of this Stephen King-derived drama, “Dome” Executive Producer Tim Schlattmann agreed to sit down with Dynamic Forces on, er uh, THIS side of the Dome.
Dynamic Forces: Is it hard to believe “Under the Dome” is now into its third summer season on CBS, an SF show on mainstream television? What are the basics the new viewer/Season 1 returning viewer needs to know to keep up with the action?
Tim Schlattmann: While the first two seasons were more about the physical manifestations and challenges a Dome descending upon a small town presents, this season more than any other is really embracing the supernatural manifestations and challenges. This is a great season to jump into the show because we are exploring our characters with stories and arcs that really get at the core of who they were prior to the Dome and how they're changing because of what the Dome wants from them. It's a much more emotional journey for all our characters. No one will ever be the same inside or outside the Dome.
DF: For faithful viewers, can you hint at some of the discoveries we may make in Season 3 in a non-spoilery way? What are some character developments we may be seeing?
TS: First and foremost, we're answering three of the biggest questions -- Why is the Dome here? Who's behind it? And what do they want? We had a big two-hour premiere. We intentionally threw a lot at the audience, not to confuse, but to lay out all of the pieces of the puzzle. All the clues and answers to those questions are contained in the two-hour premiere as you'll see as the season continues to play itself out. This is also a much more serialized season. You're gonna need to pay attention as each episode ties in with the ones that came before it and setting up where we're going. When you get to the end of this season, you'll be able to look back and go -- whoa. It was all there from the very beginning.
As for our main characters, they're going to be forced to deal with their own emotional short-comings. Grief. Fear. Anger. Shame. But make no mistake, as they deal with these challenges, lines are going to be drawn. Friends becomes enemies. And former enemies are going to be forced to work together if they want to not only save themselves but mankind if the Dome is to ever come down.
DF: Are we completely away from the threads of King's original book(s) now?
TS: The basic set-up and characters were all derived from the book. But like with most books and movies, there's a self-contained beginning, middle and end. For a TV series, the story is an on-going one. The challenge is to tell your own story, while honoring the source material on which a series is based. However, this season, the biggest twist -- the one that answers all the major questions as to why the Dome is here, who's behind it, and what it wants has its roots tied directly to the book. Let's just say the Dome isn't of this Earth.
The other thing that I think really honors King's original book is our tone for Season 3. It's much darker. Much scarier. Much more psychological. And that's something Stephen King is a master of -- knowing that the best horror stories are the ones that get inside our heads. It's not always what you see, but what you don't see that is truly terrifying.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Tim Schlattmann for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Under the Dome airs Thursdays at 10 PM ET/9 PM CT on CBS.
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