TV Review: Stephen King’s Bag of Bones


Genre: Horror | Mystery

Air Date/Time: Sunday, December 11 at 9/8c and Monday, December 12 at 9/8c

Network: A&E

Director:Mick Garris

Cast: Pierce Brosnan, Melissa George, Matt Frewer, Jason Priestley, Annabeth Gish, Caitlin Carmichael

Teleplay:Matt Venne


A&E Network presents Stephen King’s Bag of Bones, a four-hour epic miniseries based on The New York Times #1 bestselling novel, and featuring Pierce Brosnan’s return to television. Bag of Bones is a ghost story of grief and lost love’s enduring bonds, about an innocent child caught in a terrible crossfire and a new love haunted by past secrets. Melissa George (In Treatment), Annabeth Gish (Brotherhood, the X-Files), Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls, The Good Wife), William Schallert (The Patty Duke Show), Jason Priestley (Beverly Hills 90210, Haven) and Caitlin Carmichael (True Blood) also star.

In Bag of Bones, bestselling novelist Mike Noonan (Brosnan) is unable to stop grieving after the sudden death of his wife Jo (Gish). Suffering from writer’s block, a dream inspires him to return to the couple’s lakeside retreat in western Maine. While there, Mike befriends an attractive young widow, Matti (George), and her daughter Kyra (Carmichael), and becomes involved in a custody battle with the child’s enormously wealthy grandfather Max (Schallert). Though his ability to write suddenly returns, Mike is plagued by ever-escalating nightmares and mysterious ghostly visitations from Sara Tidwell (rose) a blues singer whose spirit lingers in the house. As he is haunted by the many secrets at the lake, Mike comes to realize that his late wife still has something to tell him.

I’ll admit it: I’m not a fan of getting scared. Or at least I wasn’t. I started watching The Walking Dead because I was at the Comic-Con screening (it was before another panel I wanted to attend) and was hooked by the writing and acting, and found that the Scary wasn’t so very bad after all. With American Horror Story I started to really enjoy Scary but still wasn’t convinced that it’s for me. So when I saw a Stephen King miniseries was going to be on, I was… concerned. Stephen King. Carrie. Cujo. The Shining. Hmm.

I am happy to report that I really liked Bag of Bones. It IS scary, but not blindly, unmercifully scary. To be safe I watched it during the day. At night, alone, probably wouldn’t be my first choice. But again, this is not a gore-fest, nor filled with relentless horror. There are some great adrenaline-charging jump-and-gasp moments (I’ve decided that those are really fun) but they are used very sparingly, so they remain effective. Some pretty creepy things happen, as well as several unsettling things, but they don’t happen for no reason, though we don’t find out the reason/s for quite some time.

And I suppose that is one of the things I like about this miniseries; reasons are (eventually) given for the bizarre things that happen. And they’re pretty convincing reasons. I feel quite satisfied with it all, when all is said and done, which takes me to my overall very positive view of the production.

Well, that and Pierce Brosnan, because come on, it’s Pierce Brosnan. I find him completely believable throughout, except for one somewhat odd and uncomfortable moment for which I’ll forgive him. Otherwise he is compelling, intense, and invested.

Seven-year-old(!) Caitlin Carmichael is absolutely terrific. I hope she’s an amazing actor and they didn’t just scare her to death to get her to that level. Anika Noni Rose has a singing voice to die for. And there is one older woman, Rogette Whitmore, played by Deborah Grover (Happy Town), who is TOTALLY CREEPY and whose character is clearly a nod to Rebecca’s Mrs. Danvers. Anyone who isn’t sure about that need only note the opening line of this miniseries.

Jason Priestley and Matt Frewer are great to see, but if you’re a big fan of either or both, be prepared for the brevity of their appearances. Likewise Annabeth Gish, whom I also really like, isn’t on enough for my taste, but there really isn’t any room for it. No scene or appearance ever feels superfluous, but this is really all about Pierce Brosnan; he is in almost every single scene, and manages it handily.

There are some interesting directing and editing choices that add to the unsettling nature of what our hero is going through, and I think they’re used to good effect, but if your attention drifts at all you might miss some of the transitions. You really can’t afford to not pay attention during those times, but this isn’t always an edge-of-your-seat production, so that can be a challenge at times.

Well done, compelling, never tiresome. Solid performances and story. Not heart-stopping or totally surprising or completely endearing, but an absolutely recommended way to spend your upcoming Sunday and Monday night, and I expect to watch it again.

I give Stephen King’s Bag of Bones Four out of Five Stars.




Erin Willard
Written by Erin Willard

Erin is the Editor In Chief and West Coast Correspondent for