Alan Moore wrote Watchmen to be unadaptable.
This is the common wisdom and it’s probably true, since Alan Moore has notoriously hated every adaptation of his work save the Justice League Unlimited take on Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow? (He’s right, it’s both a fantastic episode and a great adaptation. It’s also my favorite thing he wrote, but I’ve never read Swamp Thing…)
I read Watchmen in college, as a burgeoning closeted comics geek, it was an acceptable starting point. Watchmen wasn’t a comic book, (the horror!) it was literature.
I didn’t get it. I saw the movie. I liked that fine. But still, didn’t get it.
I read Watchmen again a few years ago, after diving headlong into comics and superhero fandom.
I got it that time.
It’s a brilliant work.
I still don’t quite get the movie.
Also, while recognizing Watchmen’s greatness and even liking the book itself, the way the comics industry learned all the wrong lessons from it continues to piss me off. Not everything needs to be Watchmen.
Anyway, why revisit this graphic novel that I’ve always appreciated more than I actually liked? Because HBO is airing a TV show based on it obviously!
Rather than adapt that which cannot be adapted (how does one show all of time happening to Doctor Manhattan at once on film? ONE CANNOT!) Damon Lindelof has opted to further explore the deeply interesting world that Moore created.
Watchmen the show, takes place in an alternate 2019, the 2019 of the Watchmen, where a culture shaped by masked vigilantes and accelerated technology and President Robert Redford. Of course bits of our history still happened, so the world is both alien and familiar.
And I was wary. Being not crazy about Watchmen, and even more nervous at attempts to do more with it, I didn’t know what to expect going in.
It’s good. It’s damn good. It’s thoughtful and darkly funny, and opaque, and uses TV the way the novel uses comics.
Also Regina King is the shit.
Anyway, I’m curious how the whole thing ends up, but I’m super intrigued with how things are going. Now that Adrian Veidt and Laurie Blake are in the mix, I’m even more excited for how things are going to progress. Doctor Manhattan’s appearance feels imminent. Or not, an anticlimax of that sort would be both very in the spirit of Watchmen and Lindelof’s pedigree.