Warning! There’s a prediction/possible spoiler near the end!
In my less-than-humble opinion, a TV series based on a movie based on a graphic novel is never going to go well. It’s a bit like the sci-fi view of cloning: successive copies are always a little less perfect than the first generation.
The Watchmen franchise has managed to get around this by making a perfect copy of the original, and then pretty much rewriting the original for the TV series. So far, the results are … encouraging. Couple of things to bear in mind though:
- You definitely, without any shadow of a doubt, positively must read the graphic novel or see the movie before you watch the first episode. Folk think they can just pick the story up from here? Nope. There’re too many nods back to the original piece, and it’ll spoil your enjoyment if you’re wondering, Who’s the blue guy? or What’s with the Rorschach masks?
- It’s a slow burner. Plenty of heart and character, and some uncomfortable themes to deal with. Even though Watchmen is set in a different reality, it’s an extreme version of what we’re seeing now.
The script is excellent (as you’d expect from a HBO production) and the acting is top-notch. If I was going to point out an outstanding performance then it would probably be Jeremy Irons, and only because this is something I’m not used to seeing him in. Talk about versatile. We cut into his sequences a lot, and this is the part that a lot of folk who haven’t followed Watchmen find a little confusing: But where is he, Dom? Is he in England? And who the hell is he supposed to be anyway?
Right, at a guess, I’d say he’s Ozymandias, who was a sort of hero-villain from the original. You’d know this if you’d watched the movie.
No, he’s not in England; I think he’s on Mars. Yes, it looks like a large country estate, but I think it’s a prison constructed by Dr Manhattan. Who? Yes, refer to my previous note about watching the movie. Why do I think he’s on Mars? Because he’s using his superhuman intellect to build a spacesuit out of animal hide and junk he’s found around the mansion, and testing it using one of the clones. No, it didn’t work very well.
WatchmenTV is definitely not your run of the mill, superhero setup (there are hardly any super heroes in it, and it’s a little light on the fight scenes), but it’s brilliantly put together from what I’ve seen so far. I think it’s taking a little time to warm up, but I’m sticking with it.
Eight out of ten (stc)