One of the most anticipated shows that will hit CBS All-Access next year is the new adaptation of Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic novel The Stand. And what’s not to anticipate? The story is strong, the cast looks impressive (with Alexander Skarsgard, Whoopi Goldberg, James Marsden, Amber Heard, Odessa Young, Jovan Adepo, Owen Teague, Henry Zaga and Brad William Henke already announced) and with it being CBS we’re sure the production value will be great as well. This isn’t he first time King’s novel has been adapted for CBS however. Back in 1994 over the course of four nights a mini-series was aired that got a lot of great reviews. Until now however the series hasn’t been available on Blu-Ray, but we are sure glad they decided to go back to it and remaster it for today’s TV’s.
In case you aren’t aware, The Stand follows two groups of survivors of a deadly plague that wipes out most of the planet. On one side a benevolent elder leads a group to rebuild society, and on the other a maleficent being corrupts his followers into taking control of the what’s left of the world. Eventually these two groups will face one another with the fate of the planet hanging in the balance.
The novel itself is an epic, well over 1000 pages long, and translating it for the screen was obviously a challenge, with a lot of plot ending up on the cutting room floor. But in the end the mini-series was a lot of fun, and had a pretty decent cast. Among the stars were Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Ray Walston, Rob Lowe, Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, Laura San Giacomo and Matt Frewer. While the special effects may not have been the most sophisticated, the acting and the story carried it along. Unfortunately watching it on modern digital televisions on DVD or even video tape, showed its flaws a little too well. Thankfully for this new BluRay release they’ve remastered it, and it looks great once again. The soundtrack and picture quality, while lacking from time to time, looks and sounds great on your home system for the most part. There is a making-of documentary on the disc as well, but it looks dated and won’t hold a lot of interest for most people.
With the new version of The Stand coming out next year, now is the perfect time to pick up the original version and give it another shot. It’s still a fun way to spend a few hours, and will give you something to compare the new one with when it finally is released.