Dean Norris in a scene from the new season of Under The Dome.
Dean Norris in a scene from the new season of Under The Dome. BROWNIE HARRIS

New direction for Big Jim in second season of Under the Dome

THE new season of Under the Dome ventures into unfamiliar territory.

The TV thriller inspired by Stephen King's 2009 novel has well and truly surpassed the events of the book.

The first season also featured significant changes to King's original characters. Big Jim's not quite so evil and recent blow-in Barbie's not quite so clean.

King is at the helm of the hit show's return and makes a "key" cameo in the first episode.

"Stephen's very much involved in plotting out what happens," star Dean Norris told The Guide.

"It's very cool to talk to him. He's excited to go further than he did in the book and he's enjoyed taking these characters in different directions. It's as if he'd turned that 1100-page book into a 2200-page book.

"He makes a cameo and it is quite a key one at that."

The series follows the events inside a small American town cut off from the rest of the world by a mysterious and invisible dome.

Norris, best known for playing meth-cooking chemistry teacher Walter White's brother on the acclaimed series Breaking Bad, plays the town's self-appointed leader Big Jim.

The second season picks up right at the moment the first ended, with Barbie about to be hanged for the murders for which Big Jim has framed him.

"Big Jim has a 'dome moment'," Norris said.

"It's almost as if someone were to have a religious re-imagining of what their life should be.

"In the midst of the horror and really hardcore stuff, it's like the ghost of Christmas past coming to haunt you. It's funny in a way to see this big mean guy have to confront and deal with these evil things he's done. He changes; he has a moment where he realises maybe that's not the way to operate.

"It propels his character for the rest of the season."

But whether or not Big Jim has seen the error of his ways is yet to be seen.

The first season also saw the revelation of Julia as "the monarch", the person believed to be essential to solving the mystery of the dome.

In the season two premiere, Julia seeks out the help of a stranger to save the life of a mysterious girl who may hold clues to origin of the Dome.

The properties of the Dome will also change in the second season.

"Magnetism is one of the things, but you'll see other things of a biblical level that the Dome seems to hurl at this town," Norris said.

"Big Jim feels they're being hurled at him and in a way it makes him deal with these big issues.

"We also get to see more of their contact with the outside world. Part of the second season is how they deal with that and what the outside world is thinking."

Under The Dome season two premieres tonight at 8.30pm on Channel 10.

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