The new #Hulu anthology series, Castle Rock, from Stephen King and JJ Abrams has the potential to be amazing. We already saw how well the duo worked together on Hulu's 11.22.63, and King’s fictional town of Castle Rock holds infinite potential for new stories.
The cryptic teaser video that Abrams’s Bad Robot Productions released on Friday doesn’t give any indication of what the show will be. It’s just a series of titles, character names and some dialogue familiar to fans of King’s novels and stories. It does, however, show us the map of King’s Maine with all his fiction linked by blood-red roads.
We’ve All Been To Castle Rock
Most of the stories featuring or mentioning Castle Rock will be familiar to even those who don’t count themselves fans of King’s work. He’s been using the town since 1973’s short It Grows on You.
The Dead Zone, Cujo and Needful Things are probably the best known Castle Rock novels. The Sun Dog and The Body (Stand by Me) are also set there. While all of them take place in the same town, these Castle Rock tales run the gamut of genres from Young Adult fiction to #horror to #fantasy.
Everyone is saying the new show will be a long-form anthology series in the mold of American Horror Story. If this proves true, the endless range of possible story types that Castle Rock offers is perfect for what they’re trying to do.
The Roads Through Castle Rock
Perhaps the greatest storytelling feature Castle Rock presents is the fact that it seems to be an interdimensional nexus of some sort.
As fans of King’s The Dark Tower series know, all the author’s stories take place in one big, connected multiverse. All the various worlds in King's stories are connected by “highways in hiding” between different universes. We've seen them in action in Wolves of the Calla and Insomnia. In Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut from 1983, King establishes that these interdimensional roads run right through Castle Rock.
If this holds true for the television show, there is truly no end to the possible stories writers can tell there. Access to multiple dimensions opens the series up to science fiction and every other horror-adjacent genre.
Please, Mr. Abrams: Don’t Adapt, Innovate
When film adaptations of #StephenKing horror stories are good, they can scare even the most stoic realist (Carrie, The Shining). When they’re bad, they’re laughable (Maximum Overdrive, Dreamcatcher).
Simply adapting existing King stories for this new series would be a colossal mistake. Fans of the original stories won't be pleased because the film is never as good as the book. Average viewers will go in already expecting whatever horrible surprise that might be in store because saying “Based on the Story by Stephen King” is the same as saying “Evil (innocent object) Kills a Bunch of People."
Like the cursed curiosity shop in Needful Things, the town of #CastleRock offers something for everyone and possesses everything you could want for storytelling without limits. Now it’s up to King, Abrams, and their team to push the new Castle Rock TV show to live up to that potential.
What short King story would you most like to see turned into a short for Castle Rock?