By Hal Boedeker
8:28 AM EDT, June 23, 2013
Since the TV season ended, CBS has been taking it slow. That changes this week with premiere of "Under the Dome" and the return of "Big Brother."
The well-hyped "Under the Dome" is a promising addition to the lineup. Dread intensifies oh so compellingly in this adaptation of the best-selling Stephen King novel. The CBS drama depicts a small town, Chester’s Mill, cut off from the world by a giant, transparent dome. The force field's mystery propels this 13-episode series, which debuts at 10 p.m. Monday.
Director Niels Arden Oplev oversaw the premiere, which stuns as the dome slices through creatures and buildings, creates accidents and causes confusion.
The crisis tests the townspeople in harrowing or surprising ways. A councilman (Dean Norris of "Breaking Bad") is keeping secrets. A sheriff (Jeff Fahey) has a bad heart. A determined editor (Rachelle Lefevre) pushes for answers. A mystery man (Mike Vogel) finds himself drafted as hero.
Worried parents, parted lovers and injured citizens are here, too, along with the unstable and wicked. Produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television, "Under the Dome" makes a persuasive case for getting trapped with these characters.
CBS hopes you'll want to get trapped with another set of characters in "Big Brother," which starts its new season at 8 p.m. Wednesday. The producers will change up the reality-show format by having three house guests instead of two nominated each week for eviction.
This time around fans get to vote each week for the Big Brother MVP, the house guest who is playing the best game. In the premiere, "Big Brother" will reveal that the MVP has special power in the game.
The look of the house has changed, too. CBS describes it as "mid-century modern chic." You can judge for yourself. The show will air three times a week: 8 p.m. Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Sundays (starting June 30) and 9 p.m. Tuesdays (starting July 2).
Also this week:
TNT brings back "Rizzoli & Isles" for its fourth season at 9 p.m. Tuesday. "Perception" follows at 10, and Scott Wolf joins the cast.
Lifetime rips from the headlines again for its movie material. This time around, "Anna Nicole" depicts the life of the late Anna Nicole Smith. Agnes Bruckner certainly looks the title role in the movie that debuts at 8 p.m. Saturday. The supporting cast is notable: Oscar-winner Martin Landau plays Smith's oil tycoon husband, and Adam Goldberg plays Howard K. Stern.
Summer is the time that the broadcast networks burn off episodes of series that didn't work. On Saturday, ABC offers "Zero Hour" at 8 p.m. and "666 Park Avenue" at 9. The CW plays back-to-back episodes of the low-rated "Cult" at 8 p.m. Friday. The show never could develop a cult of its own.
Copyright © 2014, Orlando Sentinel