Imagine the world as a dollhouse, and that you take a hammer and smash most of the dolls. The result would have very little to do with the Stand.

The Stand is based upon the Stephen King book, which by a strange coincidence is also called the “Stand.” It’s a miniseries, which means I get to use it here, and it’s about as solidly sci-fi as Stephen King gets. A plague (called the Superflu) escapes from a government lab and wipes out most of the population of the world. A small group of survivors must journey to the West and defeat Randall Flagg, who is kind of like the devil but not exactly. Another great ensemble cast (Gary Sinise and Molly Ringwald are the most notable), and one of the better adaptions of a King novel.

Favorite character: Stu (played by Gary Sinise). Gary Sinise plays, well, Gary Sinise (see, for example, CSI: NY or Of Mice and Men). However, Stu is pretty much Gary Sinise all the way around, and if you want to have somebody play Gary Sinise, it is difficult to find somebody better than Gary Sinise.

Favorite secondary character: Randall Flagg (as played by Jamey Sheridan). Prior to this miniseries, I’d only ever seen him in Law and Order; he does a fantastic job as Randall Flagg, who is a really nice and reasonable guy that just so happens to be pure evil.

Why this is here: Geraldo the Guinea Pig, the true hero of the story. Okay, not entirely Geraldo. It’s a very well done story, which avoids your standard post-apocalyptic tropes to a certain degree, and there’s the usual splash of King mysticism that is unusually light-handed.

Why it’s not higher: They kill Geraldo. Apart from that, it’s too short. The Stand is a long book, even for Stephen King, and I think it would work better as a proper TV series than as a miniseries. If you just see the miniseries, a lot of the nuance and context that makes the book one of King’s best is just not there.


2 thoughts on “My favorite sci-fi TV series of all time, #11: The Stand

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