It’s been a busy 2021 so far and I sadly got behind on Stephen King’s THE STAND. This is a shame because the story really heated up there for a while, with a really strong second act from Episodes 3-6. So let’s talk about this limited series as a whole.
THE STAND is one of King’s most beloved novels, which I’m sure makes film and TV executives eager to adapt it. But after completing the second limited series adaptation in my lifetime, I’m just not sure it’s meant to come out of the pages and onto the screen. This series took some time to get going, but once it hit its stride though, I did come to care about each and every one of them, even those I knew to be evil. But just as the series reached its final act, in Episodes 7 and 8, it fell apart. And what a LONG hard fall it was.
James Marsden (Stu), Jovan Adepo (Larry), Greg Kinnear (Glen), and Odessa Young (Frannie) were stand-out cast members, each bringing depth and nuance to their roles, even when the plot sometimes went sideways. Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abigail and Alexander Skarsgård as Randall Flagg worked well in their respective roles as the diametrically opposed forces of good and evil respectively. Goldberg though was underused, and Skarsgård couldn’t save a handful of terribly written scenes centered around Flagg. Ezra Miller’s Trash Can Man was almost offensively bad, but it may speak more to the source material and not their depiction.
Another matter that really bothered me was that THE STAND features two main characters, Nick who is deaf, and Tom who is developmentally disabled that were both played by able-bodied actors. In this day and age, the producers owe the public better representation. A large community of deaf actors was rightfully upset by this and called for a boycott.
The series isn’t a complete wash though. As I said early in this review, the middle episodes shine. If you’re a die-hard King fan, then I think you’ll get enjoyment from THE STAND. But if you’re not, just read the novel.
THE STAND limited series is streaming on CBS All Access aka Paramount+.