Starring: Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Jamey Sheridan, Laura San Giacomo, Corin Nemec, Matt Frewer, Rob Lowe, Ray Walston, Bill Fagerbakke
Directed by: Mick Garris
Written by: Stephen King (book, teleplay)
Length: 6 hours
Release Date: May 8-12, 1994
The Stand miniseries does a decent job condensing a huge book into a four-night miniseries. It helps that the teleplay was written by Stephen King. It does make some questionable casting choices while also suffering from mid-1990s fashion.
The casting of Gary Sinise as Stu Redman was perfect. He could come across as both an everyman that was one of the first dealing with the plague while also being believable as a defacto leader to the start of a new society. While Stu was being quarantined when everyone was trying to figure out what was going on with the superflu, I was really excited when I saw one of his doctors was the dad from Alf!
I’m not sure if it was the directing or Molly Ringwald’s choice, but her character of Frannie was ten times more annoying and whiny in the miniseries than she was in the book. Frannie was very capable woman in the book and tried to be sweet to Harold Lauder because she did not want to hurt his feelings even though he had major nerd rage when he realized that he couldn’t claim Frannie as his girlfriend since she did not have feelings for him. Harold Lauder was perfectly written in the book as the creepiest character I have ever read since he was so true to life to some guys I have met. The casting for him was horrible though. Why did they cast Parker Lewis? I mean, he did look like a dork when he was wearing his leather motorcycle jacket, but Corin Nemec missed some of the subtleties of the character. I never felt the huge amount of rage just below the surface from him like I did when I was reading the book. He mostly seemed whiny.
As more characters popped up in the miniseries, Randall Flagg finally made an appearance. He seems like a cool, charming character in the book that is also dangerous. I was expecting some sexy, bad boy, but instead they decided to give him a mullet and dress him in a Canadian tuxedo. There is nothing sexy or dangerous about any of that. Look at the pins on his jacket!
I did love Matt Frewer as Trashcan Man. He pretty much matched up with what I had been reading in the book. He had the right amount of looney to make him both scary and funny.
Finally, I really liked Rob Lowe as Nick Andros, the deaf/mute guy. I did feel like he was a bit more important in the book and people looked to him for advice more there than in the miniseries, but there were so many characters that I can see how his story got cut down a bit. He did the best with it that he could. I also really liked Tom Cullen who was pure comic relief when he wasn’t being sweet or heartbreaking. M-O-O-N, that spells, “Laws yes!”
A- for story
B- for casting
D for ’90s fashion