Stephen King Praises CBS All Access's The Stand Adaptation

CBS All Access's adaptation of Stephen King's iconic novel The Stand may have fans divided, but [...]

CBS All Access's adaptation of Stephen King's iconic novel The Stand may have fans divided, but when it comes to King himself, the author has nothing but praise for the nine-episode miniseries. Last week, King took to social media to share his thoughts on the adaptation and posted that he loved the latest iteration of his story of a post-pandemic, post-apocalyptic world and the battle between good and evil, offering praise to the series' cast as well as the use of the iconic song "Don't Fear the Reaper" in the end credits for the most recent episode "Fear and Loathing in New Vegas"

"I'm loving this iteration of THE STAND," King wrote. "Special kudos to my DOME alumna, Natalie Martinez, and Owen Teague, who was good in IT and really kills it as Harold Lauder. James Marsden...Odessa Young...Alexander, brother of Bill...all so damn good."

"And this week's ending credits: 'Don't Fear the Reaper'," he continued, adding in subsequent posts, "And Whoopi as Mother A.!" and "Amber...Jovan...Henry...EVERYONE. The cast is so good."

He also noted that there was "something decided Trumpian" about Alexander Skarsgard's Randall Flagg, positing that it might be the hair.

The series is the latest adaptation of King's novel -- a previous, four-part version aired on ABC in 1994 -- and has drawn some criticism from both fans of the novel and critics alike for its non-linear storytelling and other changes from page to screen. One specific criticism has been the use of flashback to establish the super-flu pandemic nicknamed Captain Trips that wiped out more than 99 percent of the population and thus sets the stage for the larger story. It's a decision that series executive producer Benjamin Cavell explained to Collider comes from the idea that the book isn't about Captain Trips, but the battle between Flagg and the forces represented by Mother Abagail (Whoopi Goldberg).

"The book is about what comes after – this elemental struggle between the forces of Flagg and the forces of Mother Abagail, and the pandemic is a mechanism. If this is King's The Lord of the Rings in the United States, as he has said, then Captain Trips is the mechanism to empty out the world so that the heroes can walk to Mordor," Cavell said. "The idea of wallowing in it for the first 300 pages of the book just felt like something we didn't wanna do. And now, given the context in which we find ourselves releasing the show, I feel even better about that approach, but I felt good about it anyway. I stand by the idea that just rubbing people's faces in Captain Trips for episode after episode before we start the real stand part of The Stand just never appealed to me."

And as for King, while he didn't comment on the structure of the series in his remarks, he does have a significant role in this adaptation -- and it is more than a brief cameo. King wrote the ninth episode of the series, offering an ending that Cavell previously said will be "completely new to the entire audience."

"He wrote a coda that is our ninth episode. It will be completely new to the entire audience," Cavell said. "I can, and will say, the big reason he wanted to do the coda was, he was thinking about for [the past] 30 years that Frannie doesn't go on 'the stand' in the book. She's seven or eight months pregnant, and can't walk across the mountains to face the Dark Man. It always ate at him that she was one of the heroes of the book, and she was never given her 'stand.' The coda is his planned attempt for the last 30-years to give her her 'stand.'"

The first five episodes of The Stand are now streaming on CBS All Access. New episodes arrive every Thursday.