Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 10:01 a.m.
Everyone's a nerd for something: string theory, fantasy football, high-end cheese. Turns out, Bob Beard's a nerd for everything. From strange geographies to weird science - spaghetti westerns to snack cakes -- he'll show you the world through his corrective, fanboy lenses.
I say this with the greatest amount of respect, admiration, and drooling fanboy love -- Stephen King is a bit of a hack.
Maybe his creative muse has been staying up too late watching his Netflix Instant queue -- how else can you explain his recent glut of spooky fare that bears more than just a passing resemblance to classic television shows?
We'll start with Duma Key (his novel about spooky paintings and their ability to manifest all manner of weird happenings), which was better when it was called Night Gallery, hosted by a sadly aging Rod Serling. And if we're being honest, all that was missing from Under The Dome was Spider-Pig, and we could have called it The Simpson's Movie.
King's latest offering, released today, is 11/22/63. It's a story about a modern-day man that accidentally finds a time portal in a diner and travels back to the past to prevent the JFK assassination.
Magic, time-travelling diner? Let's think about NBC's short-lived Nightmare Café starring Robert Englund and the guy who plays the Angela's boyfriend on The Office. Accidental time traveler attempting to stop Lee Harvey Oswald? A two-part Quantum Leap episode.
C'mon Steve. We're on to you. And we have three more classic TV shows that you might want to rip off for your next bestseller.
Here's the thing about MacGyver. It wasn't so much about MacGyver the man as it was all about what that cool ass Swiss Army knife could do. In Stephen King's hands that multi-tool could be a real menace.
It's not like King has no experience turning inanimate objects into villains either. Christine (the killer car), Cell (the cell phones that heralded a zombie apocalypse), From a Buick 8 (the interdimensional roadmaster). Those were all fairly disturbing, but none of them had built-in corkscrews or fishing hooks.
There are a lot of important life lessons that adorable Blossom Russo can teach us, especially about family, love, alcohol abuse and obnoxious hats. But when Six invites Blossom into her after-school coven we can also learn a series of incantations to designed to summon the Eldritch Gods.
Soon after the very fabric of reality begins to unravel. King's a master at designing the world of the weird tale (see N. and The Dark Tower.) In his vision of an angsty girl dramedy, family pets commit mass-suicide, clocks run backward and a chorus of chilling, disembodied voices demand a blood sacrifice from Joey. Whoa indeed.
The spin-off of Soap! starring Robert Guillame is ripe for poaching. The Governor's mansion -- doubling for the standard spooky house on the hill-- could get snowed-in. We'd find out that the daft, but lovable Governor Gatling is a robot double programmed by Gretchen Kraus, the cantankerous German cook that is revealed to be a well -preserved Nazi war criminal like in Apt Pupil.
Of course this sounds preposterous, but it all makes sense knowing that Clayton Endicott the Third is part of the Crimson King's army that seeks to plunge our universe into eternal darkness. As a bonus, Benson DuBois himself is just the kind of wise Black man that King loves to populate his stories with (see The Shining, The Talisman, Black House, IT, The Green Mile, The Shawshank Redemption, etc.)
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