Stephen King’s Favorite Miniseries Finally Is On Streaming

According to Stephen King, this underrated television miniseries is his favorite and it just arrived on streaming.

By Nathan Kamal | Published

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Stephen King is one of the most successful writers in history, and arguably the major force in the horror genre of the 20th century. One of the keys to his success has been his canny willingness to allow film and television adaptations of his work, which has led to Stephen King being as known for movies and shows as he is for books and short stories. According to the man himself, his very favorite miniseries of all his works has now available to stream on Hulu. That series is 1999’s Storm of the Century, which first aired as three episodes on ABC. Stephen King is never afraid to speak up about his favorite anything, but it is remarkable that this relatively little-known miniseries holds such a place of esteem for him. 

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Storm of the Century is somewhat unusual in the on-screen canon of Stephen King in that it is not an adaptation of a previous work, but written specifically for this mini-series. Most Stephen King movies and shows, like The Shining in various forms or IT, in several chapters, are based on an already best-selling text, but this time around, the author wanted his words to go directly on the screen. In many ways, viewers will already be prepped for the basic premise of Storm of the Century simply by being familiar with the now trademark tropes of the writer. Small New England town? Check. Various townsfolk who appear to live in a normal, peaceful community, but are revealed to have dark inner lives? Check. A sinister, enigmatic supernatural force that drags them into chaos without explanation? You bet that’s a check. 

The miniseries is set in the Maine town of Little Tall Neck, an island community that had previously appeared in Stephen King’s 1992 novel Dolores Claiborne (which itself has been adapted into a critically acclaimed film and later, an opera). The titular storm of the century strikes the town in the form of a blizzard so severe that it cuts Little Tall Neck off from the world, essentially creating a bottled world ripe for the chaos of a mysterious stranger. In this case, the mysterious stranger is one André Linoge (Colm Feore), a malevolent outsider carrying a silver-headed cane who immediately gets down to business by killing one of the townsfolk. 

Linoge is arrested by one of Stephen King’s trademark simple but honest protagonists, supermarket manager and part-time officer of the law Mike Anderson (Tim Daly). But even after being imprisoned in a cell, it is clear that Linoge is the one in control. He seems to know all of the townsfolks’ dark secrets and can perform supernatural feats, eventually causing all of the inhabitants of Little Tall Neck to dream the same dream of their own mass suicide. Linoge claims Little Tall Neck is  “full of adulterers, pedophiles, thieves, gluttons, murderers, bullies, scoundrels, and covetous morons,” but it takes quite a while for his true motivations to become clear. In classic Pied Piper fashion, Linoge is here for the children. 

But since this is a Stephen King story, the true darkness is not in the mysterious, possibly demonic stranger, but in the hearts of the normal people. Linoge puts it to the inhabitants of the town that they must willingly give him one of their children (Little Tall Neck is small enough that it has only eight kids of young enough age) to raise as his own and someday take on his role as a wandering agent of either chaos, evil, God’s judgment, or something else entirely. Essentially, the townsfolk must decide whether they can live with themselves if they (literally) give a child to a demon and (figuratively) give up their innocence. As you can probably guess, things do not go well. 

Storm of the Century echoes many past and future Stephen King works. The small New England town is in the same tradition as Castle Rock or ‘Salem’s Lot, seemingly innocent villages with rot under the surface. The terrified collection of working-class people beset by a seemingly unstoppable, inexplicable force brings to mind the trapped shoppers of The Mist. Linoge himself has clear echoes of Stephen King’s iconic Randall Flagg, while Tim Daly could be any of his morally conflicted yet essentially decent heroes. However, this is not to say that Storm of the Century is derivative. Instead, it acts as something of a distillation of some of the author’s deep, recurring fascinations in unusually pure form. Most likely, that is why he likes it so much.