Stephen King has written many books and has become royalty amongst authors. Many of his stories have gone on to become time stopping tales on the big screen, like IT, and even a Netflix series called The Mist. Having already been adapted into a movie, The Mist came with the promise of something great.
However, it does not deliver.
Netflix’s The Mist follows the inhabitants of a small town as a mysterious, thick fog rolls in. The town addresses it with curiosity until it starts producing their greatest fears. This soon leads to the death of many town folk.
A town facing an isolated epidemic or event has been known to work in previous series and other entertainment. Having a small town allows for limited characters and, in some cases, an odd civilisation that can be almost unaffected by the outside world. We see this in Stranger Things, Wynonna Earp, or even the comic book title: Revival. The Mist utilises this small town setting and fills the predictable roles of Police Man, Quarter Back, Hero, and Edgy Woman. But none of these characters have been developed in a relatable way.
The most interesting character in the mix is Mia Lambert. Her character fits into the role of Edgy Woman due to her addiction and anger issues, and her battle with detoxing definitely made for something different. However, it reached the point where it seemed her character was screaming in agony every second episode when focussing on her withdrawal from drugs.
Kevin Copeland is the Hero of the series. The golden dad, the loving husband, he is the man that the audience should want to follow through these tremendous trials. But the character was subpar, with his transition from pacifist to aggressor being too predictable. His was the story that The Walking Dead have chipped at for several seasons, one that had Rick Grimes pushing the lines his morality to the point where the audience is on the emotional journey with him. You want your audience to look back and think ‘how did this Hero end up here?’ while agreeing with every choice the hero makes along the way. Kevin’s journey holds none of this which leaves the audience rolling their eyes as he destroys one of his town’s safe havens.
The Quarter Back character for this series is Jay Heisel who in the pilot episode is accused of raping Kevin’s daughter, Alex. Now, it’s set up from the get go that Jay was framed. However, this doesn’t diminish how wrong one of the earlier scenes between him and Alex are.
When the mist rolls in, Jay finds himself safe in the local shopping centre with a crowd of people. This includes Alex. Having been falsely accused, Jay thinks it would be a grand idea to corner Alex and demand she hold his hand to prove he is harmless. What’s more, I could swear the creators were trying to portray this scene as romantic.
Whether or not Jay was guilty, Alex had gone through a traumatic experience. She was terrified and still healing, and someone thought it would be romantic for him to proclaim his innocence by cornering her? The intention of romanticism created what would potentially be the creepiest scene I have ever watched.
Connor Heisel is the town sheriff who finds himself drawn into another’s newfound religion. Supernatural events like a fear inducing mist would certainly raise questions of religion, but my goodness did The Mist slap its audience across the face with it. For the majority of the season, Connor waits out the mist in the town church. There are few other people, and they include the priest and Nathalie, the newfound religious extremist. The story between these two does lead to an interesting point of tension, but what follows is an intense amount of commitment from Connor to Nathalia.
The story that unfolds, and a lot of what came before the point of tension, has very little thought. And it does get tiring when the church becomes the villain with very trivial reasons.
And that’s the truest fault of the series: a lot of creative choices are made trivially. They have little substance, and give the reader nothing to consider. Each choice or action these characters make are easily agreeable or completely stupid. With a situation such as the mist, where questions of religion, drug addiction, and rape are raised, there should be so much more layers of thought.
The Mist does end with the possibility of a second season, but I have little hope for its future. On paper, a town battling its fears and forced into a Lord of the Flies situation should make for something intriguing. However, Netlix’s The Mist falls short on too many notions for a second season to be warranted.
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