I re-watched the television mini-series adaptation of Stephen King's The Stand last week, and I was struck by a few things.
1. It looked really cheap, even for television. It was 1994, after all.
2. There was some truly horrendous acting going down.*
3. I still enjoyed the hell out of it.
I know. Numbers 1 and 2 don't usually add up to number 3 in cases like this, but for me they did. Maybe it's because The Stand is one of my all-time favorite books. I said it. And it's not even my favorite Stephen King book. What's my Top 5 Stephen King novel list look like? Glad you asked.
4. The Dead Zone
3. The Shining
2. The Stand
1. 'Salem's Lot
The more astute Stephen King fan might notice that those were the first 5 novels that he published. Or, to be more factual, the first 5 novels he published AS Stephen King. He snuck in Rage and The Long Walk as Richard Bachman in between some of those, but really...those are his first 5. Not in the order I listed above. Carrie was first, followed by 'Salem's Lot, The Shining, The Stand and The Dead Zone.
It's not like I haven't liked anything that he published after those first 5. I have. It was real close to making the list, and it's probably a dead heat between it (hehe) and Carrie for 5th place. But I read It after having read Peter Straub's wonderful Floating Dragon, and they seemed a bit too similar to me at the time. I've re-read it a few times, but it just doesn't do it for me as much as those other 5.
I don't know why, but I stopped reading Stephen King around the time Dolores Claiborne came out in 1993. I had read Gerald's Game just before that and I really disliked it. But that's the way I am with some things in my life. Just drop it like it's hot. Done. I haven't read any of the Dark Tower books, even though they've been recommended to me by dozens of people. I tried reading the sequel to The Talisman (co-written with Peter Straub), Black House...but it didn't take. I did read Cell a few years back, but it left me longing for more.
It left me longing for The Stand. I'm gonna have to re-read it again soon. It's about time.
*The culprits? Corin Nemec, Laura San Giacomo, Molly Ringwald (ugh!), Matt Frewer and Shawnee Smith. But they were offset by the great acting jobs put in by Gary Sinise, Rob Lowe, Jamey Sheridan, Miguel Ferrer and Ray Walston. Even the guy who played Larry Underwood was pretty good, even if I've never really seen him in anything else.