In conjunction with its Television Critics Association press tour panel today, CBS announced its plans to make another season of their summer hit Under the Dome, a show with a seemingly finite premise that everyone thought was a mini-series.
Though it was always a little unclear, most people seemed to believe that the network's summer experiment would be a one-time run, offering a satisfying end to the saga of a small town trapped under a dome. (Hey, Stephen King's book, on which the show is based, had an ending!) But creator Bryan K. Vaughan was talking about extending the series beyond this summer's run by the time the show premiered. Even CBS CEO Les Moonves defended the decision at the TCA press tour, asking: "Why can't they be under the dome for a long period of time? This is television."
The decision has already elicited complaints and mockery. Under the Dome made sense as a contained story, but now the network seems to want to milk it for all it's worth. Vulture's Lindsey Weber wrote on Twitter: "I am legit disappointed in the DOME. Part of the dome's fun (for me!) was that I knew they'd get out? die? by the end of the season." Dan Kois chimed in: "'Man, we got rid of the dome last year, then this morning I wake up and? Dome.'" In a post for Examiner.com Danielle Turchiano elaborated on the Dome-related complaints. "[It is] a series that should need to know when it's end is coming in order to write to it," she explained. "Though Under The Dome has done well in its ratings, critics have agreed that creatively the show has struggled to match tone and pacing from episode to episode. The characters are barely worried about getting out of the dome, and really they should be because now they're going to be trapped under there a long time."
And yet, the Dome will be back with King himself even writing the second season opener. As Nellie Andreeva explained at Deadline Under the Dome has been a success for CBS. "After a big premiere, which soared to a 4.6 rating in 18-49 and 17.8 million total viewers in Live+7, Under The Dome kept steady," she wrote. "Its ratings have been on a growth path for the last two weeks, most recently drawing 2.7/8 and 11.4 million in the fast nationals last week."
Will other supposedly limited-run series meet the same fate as Under the Dome? Moonves implied that. For instance, Hostages—about a surgeon tasked with operating on the president— was one such show for which Moonves sees a future. "We didn't put it on just to have 15 episodes of it," Moonves said per The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman.
Clearly his definition of "limited" isn't the same as ours.