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Where does ‘Castle Rock’ fit within Stephen King universe?

Question: In Stephen King’s novel “Misery,” published in 1987, Annie, who was born in 1943, is 44 years old. In “Castle Rock,” the younger Annie has a cellphone, and in one episode there is a rather old-looking sign advertising high-speed internet. Even if this younger Annie is only 10 years younger, the internet wasn’t available and cellphones were not around. — Doyle

Matt Roush: To fully enjoy the Hulu series “Castle Rock” (which I’ll concede isn’t easy), you need to keep in mind that this anthology isn’t adapting Stephen King stories literally, but borrowing characters and settings (such as “Salem’s Lot’s” Marsten House) and creating entirely new stories around them.

So Lizzy Caplan’s Annie Wilkes is not entirely the same Annie as seen in the novel or film, and this younger version has been transplanted into a current-day environment.

In an upcoming episode that reveals her and daughter Joy’s backstory, though much of her psychopathy is quite similar, you’ll see many differences — much the same way that “Jerusalem’s Lot” is no longer a haven for vampires but a breeding ground for another sort of ghoul.

“Castle Rock” at best is a mashup of King tropes with lots of Easter eggs to titillate fans. At worst, it’s a cheapening of King’s oeuvre with its messy collision of tones — in this case, fusing Annie’s psychological terrors with “Salem’s Lot”-style boogeymen.

To submit questions to TV Critic Matt Roush, go to tvinsider.com.

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