Stephen King Sci-Fi Thriller Gets Series Order And Fans Are Excited

By Charlene Badasie | Updated

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Stephen King’s 2019 novel The Institute is getting the series treatment. MGM+ has ordered eight episodes of the newly minted show which will feature Ben Barnes and Mary-Louise Parker in the lead roles. Jack Bender, who previously worked on Lost, will direct and executive produce the project alongside writer Benjamin Cavell.

King Speaks

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Production on the television adaptation of Stephen King’s The Institute will begin later this year in Nova Scotia. According to Deadline, the story will follow kidnapped 12-year-old genius Luke Ellis. He wakes up at a facility called The Institute, which is filled with other kidnapped children. Tim Jamieson, a troubled ex-police officer looking for a fresh start in a nearby town, finds himself drawn into Luke’s case.

Stephen King released a statement expressing his excitement about the television adaptation of The Institute. “I’m delighted and excited at the prospect of The Institute, with its high-intensity suspense, being filmed as a series,” the acclaimed author said. The combination of Jack Bender and Ben Cavell guarantees that the results will be terrific.”

The Novel

The Stephen King novel The Institute masterfully blends horror with thriller elements to create a chilling tale. Like the series, the story revolves around 12-year-old Luke Ellis, who is abducted and taken to a facility where children with extraordinary abilities, such as telekinesis and telepathy, are subjected to brutal experiments at the hands of those who want to steal their powers.

The Stephen King novel juxtaposes Luke’s harrowing experiences in the Institute with the life of Tim Jamieson, an ex-cop in a small South Carolina town whose destiny eventually intertwines with Luke’s. The book explores themes of good vs. evil, the power of friendship, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of terror and abuse.


Over the years, critics and readers have praised Stephen King’s The Institute for its plot and well-crafted characters. The book is often compared to King’s earlier works, like Firestarter, which tells the story of a young girl with special abilities. The novel was adapted into movies, first in 1994 and again in 2022.

Stephen King’s The Institute follows Chapelwaite, another MGM+ adaptation of King’s work.  Speaking about the new series, Michael Wright, head of MGM+, expressed his excitement about the project, calling it an “exciting addition to the MGM+ original series slate.” The series promises to deliver the intense experience that fans of King have come to expect.

Other King Adaptations

Stephen King’s literary works, like The Institute, have long been adapted for the screen, with varying degrees of success. The Stand, a post-apocalyptic horror saga, has seen two adaptations, including the 1994 miniseries, which earned a cult following despite mixed reviews, and the 2020 series, which also received mixed reactions.

Under The Dome

The Stephen King novel Under the Dome, which explores a town inexplicably sealed off by an invisible dome, started strong on CBS in 2013 but lost steam over its three-season run due to significant deviations from the source material. Meanwhile, 11/22/63, a time-travel tale about preventing JFK’s assassination, was lauded for its faithful adaptation and brilliant performances in its 2016 Hulu series.

Source: Deadline