Watchmen [HBO] The Season in Review (Spoiler-Free)

HBO's Watchmen is a fitting successor to the beloved graphic novel.

Writing
10
Acting
9
Visuals
8
Action
8
Worthy Sequel? Yes.
9

TLDR

Watchmen [HBO] was a show that I never thought would work but gave the benefit of the doubt over to HBO. Aside from the flop that was the ending of GoT, HBO has a pretty solid resume of great content. And with the direction of showrunner/writer/producer Damon Lindelof, they delivered one hell of a first season. Adding to that is the star-studded cast of Regina King, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Jeremy Irons, Hong Chau, and others (all of which delivered impressive performances), Watchmen surprises and delights in a way that is sure to please many fans and stands tall as a worthy successor. And if you didn't like it, that's fine. But if your only argument is that we simply didn't need it- well, then, I would say that you are wrong. You can never have too much Watchmen, and HBO just proved it.

Alan Moore has been extremely vocal about his disdain and displeasure of his work in media and the entertainment industry, particularly Watchmen. The industry to speak of, has not always done a great job of turning a comic/graphic novel into a quality live-action experience. Moore, who stated in the past that Watchmen was never meant to be anything more than just that, a graphic novel, never gave his blessing for the show to be created by HBO. However, Dave Gibbons, the other half of Watchmen, did just the opposite. And Watchmen [HBO] turned out fantastic.

From showrunner/writer/producer Damon Lindelof followed and respected the graphic novel (unlike the Zack Snyder flick, which was decent, but different from the source material) to the letter by leading into a sequel that crossed every ‘t’ and dotted every ‘i’ that it needed to in order to be the worthy successor to the acclaimed series.

I’m in every moment we were together, all at once

_____

34 years after the events of the novel, Watchmen [HBO] continues down the path of the alternate history of our 20th century and picks up in 2019 in the town of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Cops now wear masks to protect themselves and hide their identities and Doctor Manhattan has been absent since his departure to Mars many years earlier.

Plaguing Tulsa is a white supremacist organization, known as the Seventh Kavalry, a group that alleges to be inspired by the writings found in the published journal of known-vigilante Rorschach, who was vaporized by Manhattan at the end of the graphic novel for threats of exposing Adrian Veidt for his involvement in the New York Massacre.

The Kavalry were responsible for motivating the police force to wear masks due to an event known as ‘The White Night’ in 2016, where the Kavalry, white wearing replicas of Rorschach’s iconic white mask, entered the homes of 40 known police officers and slaughtered them all, leading to a movement where the police would be required to hide their identity for the safety of their own lives as well as their families.

Of the attacked, only two survived, Chief Judd Crawford (Don Johnson) and Detective Angela Abar (Regina King), while many other police officers quit the force altogether in fear for their lives. From this time forward, the police force was required to hide their identities and not reveal their profession to anyone. This inspired many new vigilantes, including several that served as members of the police force. 

Thought to have been defeated and disbanded, the Kavalry appear in present-day 2019 and pose as a major threat with a secret agenda that puts the whole world in danger.

From this point, it is tough to go into further detail without spoiling anything significant. However, many points have been made public including the identity of several members of the cast, including the appearance of and plot involving Doctor Manhattan himself. I won’t go into it, but seeing Manhattan appear in the show did send chills down my spine the first time I saw that blue aura glowing around his body.

_____

HBO and Watchmen is a stupendously good pairing

What I like most about the show, from the start of episode one all the way to the conclusion with the ninth episode is that the show felt organic and realistic. Aside from Manhattan’s presence, of course, the show didn’t feel rushed, it didn’t feel derivative, and it didn’t feel like it tried too hard. It went at a pace that some may be a little more bored by if you happen to like Michael Bay flicks or the Fast and Furious franchise, but it was necessary to set the tone and aid in getting viewers acclimated to the universe that is parallel but different to our own, while still maintaining a lot of unusual similarities (like a celebrity president).

Regina King shows that she has the star-power to carry the more dramatic aspects of the season on her shoulders almost single-handedly while being relatable and down-to-earth, despite being a vigilante who wears a mask and fights criminals. However, not a single moment was her motivations ever seemingly out of character but instead echoing off of Abar’s core values as a person and a character.

Aiding King were Irons and Nelson who both delivered performances that were equally notable, with the former being more humorous and comic-book-like than others, while Nelson’s portrayal of Looking Glass felt stoic, and depressing due to a tragic backstory that one can’t help but sympathize.

Looking Glass has a tragic backstory, as most heroes do. He was in the show the right amount, but I would love more opportunities in the future to watch him work and take down criminals.

All the characters felt realistic given the fictional circumstances and their motivations felt true and consistent while casting a tone over each episode that made you feel for what they were going through and root them on for an outcome you hoped for. You know, as heroes should do.

The music was another major standout for me, with something that reminded me of Nine Inch Nails or maybe a Christopher Nolan film, or perhaps both. Either way, the score was perfect and really captured and delivered the ambiance and atmosphere needed to get through the story. Which is another tough-to-discuss topic.

Watchmen is a franchise I truly love

The plot of the show is founded on white supremacy and horrible atrocities, something that we can’t seem to escape in 2019. However, it fit right in with the direction the show needed to take and you won’t hear a complaint from me regarding this is a major plot device. I can’t really go into detail without spoiling it, but do yourself a favor and separate yourself from news/media racism you hear on a daily basis on Twitter or Facebook and allow yourself to enjoy the purpose it serves in Lindelof’s great vision for these nine episodes.

At the present, showrunner Damn Lindelof has not confirmed that there will be a second season but mentioned that if there were, he would likely not be coming back to do it. Unfortunate, as the writing and direction of the series are ending on such a positive (in terms of quality and critical acclaim).

Watchmen is a franchise I truly love. The graphic novel is something I have read several times over, and the movie is one I enjoy greatly for its source material and maybe not necessarily the creative liberties of Zack Snyder. And now that Lindelof has shown us that Watchmen can be an amazing show that continues on serving as a sequel, as long as there are good writing and direction involved, I can say that I truly feel we need more. And I hope there is more, but I just don’t know what more stories there are left to tell. All I know is, I want more. Because HBO and Watchmen is a stupendously good pairing.

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Marc
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I prefer Crocs for their style over their comfort.