The end of the world has been on a lot of people’s minds recently. Yes, we are practically powerless against the microscopic unknown, but a fate just as cataclysmic can be brought by man-made microscopic microbes. The fact that everything we ever created, believed in, could be snuffed out due to a push of a button terrifies us to this day. Serving also as a backdrop to the proverbial struggle of good and evil. In early 2021, a post-apocalyptic parable of the ages got a modern retelling In The Stand.
After an unstoppable virus leaks from an army base, it decimates the population. Some people have an immunity to it, but they are far and few between. Civilization has no chance as the last vestiges of the population start dwindling, and chaos and anarchy reign. But in the wastes of humanity lies an eternal struggle between good and evil. As the charming and supernatural Randall Flagg has claimed dominion over the ruins of Las Vegas, building a breeding ground of sin. The other surviving citizens of the plague, drawn by a vision of Mother Abigail, take up sheltering in scenic suburban Boulder, Colorado. The community must heed wise-old Mother Abigail advice and take precautions against this insurmountable evil. What way will in the pristine ruins of the world?
The modern miniseries has been lengthened somewhat from four hour-long episodes to a nice uneven nine, allowing for the show to breathe somewhat. The first half being abundant with cameos and brief appearances from the likes of J.K. Simmons and Heather Graham that are more than just enjoyable. The regular cast is competently chosen, with the likes of Greg Kinnear, Odessa Young, and almost destined to be cast as the hero James Marsden take on the believable role as Stu Redman. Amber Head steps in for Laura San Giacomo as Nadine Cross, we see a bit more of her childhood, and the spell Flagg has cast. Fans may see replacing iconic characters daunting, but fears may be allayed. The insidious Harold is still here with Owen Teague making him feel even more paranoid and loathsome. Known for playing wise beyond galactic proportions characters before, Whoopi Goldberg transitions such wisdom into the role of Sister Abigail. While M.O.O.N. spells success for Brad William Henke as Tom Cullen.
Airing during the middle of an actual viral pandemic feels like a master-stroke of ironic planning, but this revamp has been in the works for a while now. As such the whole epic has a modern feeling to it, as newer ideas and motivations are introduced to the classic text. But the story and its beats are mostly still there, you will recognise a lot of the original iconic scenes and set pieces. There is an epilogue of sorts that expands the themes beyond the story, one that might be enticing for returning viewers.
Retaining the charm of the 90s original, while updating and enhancing elements, The Stand’s compelling original tale remains preserved for newer generations to enjoy, Yet the new features and plot points help make this retelling not feel as unnecessary as would first be feared when news of a reboot firsts reaches you. Modern themes and fears help this nine-part epic find new ground, and the extended run time helps the drama breath and develop, and a new epilogue will help spice things up for the King veterans, yearning for something new. As real-world infections worry us and evil stares us in the face, it is comforting to know that even to this day the forces of good are here willing to take a stand.
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