Movies & TV / Columns

Will HBO’s Watchmen Find Its Audience?

September 23, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Watchmen Rorshachs

Tick tock. HBO’s Watchmen is almost here and hopefully someone will be checking on Alan Moore.
Based on the DC graphic novel from Moore, artist Dave Gibbons, and colorist John Higgins, the television series has drawn a fair share of support…and ire.

Which is par for the course with everything these days. 

Speaking of Moore, he’s always been guarded of his work and not impressed with Hollywood’s attempts to adapt it for mass consumption. 

That didn’t stop HBO and not too long ago HBO’s president of programming Casey Bloys did an interview saying that Moore is “not thrilled” with the adaptation at the Television Critics Association presentation in July.

That isn’t going to stop Damon Lindelof, the showrunner, of the series, because he says rejecting the original creator’s intentions with a creation is actually just in keeping with everything Moore is about. From his interview with Entertainment Weekly:

“I do feel like the spirit of Alan Moore is a punk rock spirit, a rebellious spirit, and that if you would tell Alan Moore, a teenage Moore in ’85 or ’86, “You’re not allowed to do this because Superman’s creator or Swamp Thing’s creator doesn’t want you to do it,” he would say, “Fuck you, I’m doing it anyway.” So I’m channeling the spirit of Alan Moore to tell Alan Moore, “Fuck you, I’m doing it anyway.””

We’ll soon see how that’s going to work out. As far as the show itself, we’ve gotten some interesting trailers that gives us a small glimpse of what direction it will take but questions have lingered about where it fits in with the Watchmen universe. 

Lindelof clarified things by saying:

“Look, [the new series] certainly fits into the “sequel” box, and definitely doesn’t fit into the “reboot” box. We treat the original 12 issues as canon. They all happened. We haven’t done any revisionist history, but we can maneuver in between the cracks and crevices and find new stories there.”

In the past Lindelof has said, “Some of the characters will be unknown. New faces. New masks to cover them. We also intend to revisit the past century of Costumed Adventuring through a surprising yet familiar set of eyes…and it is here we will be taking our greatest risks.”

Will it be enough though? Watchmen is a beloved, almost sacred, work in the industry. Groundbreaking, it’s spoken of in reverent tones. 

Zack Snyder found out how difficult it was to bring Watchmen to the bring screen in 2009. His version polarized audiences and finished with a worldwide take of $185,258,983. 

The HBO series faces a similar battle. Fans of the book will be highly critical of the series while new fans might not click with the continuity, and the show will fail to serve its two demographics. 

What are your thoughts on Watchmen?