Back in October, HBO began airing their sequel series based on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s masterpiece graphic novel Watchmen. The new storyline comes to us from Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers, Lost) and takes place 34 years after the events of Moore and Gibbons’ comic.
It resides firmly in the same alternate reality of the original comic (and Zack Synder’s feature adaptation) and stars Regina King as detective Angela Abar aka Sister Night who is investigating a shocking murder and discovers secrets regarding the situations around vigilantism.
More specifically, the series focuses on events surrounding racial tensions in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2019 with a white supremacist group, the Seventh Kavalry, taking up arms against the local police due to perceived racial injustices. And to prevent the white supremacist group from targeting them in their homes, the police now conceal their identities with masks.
And I am here today to take just a moment of your time and let you know that you really should be taking the time to watch this killer new series. I know, I know. With shows like Hulu and J.J. Abrams’ killer second season of their Stephen King series Castle Rock, Apple and M. Night Shyamalan’s Servant, The Mandalorian, and Rick and Morty bidding for your time (not to mention reruns of Breaking Bad and The Office) why bother to watch the Watchmen?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
One of the very best things about this HBO take on Watchmen is its killer cast. On top of the above-mentioned Regina King as Angela Abar / Sister Night, the show sports Don Johnson as Judd Crawford, Tim Blake Nelson as Wade Tillman / Looking Glass, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Calvin “Cal” Abar, Hong Chau as Lady Trieu, Louis Gossett Jr. as Will Reeves, , Jeremy Irons as Adrian Veidt / Ozymandias, and Jean Smart as Laurie Blake / Silk Spectre / The Comedienne.
Another great thing is the choice of episode titles such as She Was Killed by Space Junk, Little Fear of Lightning, Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship, A God Walks into a Bar, It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice, If You Don’t Like My Story, Write Your Own, This Extraordinary Being, An Almost Religious Awe, and See How They Fly. She Was Killed by Space Junk is obviously my favorite. And FYI, the title comes from the Devo song “Space Junk.”
But on a more serious note, the show’s main front and center focus revolves at all times around the cancer of racism. A big theme for a comic book TV series for sure. And Watchmen goes all-in on the subject matter, consistently horrifying us at the lengths the series’ writers are willing to go to provide even a fraction of the brutality inflicted on people throughout the years.
This includes a recurring restaging of the infamous Tulsa race riot of 1921, which for those who might not be familiar, took place on May 31 – June 1, 1921, when mobs of white residents attacked black residents and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It’s been called “the single worst incident of racial violence in American history,” and Watchmen does not shy away from the bloody, brutal details. Powerful and poignant stuff, to say the very least.
Think of it as Jordan Peele’s Schindler’s List.
But all heavy themes aside, this show is not a constant downer by any means. I mean I haven’t even begun scratching the surface of how cool the show is for fans of the classic comic book. Yes, the show functions as more than a modern classic even if you’ve never heard of Alan Moore in the first place, let alone the likes of Rorschach, Nite Owl II, Silk Spectre II, Doctor Manhattan, Ozymandias, or The Comedian. But if you do happen to be a fan of Moore’s comic and/or Zack Snyder’s big-screen adaptation, then you are REALLY in for a treat with his series.
Now obviously, I’m not going to go into spoilers about just what fans of the comic will find delightful about the series, but I will say that each and every episode is not only – as mentioned above – powerful and poignant – but they also sport a killer amount of easter eggs that reward multiple viewings. Not to mention intense insights into just how the cataclysmic events that capped of the original comic book are still affecting its characters and its world 34 years later.
Episode seven of nine hits HBO tonight. So what are you waiting for? Go catch up on the first 7 episodes of HBO’s Watchmen before the final 2 hit later this month!
HBO’s Watchmen was created by Damon Lindelof based on the masterpiece comic by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons. Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross provide the show’s score. Damon Lindelof, Tom Spezialy, Nicole Kassell, Stephen Williams, and Joseph E. Iberti are executive producers while Karen Wacker and John Blair produce. White Rabbit, Paramount Television, Warner Bros. Television, and DC Entertainment are the companies behind the scenes of the series which premiered on HBO on October 20, 2019.