HBO’s Watchmen TV series is looking rather incredible. Many fans of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ iconic original graphic novel who were on the fence about the upcoming TV series, were completely won over when the show’s full trailer was released at Comic-Con last weekend.
Aspects revealed in that preview appeared to confirm early reports that this series is not going to be a reboot, but rather a sequel to the classic comic story. However, some fans were still not sure, saying that it doesn’t feel like Watchmen to them. As showrunner Damon Lindelof explained during the TCA Press Tour (via Gamespot) though, he “[loves] the source material” and is staying true to it.
Whether or not the show feels like it’s Watchmen is in the eye of the beholder. We re-explore the past, but it’s canon. One of the rules we had as storytellers and writers was that everything that happened in those 12 issues could not be messed with.
And to prove that Lindelof is serious in treating the original series with full authenticity, it was also revealed that the series follows through on teases in the comics that actor Robert Redford was considering running for president of the USA.
Robert Redford is the president of the United States and has been since the early ’90s when they abolished term limits.
If you think Redford getting rid of term limits is dictatorial, Lindelof also revealed that the series is set in an alternate America in 2019 in which smartphones have been banned and the general populace doesn’t have access to the internet. The horror!
The original Watchmen was also a mix of fact and fiction as it was set in an alternate 1985 in which Richard Nixon is still US President as the Watergate Scandal never happened. That and other changes – like America winning the Vietnam War – were due to the intervention of costumed vigilantes. By the time of the story, these “superheroes” had been outlawed from working freelance and had either retired or been recruited by the government.
The contemporary TV series will also have to do with masked people either breaking the law or upholding it, as Lindelof revealed that the central conflict will be between the police and a group of white supremacists who have taken up the philosophy and mask of Rorschach. In the original comic, the anti-government Rorschach had been killed for trying to expose the truth about the hero Ozymyndias’ plot which saw him creating a fake extraterrestrial threat that killed millions, but which united the world’s superpowers.
This new hate group has appropriated and twisted Rorschach’s words to justify their war on the government and the police. The trailer appears to indicate that this forces some of the police to become masked vigilantes to fight the extremists anonymously so as to protect their families from reprisal, but that doesn’t necessarily make them the good guys.
If you’re asking are the police presented in a heroic light, are they the heroes of the story, after just seeing the first episode, I’d say the answer is no.
I’m super intrigued by what Lindelof and co have pulled off here. The writer may have had a bad rep for a while due to his part in flubbing the ending of Lost, but Lindelof has since proven his skills many times over since then. The Leftovers is one of the most critically-acclaimed shows of recent times and if he can keep up that level of quality – combined with the potent source material – Watchmen is definitely going to be something everybody should be watching.
Last Updated: July 25, 2019