TV Review: Watchmen S1E1 It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice

Watchmen

Based on the classic graphic novel and comic series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons‘, HBO‘s Watchmen is the latest attempt to build off what is considered one of the greatest comics of all time.

Opening with the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, the series is an interesting exploration of fascism on all fronts. Taking place after the events of the classic comic series, police now don masks and personas in a battle for justice using less than just means. A white supremacist group who seem to worship Rorschach has risen.

While it’s clear who the bad guys are (unless there’s some twist yet to come), it’s an interesting spin to deliver a series where we’re supposed to emphasize with the police. An attempt is made towards the beginning when one is gunned down but from there it’s a series focused on bad all around. Bad and weird.

It all feels a bit overkill in the middle America this takes place. The police force has a version of Nite Owl’s Owlship which while used for a rather exciting sequence all feels a bit over the top.

And maybe that’s part of the point?

Like our local police force having military grade hardware in real life, it all feels like it’s an exaggeration of the broken down rule of law and order that exists today. Police kill innocent individuals going for the gun when other methods may due. Here, the police ignore civil rights and revel in military assaults.

But, what stands out the most of this debut episode is how much it nods to the source material while not relying on it. It’s set in the world of, but is its own thing. A man with a sign is in a scene as a character walks back. The sign reads the opposite of Rorschach’s doom and gloom of the comics. The squids falling from the sky is a reminder of how the comic ended.

Watchmen‘s debut episode also delivers some depth to each of the main characters. Don Johnson‘s Judd Crawford and Regina King‘s Angela Abar feel like the two characters the series revolves around. Despite their fascist tendencies, there’s enough there to like them as people and empathize with them. King’s Abar especially seems to have nice depth to the character and her husband Cal Abar, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is one of the more fresh aspects of the show.

And then there’s that ending… So many questions. So much history playing out on the screen. Much like the comics, the story we witness is just one of a story that weaves in and out of other aspects.

While the title might be Watchmen, this show stands on its own delivering an intriguing adaptation of the source material. One that makes the viewer think and ponder right from wrong, good and evil.

Overall Rating: 8.5

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