'Lisey's Story' Is a Moody, Creepy Adaptation of Stephen King's Favorite Novel

The Apple TV+ series stars Julianne Moore as the widow of a famous novelist.

Apple TV+
Apple TV+
Apple TV+

Stephen King has been writing about writers, writing, and the families of writers since the start of his career, his journalist and novelist characters-usually genre fiction writers-a familiar trope that fans of his work have grown to expect. The genesis of his 2006 novel Lisey’s Story, which he often cites as the favorite of his novels, came after the 1999 incident when he was hit by a woman driving a van, and when he returned home after his stay in the hospital, he saw his wife Tabitha had stacked his books and other materials in boxes as she redesigned his studio-a somewhat chilling vision, to him, of what his place would look like after his death. This year’s adaptation of Lisey’s Story, the first two episodes of which arrive on Apple TV+ June 4, begins with that same vision of a widow surrounded by the effects of her recently dead novelist husband, and unfolds into a sweeping, bizarre tale of grief, love, and the supernatural. 

Lisey Landon (Julianne Moore) has been a widow for two years since her husband, the famous novelist Scott Landon, died in a way that the show, like the book, keeps a mystery until the end. Her home is overrun with boxes and crates of his books, writing materials, and unpublished manuscripts, the latter of which is highly desired by Professor Dashmiel (Ron Cephas Jones), who hounds Lisey at every opportunity. She procrastinates on her cleanup nonetheless, and her work is stopped completely by her sister Amanda (Joan Allen), who attempts to harm herself after learning that her ex-husband has remarried. Lisey and her other sister Darla (Jennifer Jason Leigh) attempt to care for the nearly nonverbal Amanda, who speaks in coded nonsense and seems to reside in a world totally apart from our own. Meanwhile, Dashmiel sics obsessive Scott Landon fan Jim Dooley (Dane DeHaan) on Lisey to try to wear her down, but Jim’s attempts to liberate Landon’s stuff become increasingly more violent. 

Throughout it all are seeded little bits and pieces of Lisey and Scott’s life together, as Lisey remembers the good times and not-so-good times with her late husband. When she finds a hidden message from Scott promising to send her on a “bool” hunt with a hidden prize at the end, all these disparate threads start to converge. The miniseries, directed by Pablo Larraín (director of Natalie Portman’s Jackie Kennedy biopic Jackie and last year’s stunning dark romantic comedy Ema) keeps its true intentions hidden, lingering on sweeping, atmospheric shots and scenes that go on for just long enough to get uncomfortable. 

Julianne Moore spends almost one scene per episode swimming languidly in a dark pool, clutching at overgrown reeds and staring at reflections of other worlds as Lisey’s past returns to her in flashes. Dane DeHaan in particular is perfect for the taut, unhinged antagonist, one of a few actors working today in possession of what I tenderly call the “Stephen King face,” the dark cousin of the “Spielberg face” (Stranger Things‘ Charlie Heaton is another). The show is paced slowly but deliberately, with just enough revealed in each episode to keep you guessing until the end. 

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Emma Stefansky is a staff entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @stefabsky.


Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.


Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.


BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

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