Hulu’s Castle Rock was one of many quality adaptations of Stephen King‘s work to hit the small and big screens alike in 2018. Now, fans can enjoy Season 1 of the fantastic original story/King homage for themselves in the newly released Blu-ray. If you missed Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason‘s new creation last year, don’t have a Hulu subscription, or just want to have the episodes in hand, I can highly recommend Castle Rock Season 1 on Blu-ray. However, if you’re a fan of the show like I am and are hoping for some worthwhile bonus features to dig into with the home release, I’m sorry to say that it’s disappointing in this regard. The episodes are great and the episodic features that were previously released on Hulu are insightful, but there’s no new trivia or anything remotely resembling praise for the production crew, music, cinematography or the like here, which is a shame
If you’re unfamiliar with Castle Rock, the show is an original story set in the title town, home to some of King’s many stories and characters. This particular tale follows Henry Deaver, a former citizen of Castle Rock with some infamous childhood memories (and lack thereof) who’s called back to his hometown to act as an attorney for a mysterious new arrival. Starring André Holland (Moonlight, The Knick), Sissy Spacek (Carrie), Bill Skarsgard (It), Melanie Lynskey (Togetherness), Terry O’Quinn (LOST) and Jane Levy (Suburgatory), Castle Rock Season 1 is on Blu-ray now.
Inside the Episode - These fantastic, episode-specific retrospectives were included with Hulu’s episodes themselves as bonuses. If you watched them there, as I did, you won’t find any new content here, but they are definitely worth your while if you’re seeing them for the first time. (You can also get a rundown of the various trivia tidbits contained within by checking out my episode guide here.)
Castle Rock: Blood on the Page (19:40) – “An exploration of the methods Stephen king utilizes in his spellbinding works and how these techniques inspire the Castle Rock mythology.” Overall, this is more of a puff piece than anything; there’s no real trivia, just a love letter to King and his stories. Sam Shaw, Dustin Thomason, and J.J. Abrams introduce the featurette and comment on the tone of the show and how they strove to marry it with King’s own style. There’s an exploration of the show’s many themes and subtleties here, especially regarding comparisons to King’s characters, but nothing very deep.
Clockwork of Horror (4:51) – “A look at how the storytellers of Castle Rock merge the distinct styles of Stephen King and J.J. Abrams into an exciting tale of mystery and horror.”
This is the first real behind-the-scenes content from the actual production process while commenting on the pairing of King and Abrams’ storytelling styles. The Question of a mystery drives Abrams, while the Answer to the mystery drives King, as show writer Marc Bernardin says.They also namedrop Randall Flagg, a “slippery” villain, as part of the inspiration for creating Skarsgard’s character.