Well, two episodes of The Stand tell me that this is not a production for the ages. It's not delivering on the feelings evoked from the written word, and that's a problem.
That doesn't mean that we should count it out, though. After all, it's 2020, and entertainment value counts for a lot.
The Stand Season 1 Episode 2 takes on new characters, and the pattern of moving through the timeline is again on the menu.
If The Stand Season 1 Episode 1 was sometimes hard to follow between the past, present, and the dreamscapes, it was even more difficult this time around.
Larry Underwood is a cool dude, but he appears to focus on a particular type of woman, at least as far as they look.
We met Nadine Cross before Rita Blakemoor, and Amber Heard and Heather Graham look enough alike (especially in low light) that when Rita first appeared, I thought it was Nadine.
All is right in the end, as I imagine Larry took up with Nadine specifically for her similarity to his lost Rita.
All of that would be well and good if Larry and Rita had time to develop any significant bond in the narrative other than being the only two rational people left in NYC, but that didn't happen.
Sure, they bantered, had sex and a few kisses, but other than that, they were just two people alone after armageddon.
That wasn't lost on Rita, who couldn't find the point of living when everyone else was dead. So much for that romance, right? Many people would give anything to find their person. So, Larry wasn't Rita's, or the prospect of living in their new world with him wouldn't have been so awful.
Larry had a lot to make up for in his life. He drank too much and did drugs, which his mother didn't like one bit. He wanted so much to make her proud. He's getting another chance to do things right by choosing to follow Harold's path across the US.
That's strange. It seems pretty easy to see that Harold will not remain in the Boulder Free Zone. He's off, and it's just the kind of off that appeals to Randall Flagg.
Nadine, too, is off. She's got a secret, and that secret seems to be that she has not been having visions of Mother Abigail. While others have had dreams of both Mother Abigail and Randall Flagg, she's either not dreaming at all, or she's seeing only Flagg.
And she definitely doesn't want to be a mom to little Joe, as she calls him. Even Larry could see that.
To say the least, Larry was a bit disillusioned with what he found in the Boulder Free Zone. He's not pleased with Nadine, nor was he overly excited to meet the man he followed. And Joe's behavior had to spark something inside of Larry. Joe knows Harold isn't a good person.
Kudos to petty criminal Lloyd Henreid for being incredibly entertaining. He's the kind of guy who needs to ride on someone else's coattails because he has no real motivation of his own. Riding on Polk's coattails got him into trouble, for sure.
It didn't take him long to blame his compadre for his trouble, either. But he was playing the big man to look cool, and he went down as a cop killer when he never shot his gun. Still, he's funny. That can't go unnoticed.
Except I'm not sure if I'm laughing because of him or at him, and I'm leaning toward the latter, which is about the scope of the entire production.
Does anyone else think they went a bit too far with the gross-out factor of Captain Trips? Or has our latest real-world experience given us so much to chew on with the idea of it that it no longer lands?
Larry walking through the hospital, tossing out his mother's name, and weaving through patients in hallways filled with cots was so ridiculous.
It took no time at all for the world to go on lockdown with a far less severe disease, and there's no way that people would be out and about in and out of hospitals and not sporting masks. Now we know that, and it makes the fictional take harder to bear.
Now that Flagg is in the picture, it should be more fun to watch because while the heroics seem cartoonish, there is more wiggle room for the bag guy to be so. His chats with Lloyd were some of the best of the series so far.
Something tells me that once Mother Abigail gets more airtime, he'll look even more delightful because of how silly Mother Abigail will seem. And that thought seems to seal my determination that real life has ruined The Stand.
I don't know that I can ever think of it in the same way I once did.
That's either because of 2020 or because of this production, whether the way they're glossing over how relationships got solidified (the journey to Boulder), for example, I don't know. But people watching this are not going to have a love for the material that I got by reading the novel (twice).
Still, I'm going to keep plugging away!
It's giving me Under the Dome vibes, and that was one of the most fun shows to review. Once you throw reality out the window, it's easy street.
So, beginning with The Stand Season 1 Episode 3, it will be all fun and games with the reviews. Are you in??
PS: MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.