The Definitive 2-Series Collection
review by Bobby Blakey
Throughout his career author Stephen King has delivered some of the most iconic novels of all time. During this time they have brought a ton of them to the big screen in various forms from feature films to mini-series. In 1994 King’s The Stand hit TV as a mini-series featuring an all-star cast. In 2020 Paramount + debuted an all-new version of the mini-series this time starring Whoopi Goldberg, Alexander Skarsgard, James Marsden, Amber Heard, Greg Kinnear, J.K. Simmons and Heather Graham.
The Stand mini-series hit TV in 1994 and follows a government-run lab that accidentally lets loose a deadly virus and most of the population of the world is wiped out. Survivors begin having dreams about two figures: a mystical old woman, or a foreboding, scary man. As the story tracks various people, we begin to realize that the two figures exemplify basic forces of good and evil, and the stage is set for a final confrontation between the representatives of each.
While very dated in regards to the effects and overall tone it still works. I have to admit with everything going on it makes the first episode a bit too real across the board and in turn made it all the better for a first time viewing. I always love seeing actors in their younger performances and there are so many great ones here I didn’t even know were in it. It’s a bit all over the place at times and feels like some holes in the story, but overall enjoyed it and got me all the more excited for the updated version.
The latest version of The Stand follows the same story of a world decimated by plague and embroiled in an elemental struggle between good and evil. The fate of mankind rests on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abagail and a handful of survivors. Their worst nightmares are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the Dark Man.
Despite it being dated I really dig the original miniseries. I have never read the book so can only go by that for my reference. I must say I did enjoy this latest take, but it felt a lot more convoluted. It rides between the current story and the back stories of the characters which should be compelling, but for me just felt like they were dragging it out for more episodes and not much else. It looks great and the performances are good, but it just takes so long to get anywhere. When it finally does it doesn’t always feel like it was worth the trip to get there. At the same time, when it works it is compelling and worthy of what they are trying to build, but never finds its full footing for my taste.
I am interested to hear what the hardcore fans think of both of the stories and I am sure that they both will no doubt have their fans. I applaud the attempt to bring a new take on the source material to modern times despite it actually hitting a little too close to home with current world issues.
Decide for yourself and grab your copy of The Stand Definitive 2-Series Collection as well as The Stand on its own on Blu-ray now from CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment.