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Hulu has a winner with its Stephen King-inspired ‘Castle Rock’



castle rock
Skarsgard in “Castle Rock”


  • Hulu’s new horror series, “Castle Rock,” could be the
    streaming service’s next big hit.
  • It’s the closest Hulu has gotten to its own “Stranger
    Things,” as it is heavily inspired by the work of Stephen King
    and relies on a sense of nostalgia akin to the Netflix
  • “Castle Rock” isn’t as flashy as “Stranger Things,” but
    with the works of King at its disposal, it doesn’t have to
  • The show has an impressive cast that includes Andre
    Holland, Scott Glenn, Sissy Spacek, and Terry O’Quinn.
  • The first four episodes are promising, and should
    entice both King fans and non-fans.


With the new seasons of “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Westworld”
wrapped, and a long wait until “Stranger Things” and “Game of
Thrones” return, audiences may be craving a new otherworldly TV
obsession. That’s where Hulu’s “Castle Rock” comes in, which may
be able to fill that gap if it capitalizes on the promising start
of its first four episodes. 

“Castle Rock,” a new Hulu original anthology series from
executive producer J.J. Abrams, based on the stories of horror
master Stephen King, is as close to Netflix’s “Stranger Things”
as Hulu has gotten.

“Castle Rock” isn’t as flashy as “Stranger Things.” It doesn’t
star a group of kids viewers can fall in love with, nor instantly
recognizable theme music. But both are elevated fan-fiction that
benefit from nostalgia pioneered by two of the most influential
creators of a generation: Steven Spielberg for “Stranger Things”
and Stephen King for “Castle Rock.”

“Castle Rock” doesn’t need to be as flashy — or even politically
relevant like Hulu’s first big hit, “The Handmaid’s Tale” — to be
a success. The show has an entire universe of horror at its
disposal that already has a large, loyal fanbase, and the show’s
story relies on classic King works such as “The Shawshank
Redemption,” “Carrie,” “The Shining,” and more.

castle rock
Andre Holland as Henry


Last year’s box-office smash “It” proved that people will still
flock to King’s stories in other media besides books, and
the subtle horror elements of “Castle Rock” should easily find an

The series centers on a death-row lawyer named Henry Deaver,
played by Andre Holland, who returns to his small hometown of
Castle Rock, Maine to aid a mysterious prisoner at Shawshank
State Penitentiary. The unnamed prisoner is played by Bill
Skarsgard, who is no stranger to King adaptations, as he plays
Pennywise in “It” and next year’s sequel, “It: Chapter Two.”

But Deaver has a mysterious past, as his adoptive father died
under suspicious circumstances when he was a child — and the town
believes Deaver had something to do with it.

Other notable characters include Molly Strand (Melanie Lynskey),
a real-estate agent and childhood neighbor of Deaver who hears
voices, and has a somewhat creepy mental connection to Deaver
that she can’t control; Alan Pangborn (Scott Glenn), the retired
former sheriff in Castle Rock who knows more about what’s going
on at Shawshank than he lets on; Ruth Deaver (Sissy Spacek),
Deaver’s adoptive mother whose memory is failing her; Jackie
(Jane Levy), a sarcastic and curious member of the local church
who may or may not be a descendant of “The Shining’s” Jack
Torrance; and Dale Lacy (Terry O’Quinn), the God-fearing
Shawshank warden.

“Castle Rock” packs quite an impressive cast. Glenn and O’Quinn’s
characters may be familiar to fans of “The Leftovers” and “Lost,”
respectively, as they each play characters reminiscent of the
ones they portrayed in those shows.

Both those shows introduced a lot of questions that went
unanswered, and that’s something “Castle Rock” has the potential
to do as well. Hopefully not. But being an anthology series,
there’s an urgency to wrap up this storyline by the end of the
season rather than leaving important plot threads dangling for
years to come.

My biggest fear with “Castle Rock” is that its mysterious plot
will overshadow its characters, who all are all suffering from
their own inner demons. But even if “Castle Rock” sets up a lot
of questions in its first few episodes, it’s not mind-numbingly
confusing as, say, “Westworld.” I can sum up the first four
episodes of “Castle Rock” for you easily, and I was also
genuinely surprised by some of the twists already taken.

“Castle Rock” has a ton of potential, and King fans as well as
non-fans should enjoy what the show offers. It lays a solid
groundwork in the four episodes, and I’m looking forward to
seeing what else it has in store for viewers.

Simply put: It could be Hulu’s next big hit.

The first three episodes of “Castle Rock” are available
to stream on Wednesday on Hulu.

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