Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s 1986 graphic novel, The Watchmen has an interesting history when it comes to on-screen adaptations. The graphic novel is extremely popular amongst fans and critics but features such an intricate storyline that any attempts to adapt it without butchering parts of the story are far from inevitable. It took many attempts for Hollywood to adapt the novel into a movie before Zack Snyder finally accomplished it with his 2009 film. Much like most of Snyder’s films though there was a lot of emphasis on style over substance and The Watchmen received mixed responses from fans and critics alike. It’s nearly 3 hours long running time though likely didn’t help either.
It’s a story with so much meat and content behind it that it is actually more suited to a TV series than a movie. Snyder tried to include as much of the source material as he could, but even in his overly long adaptation, he couldn’t capture everything. Having this story adapted as a TV series instead will allow its creators to explore some of the storylines and themes in a lot more detail. And audience’s time to breathe and think through it all between episodes.
Damon Lindelof, co-creator of Lost and The Leftovers has been reportedly working on a TV series adaptation of this difficult work for several years now with HBO reportedly being the network willing to take the project on. I say reportedly because Lindelof himself claims he hasn’t had any meeting with HBO about the project. Casey Bloy’s of HBO though is continuing to speak about the project and in a recent chat with IGN, went on to reveal that Lindelof might be willing to deviate from the source material to make it work better as a Tv series:
I don’t want to talk too much about it, but Damon is thinking about it in a way exactly as you describe it. Which is, how do you take the material and derive from it a TV show, without making it a literal translation?
I love how he doesn’t want to talk about, but then proceeds to anyway. It will be interesting to see just how Lindelof does approach this as a TV series because although the story has a lot of depth to explore, it also has a definitive beginning and ending that makes it work and doesn’t easily fit into a TV series where they will likely push to get more seasons out of the story. He will certainly need to create some new elements to the story to expand to additional stories or perhaps focus on the character’s pasts a lot more and built up towards a bigger climax in later series. I guess we will have to wait and see. The HBO executive though is confident the Lindelof is the man to pull it off:
Damon is one of the smartest, most passionate, most thorough writers I’ve ever worked with, so he’s really thinking about this in amazing ways. Again, I don’t want to talk about the details of it, but when you sit with him, and you see the way his mind works, it’s really kind of amazing.
With nothing clearly set in stone other than just talk, I would expect this TV series to take quite a while to develop before making its way to our small screens. Still, it will be interesting to see a story as epic as The Watchmen make its way into this format.
Last Updated: July 27, 2017