"The Fire"-- When a former deputy goes rogue, Big Jim recruits Barbie to join the manhunt to keep the town safe. Meanwhile, Junior is determined to escape the dome by going underground, on UNDER THE DOME, Monday, July 1 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Mike Vogel as Dale "Barbie" Barbara Photo: Michael Tackett/©2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc.. All Rights Reserved.

WHEN Under the Dome debuted on our screens last year, I was excited. After all, it was a new sci-fi series, with Steven Spielberg as one of the executive producers and hottie Mike Vogel in the lead.

Unlike Terra Nova, I thought it would be an out-of-this-world viewing experience. But about three episodes in, ennui set in. The writers could only explore the story creatively for so long, as they were impeded by the fact that the show was set in the confines of a very restricted world.

It’s like Cougar Town – a title that did the series in. But creatives milked that story for a few seasons in the hope that the situational comedy would mask the repetitive plots.

But, to my surprise, Under the Dome received the green light for a second instalment. I’m sure the producers are indebted to its easily appeased fans.

And Vogel isn’t complaining either.

In a chat with Nerdist.com, he said: “I think we started last year not knowing if he (Barbie) is good or bad. I think, as the show has a habit of doing, where we start off is never where we end up. What I have been told, over this next season, will continue in that same pattern. They just keen finding really interesting ways to expand this thing.

“What we will find with Barbie this year is that the whole ‘wrong place at the wrong time’ was no accident. There is a reason that he is here.”

Of his character, Vogel points out: “The one thing with him that I always want to avoid is that ‘hero’ phrase. I don’t want him to be a hero. I want him to be at the wrong place, at the wrong time, every time. That is his mode of operation.”

Shedding light on a few changes, not forgetting Stephen King penning some of the stories, he offers: “I am really looking forward to Carla Chrome, our new cast member Rebecca, who just came to town. She’s a fiery little actress and I’m excited to see how she plays into it. There is also Eddie Cahill. He and I have already hit it off. He is a great guy. I’d love to see those two characters clash. The relationship between Jim Junior and Barbie switches a bit. I’m looking forward to that.”

Meanwhile, Colin Ford, who plays teenager Joe McAlister, is pretty chuffed about his character’s scope in Under the Dome.

He told Collider.com: “I think the biggest mystery with my character was figuring out who the monarch was. There were a lot of twists and turns there. I was actually convinced that it was Barbie for a while.”

As for his character’s thoughts on the dome having descended on Chester’s Mill, he reveals: “I think Joe views it as an opportunity because he’s met this new girl. More opportunities for Joe have come up since the dome came down. He’s smart and it’s giving him something to do. “

Bottom line: Under the Dome has a large fan base and it doesn’t matter if I think this is a cheapjack series, it rocks for the fans.

Besides, there are a few mysteries still begging for answers…

• Under the Dome airs on M-Net tomorrow at 8.30pm.