This new version has its inspired moments, like the way Billy Joel's "The Stranger" somehow turns out to be the perfect theme song for Flagg, but the structure keeps sucking the life out of things, from major characters to more minor ones.
The standout performance is absolutely Owen Teague... whose incel/school-shooter vibes and frenzied, unrequited crush on Frannie make him immediately repellent-he's also so realistic, he's even scarier than Flagg at times.
The spirit and dread of Mr. King's epic have been successfully, if more succinctly, incorporated into the series. The drawback of its timing? It might distract us from how timeless a piece of fiction can really be.
The Stand is a story about humanity that happens to have a pandemic running through it and, as is the case with actual humanity, it's the little imperfections that make it so relatable, so admirable, and ultimately beautiful.
That conflicted quality makes the danger faced by the community serving as humanity's last stand curiously subdued, and "The Stand" struggles to distinguish itself outside of its exceptional casting choices.