Television Reviews

The Stand: For Me, It’s Personal

The Stand by Stephen King is my favorite book of all time. It’s a book I’ve read over and over again at various times in my life, in many different versions. At one time I even had a first edition (pictured above) that I sold.

If you haven’t read the book stop everything, and read it. Now.

The first attempt in 1994 to produce a mini-series was just okay. There were things I liked about the production and things I didn’t. Gary Sinise was perfect as Stu Redman. Molly Ringwald was annoying and whiny as Fran Goldsmith. Jamey Sheridan was a great Randall Flagg and I loved Bill Fagerbakke as Tom Cullen. I’ve watched it several times over the years and I just wish it could be better.

One of the few bright spots to 2020 was the anticipation of the new limited series on CBS All Access based on Stephen King’s The Stand. I looked at the cast and I liked that most of the names were unfamiliar to me. I still think to do the book justice, it needed to be longer than it’s currently set for, but I’m very interested in it.

I will be doing write-ups of each episode, comparing it to both the other mini-series and the book. I actually watched the first one already, so this is a bit of a prequel to those write-ups. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read the book (which is another reason to read it), but the story has been out since 1978 now, so you should have read it.

2 replies »

  1. I have both versions of the novel; the 1978 paperback is in a moving box somewhere. The 1991 “uncut and unabridged” version is with my hardcovers in my IKEA Billy shelf here in my bedroom.

    I, too, have seen the original made-for-TV miniseries and share some of the same issues you mention. Molly Ringwald was sadly miscast as Frannie. Not as miscast as Shelly Duvall in The Shining, but miscast just the same.

    My biggest issue with the 1990s version of The Stand miniseries is that, among other things, they combined two female characters that Larry Underwood crosses paths with and created a TV version of Nadine Cross that doesn’t quite match the NC from the novel. I know – as a screenwriter – why they did that. But as a “Constant Reader” of King’s novels, I was so disappointed with that editorial choice.

    The other issue I have with the ABC version is that….it was made for network TV, so it is too sanitized for my taste.

    I hope that CBS puts this out on Blu-ray next year. I already have to deal with Amazon Prime and Amazon Music, so I can’t really afford to put another subscription on my credit card.

    • I got CBS All Access mainly for Picard. This was a bonus.

      I’m curious to see how they do with all of the characters. I’m going to do a write up of the first one tomorrow, but so far I like the characters that I’ve seen and the way the story was handled so much more.