There’s been more than a few Stephen King TV and big screen adaptations over the years and, I think you will agree, they have had varying degrees of success. From the sublime Stand By Me to the, well not so much, The Dark Tower.
The original novel, also titled The Stand, was first published way-back in 1978 but you can absolutely see why it has been released now.
The plot sees a weaponised strain of influenza wipe-out the vast majority of the population leaving only those who are immune. These people form groups based on one of two dreams they are having, either about Mother Abigail, Whoopi Goldberg (“Ghost”, “The Color Purple”), or Randall Flagg, Alexander Skarsgard (“True Blood”, “The Aftermath”), which you can also think of as good and evil.
We meet Stu Redman, James Marsden (“Sonic The Hedgehog”, “Westworld (TV)”), a former army-man who comes into contact with the guard who inadvertently lets the virus out of the base, Charles Campion, Curtiss Cook Jr. (“The Day Shall Come”, Orange Is The New Black (TV)”).
He’s taken to a base to be studied, to see if they can make a vaccine from him, but the base ultimately succumbs to the virus leaving just Redman and General Starkey, J. K. Simmons (“La La Land”, “Spider-Man: Far From Home”), until there’s just Redman. He escapes and makes his way to Boulder, Colorado where Mother Abigail is.
We also meet Harold Lauder, Owen Teague (“IT”, “Cell”), a wannabe writer who, with his reluctant, older babysitter Fran, Odessa Young (“Assassination Nation”, “The Daughter”), are also immune and they begin an epic trek across America, leaving signposts along the way, and wind-up in Boulder too.
A lot happens in the first episode but the most notable thing that creators Josh Boone (“The Fault In Our Stars”) and Benjamin Cavell (“Justified (TV)”) have done is make the whole series in a non-linear format.
This is a problem as the program jumps about the place with only the occasional sign or marker that we are somewhere else, or in a different time-zone. It’s as if the two-men have made the massive assumption that you’re aware of the story already, and know exactly what’s happening.
Obviously, unless you are familiar with the story already, you aren’t and so it takes some getting used to and figuring out.