Watchmen – TV Review
The main purpose of the first episode of Watchmen is to confuse the hell out of you! You are plunged into a new world, and there is no helpful voice over or text on screen to help you figure it all out. You’re left to your own devices, but slowly you’ll start to figure out what is going on.
The show takes for granted you’ve read the graphic novel, so that’s the starting point. The 2009 Zach Snyder film release was nothing if not faithful to its source material, but missed out on the complexity of the world, ignoring the many side stories and other details that made the graphic novel so fascinating. It always deserved a mini-series or something more substantial to really explore the length and breadth of the world. While this new series is not that, it does allow for a much wider canvas.
The series is set some thirty after the original graphic novel, (which is described here as being created by Dave Gibbons, as Alan Moore has his issues). We meet a number of characters, some we should recognise from the original comics, such as Silk Spectre (Jean Smart) and Ozymandias (Jeremy Irons), whereas others are quite new. There is also the lurking presence of Dr. Manhattan over the full series, as the only real super hero in town, the rest just masked men and women.
Although no one at HBO is saying it, this show started soon after the end of Game of Thrones and has a similar size and scale. There is a huge cast that seems to be expanding with every episode. The series is the creation of David Lindeof, who was the showrunner on Lost and later worked on the Leftovers, another series with a sci-fi twinge although largely based in reality. There are some great characters and a number of impressive female roles. Episode eight has only just been screened on Sky Altantic, so those who are up to date are waiting for the series finale. If you’re not up to date, this series comes heavily recommended. It’s one of the best TV shows of the year.