This review WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS, if you do not want certain plot points or story spoilt, please do not read further.
I enjoyed the 2007 film version of Stephen King novella 'The Mist', I still think that it's got one of the bleakest endings in film history; so when it was announced that Spike would be producing a series based upon the story I was a little unsure how they would make an effective show.
The premise is a good one, a mysterious and otherworldly mist that hides monsters and horrors that you couldn't imagine, but to spin the story across a dozen or more hours of television would require a great deal of expansion upon the original story.
As such, the first episode of 'The Mist' is dedicated to set-up, to letting us get to know the inhabitants of Bridgeville before they start getting killed off.
Unfortunately, most of this episode left me feeling bored and unenthusiastic, with many of the characters actually either outright boring me or ending up with me wanting them to get killed at some point. There's only a couple of characters in this first episode that I found myself liking and one of them was one of the first to die.
Bridgeville seems to be inhabited by complete arse-holes. The main family consists of Kevin, a boring father, Eve, a flat and uninteresting angry and overprotective mother stereotype, and their daughter Alex, who is forced to go through a date-rape plot to add extra conflict between her parents; as well as having half the town turn against them and their 'whore' daughter.
Outside of the main family there's Adrian ,the 'freak' outcast who's the victim of homophobic abuse at the drop of the hat with at least three other characters attacking him for it. There's the high school quarterback/son of the sheriff rapist Jay, who is instantly unlikable even before becoming a rapist.
Connor, the town sheriff comes across as a bully and a coward. Mia's a drug addict murderer who likes to be aggressive and picks fights with people. Bryan is the amnesiac soldier who's definitely connected to whatever's behind what's happening but can't be calm enough for five minutes not to have people think he's crazy. Then there's Benedict Raven, one of the few likable characters in the show who seems to know that something is wrong before the Mist rolls into town, but after seeing her husband murdered in front of her seems to being set up as going crazy later in the series.
Whilst the majority of the pilot episode is given over to the human drama of Bridgeville, much to the detriment of the episode, when the mist finally does reach town in the last ten minutes things start to get interesting.
People get attacked by swarms of insects, others seem to go a little insane and turn on each other, whilst one particularly unpleasant woman gets her jaw ripped out before being dragged into the mist by something unseen.
Whilst the series appears to be pushing the horrors of people as one of the main points of conflict over the monsters in the mist I'm hoping that this is a focus that will begin to shift as the show goes on. As it is after the first episode 'The Mist' has managed to hold my attention on the hopes that things might get more interesting, but runs the risk of losing me.
The pilot episode probably won't be one for everyone, and whilst some may enjoy it I'm sure that it will struggle to hold other's attention. Fingers crossed that the series will soon improve in quality.