Movie Reviews

Why Under The Dome Season 4 Isn't Happening


  • Under the Dome ended after season 3, possibly due to declining ratings and increasingly negative reviews.
  • The show pioneered a new type of summer TV programming and paved the way for other original summer series.
  • Despite leaving the possibility open for another season, the show ended with a satisfying conclusion according to showrunner Neal Baer.

Under the Dome season 4 is not in the works, but the reason for the show ending is unclear. Premiering in January 2013 on CBS, Under the Dome is the only adaptation of Stephen King’s 2009 book. The story depicts the small town of Chester’s Mill that, one day, suddenly has a giant, impenetrable, invisible dome fall around it, separating the inhabitants from the outside world. While the United States government attempts to break its way in, the citizens of the town begin to compete for dwindling resources as tensions rise and panic takes hold.

The series was developed by Brian K. Vaughan with help from creative heavyweights such as Steven Spielberg. Science fiction, horror, and small-town politics, all the ingredients for a Steven King classic, are infused in Under the Dome. Featuring a cast of talented actors including Mike Vogel, Dean Norris, Natalie Martinez, Rachelle Lefevre, and more, Under the Dome was set up for a successful run. With everything working in the show’s favor, it came as a surprise when it ended after season 3, as similar shows usually receive more seasons.


Under The Dome Cast & Character Guide

Under The Dome is a CBS series based on Stephen King’s novel and here’s a guide to the show’s characters and the actors portraying them.

Under The Dome’s Ratings & Reviews Were Declining

But It Was A Pioneering Show For Summer TV

Unfortunately, it was not all good things for Under the Dome. Every season of the series had a worse Rotten Tomatoes score than the one before, dropping from 83% to 61% to 60%. Much of the criticism was levied at the strange story-telling decisions that started to infect the later seasons and the inconsistent characterizations of major characters. It wasn’t just reviews that hurt the series either, as ratings also dropped dramatically from 11.19 million viewers in season 1 (via TV) to 7.17 in season 2 (via TV) to 4.70 in season 3 (via TV).

Under The Dome Season

Average Viewer Numbers

RT Critic Score

RT Audience Score

Metacritic Score


11.19 million





7.17 million





4.7 million




While none of these factors were ever explicitly announced as the reason behind Under the Dome ending after season 3, it’s a pretty sure sign that critical and audience appetite for the series was dramatically on the decline. What the series did do, however, was pioneer a new type of summer TV that led to a brand of original programming releasing from June through August. Nina Tassler, Chairman for CBS Entertainment, said to CBS News before the series finale:

“Two years ago, ‘Under The Dome’ broke new ground in the summer and became an instant hit on CBS, as well as with viewers around the world. Dome’s event storytelling and multi-platform business model paved the way for more original summer programming with the successful rollouts of ‘Extant’ and ‘Zoo’. We’re excited to present the final chapter in Chester’s Mill as the story comes full circle, with the Dome coming down as dramatically as it went up.”

The serial sci-fi story was not entirely common as a summer event before Under the Dome. Its success, ephemeral as it was, left a large mark on network television programming afterward.

Under the Dome
is available to stream on Paramount+

Executive Producer Neal Baer Is Satisfied With Under The Dome’s Ending

There Were Some Story Plans Left Open-Ended

Mike Vogel as Dale "Barbie" Barbara holding up a note to the dome in Under the Dome

The issues with Under the Dome‘s ending don’t stem from it not wrapping up the storyline, because that certainly does happen. The dome does get taken down at the end of the show and the alien creatures are defeated. However, it’s left open-ended whether they’ve entirely been eradicated from Earth, leaving the door open for another season. Whatever audiences think, showrunner Neal Baer is satisfied with the series, telling TV Line:

I’m very happy with this ending. I feel very satisfied. We made it so there could be another [season]… but it wasn’t necessary.

Baer had no desire to shop Under the Dome to another network and the series ended as is. Stephen King notoriously has a problem with endings, so in a way, for Under the Dome to have such a conversation surrounding its ending actually makes a perfect King adaptation.


15 Essential Stephen King Stories Better Than The Movies

Films like The Shining and It are classic Stephen King horror staples, but the author has plenty of works that have yet to be properly adapted.

Stephen King TV Adaptations Are Still Being Made

There Are Several King Adaptations Currently In Development

Some might have seen the cancelation of Under the Dome as a sign that King’s work would be less popular to adapt for the screen, but that is anything but true. The prolific horror writer has seen numerous novels adapted into movies and TV both before and after Under The Dome aired on television.

Right after Under the Dome ended, 11.22.63 was adapted for Hulu, for example, and the series Mr. Mercedes adapted the novels Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, and End of Watch. Paramount+ (formerly CBS All Access) adapted a new version of The Stand as a miniseries in 2020. 2021 saw Chapelwaite adapted from Salem’s Lot. The adaptations haven’t stopped either.

There are currently at least five King projects still in various stages of development for television or streaming. One that seems unlikely to make it to the screen is Revelations, inspired by the short story “The Revelations of Becka Paulson,” since it was in development for the CW before the network got rid of most of its scripted programming. There, are, however, some that are still highly anticipated.

Netflix is still said to be adapting the 1984 novel The Talisman, which King co-wrote with Peter Straub. The streamer acquired the rights several years ago. There are also shows that are not direct adaptations of his work on the way, like Welcome to Derry, a prequel series to It, and Overlook, a spinoff of The Shining. The former is being developed by Max and the latter is being developed by Netflix. Welcome to Derry is the one that has garnered the most fan interest with hopes that it will expand the lore of the story.

With such a huge catalog of novels and short stories already published, it’s unlikely the small screen will ever be done adapting the works of Stephen King for new audiences, and it’s entirely possible that Under the Dome could get a new adaptation in the future.

Under the Dome poster

Under the Dome

Under the Dome is a science fiction mystery drama series that aired on CBS for three seasons from 2013-2015. Based on Stephen King’s 2009 novel of the same name, Under the Dome tells the story of how a giant, transparent, and indestructible dome suddenly traps the fictional small town of Chester’s Mill inside of it. The mystery of where the dome came from, and if it will ever go away, is at the heart of the show’s storylines.

Release Date
June 24, 2013

Dean Norris , Alexander Koch , Rachelle Lefevre , Colin Ford , Mike Vogel , Mackenzie Lintz


Neal Baer

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