We’d been following Spike’s production of The Mist, a TV series based on the novel by Stephen King since the project was first announced. As a huge fan of both King and the 2007 film adaptation from Frank Darabont, I was extremely excited for an extended saga, one that would delve deep into the who, what, and why of it all—exploring mysteries posed but left unanswered in other iterations,
Showrunner Christian Torpe stated that one of his primary goals was differentiating his series from both the film and the novel. While, objectively, Torpe succeed in spades at making something unique, the changes he instituted pretty much universally diluted, contradicted, and dumbed-down establish mythologies. Innovation is appreciated when it’s intelligent and dramatic; Torpe’s innovation mucked up something wonderful, resulting in a colossal mess that in no way deserves a 2nd season.
Related Article: See the True Ending of “The Mist” as Stephen King Wrote It
Below, in no particular order, are my top 10 biggest disappointments with The Mist TV series. If you’ve also seen the series, which concluded on Thursday, have a read and see if you agree.
Official Synopsis: After an eerie mist rolls into a small town, the residents must battle the mysterious mist and its threats, fighting to maintain their morality and sanity.
Warning: Below There Be Spoilers
No Creatures in The Mist
The Mist novel and film both center on monster horror, as the mist teems with otherworldly beings both small and gigantic. The Mist TV series has no creatures at all. In the season finale, the mist takes the form of a tentacle and, in an early episode, formed something that resembled a Tardigrade, but there are no physical creatures in The Mist.
No Insects in The Mist
The novella and movie teem with insects; while some resemble terrestrial spiders and flies, they’re all alien and dangerous. There are insects in The Mist TV series, but they’re your everyday, run of the mill moths, spiders, and slugs we already know. And there aren’t even very many of them; in the film and novella, the landscape was covered in spider webs, but not much crawls in the TV series.
Intelligence in The Mist
One of the thematic elements of The Mist novella and film is man’s insignificance; the mist and the creatures within them are not evil, rather they are acting as they normally would in their natural surroundings. It all speaks to natures amorality. In the TV series, however, the mist itself seems to be an intelligent entity; while this innovation is not bad, in theory, the motivations of the mist are completely opaque, adding nothing to Torpe’s vision.
Ghosts in the Mist
The mist seems to know what people fear, what they feel guilty about, and how to manipulate them. But are the ghosts who encourage characters in the TV series to end their lives actually spirits of the deceased, or are these further illusions created by an intelligent mist? I shouldn’t even be asking these questions because The Mist is supposed to be about monsters and mob mentality, not ghosts.
Cheap Shots in The Mist
The Mist TV series made its deepest emotional impacts with what I consider cheap shots; the series opens with a dog being mutilated, and 2 children are killed in the first 3 episodes. Killing animals and kids can be deeply effective, but when used purely for shock, it lessens the story and the production. The use of a rape accusation as a source of conflict also felt contrived and manufactured, without the intelligence or artistic merit to warrant it.
The Devil in The Mist
First of all, if you want us to be surprised when a seemingly nice guy turns out to be villainous, maybe don’t put “666” on his shirt. The character Adrian (Russell Posner) was poorly conceived and completely unbelievable. The sexually fluid misfit seemed designed to resonate with the outsider in us all, but his opportunistic and predatory advances are only the most obviously detestable aspects of this character. Ultimately, Adrian can hardly be regarded as anything besides a 2-dimensional psychopath whose motives can only be understood by the depraved young man himself.
Immunity from The Mist
One of the main mysteries and sources of conflict in The Mist TV series was why Alex (Gus Birney) was immune to the fog. Not only was her connection to the mist never explained, this key plot-point contradicted itself in the show’s finale when she’s captured and almost killed by forces contained within.
In the film and novella, the titular mist is a cover for unknown perils but is not dangerous in and of itself. In the TV series, however, the mist has a toxic effect. While this innovation, like others, isn’t necessarily bad, only some people seem to have negative reactions to the mist; most people seem able to walk through it without any adverse effects, so what gives?
Terrible Twists in The Mist
While we knew the Adrian twist was coming a mile away, others were less obvious. Still, none of the shocking reveals were particularly impactful in the mess that was The Mist. Finding out that Alex and Jay (Luke Cosgrove) are half-siblings fell flat when it would have been much more practical for this information to have been revealed in Episode 1 (you know, when Jay was accused of raping Alex). The final twist, that the government is “feeding” civilians to the mist was meaningless. Feeding what?
Weakness in the Mist
Morgan Spector, Alyssa Sutherland, Okezie Morro, and Frances Conroy are all gifted thespians, but under Torpe’s direction, they all act like they’re on sedatives. Brief moments of extreme exposition are buried under deadpan performances. Shock and trauma can explain some of this, but ultimately, it seems these brilliant actors weren’t given the support or inspiration they needed to be truly convincing. The writing was, for the most part, contrived and lazy, with little attention paid to continuity or realism.
What did you think of The Mist on Spike? Did you enjoy it or were you as disappointed as I was? Sound off in the Comments section.