ABC really has done a fabulous job in the special effects department, though, particularly as the story reaches its messy, apocalyptic climax, complete with decapitations, oozing blood, stranglings and exploding monsters. Oh. Did I mention that there's quite a bit of violence? But the whole project, photographed in New Zealand (apparently the real Maine doesn't look enough like Maine), is gorgeous to look at and offers some excellent performances, particularly by Marg Helgenberger as Bobbi, the writer who uncovers the strange force, and Jimmy Smits as Gard, a poet and her live-in companion. [9 May 1993]
When Cohen taps into King’s greatest theme — families in peril from forces beyond their understanding — The Tommyknockers can be moving. The rest of the time, it’s never less than an entertaining goof.
When it comes to film and TV adaptations of Stephen King's works, the best thing to expect is not too much. However, this weekend's ABC miniseries, Stephen King's The Tommyknockers, defies those low expectations by being passably entertaining from start to finish.
As chill-and-thrill programming goes, the two-evening "Tommy" is overextended and underdeveloped, a laughable, would-be scare-'em inspired by King's novel that has been distended over too long a time to meet the needs of TV's mini form. [7 May 1993]
With its pulsing green glows, glowing green ooze, barking dogs, demented stares, terrors in the Maine woods, kids in peril and unseen powers that take over minds, it's less a journey into the Twilight Zone than a trudge down memory lane - even if you've only seen King's work on television in "It" and "Golden Years." More disappointing, it fails to live up to the foreboding and sense of dread it deftly establishes in a succession of early scenes. [9 May 1993, p.1H]
No one will confuse episodic The Tommyknockers with The Twilight Zone. It relies more on cheap effects than imagination or characterizations. Even the setting is counterfeit; this New England is actually New Zealand. [8 May 1993, p.G1]
Stephen King gets away with murder. He's not the master storyteller; he's the master story reteller. And recycler. Stephen King's The Tommyknockers, a howlingly awful ABC miniseries, seems to have been stitched together from many a tattered bit and piece.