Tag Archives: hbo

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ Watchmen Soundtrack Comes to Spotify

HBO‘s Watchmen has been amazing in not just the story and acting but the soundtrack as well.

Composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have brought their unmistakable sound to the television show creating a haunting melody to go with the mystery. The two are award-winning composers who have created music for well over a hundred television and film productions and the two won an Oscar for their score to The Social Network.

You can now listen to the first volume of music on Spotify.

TV Review: Watchmen S1E2 Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship

Watchmen

Watchmen‘s second episode focuses on the fallout of the murder of the police captain Judd Crawford played by Don Johnson. The episode goes beyond that but also builds on its history of Tulsa as well as Angela Abar’s.

We learn about Angela’s history with Judd and her history with Judd. That history becomes closer due to the White Night, a coordinated attack by the 7th Cavalry murdering police officers. Through that we also find out about Abar’s children, who are the children of her former partner who was killed during the attack. It’s an interesting scene as it explains why an officer would be so close to her superior and also why the police now hide their identities.

The series continues to entwine itself into the history of the Tulsa Race Riot. It becomes clear as to why Judd was murdered as Angela discovers what looks like a KKK outfit in Crawford’s closet. We also discover Louis Gossett, Jr.’s Will Reeves is indeed the young boy from Tulsa as well as his connection to Angela.

What makes Reeves interesting is his talking in riddles which has the viewer parsing everything he has to say. It forces you to listen to the dialogue and question everything said. It puts the viewer in a similar position with Angela as she attempts to discover the truth.

We also learn more about Veidt and his servants. It’s now much clearer as to what’s going on and the oddness of them. It shows Veidt is up to his old tricks and has lost his mind even more than before. Is he still the villain?

The episode has a lot of revelations and adds depth to each of its characters in small moments and big ones as well. It also deepens the mystery as we, like Angela Abar, discover each new piece of information. For each answer, there’s so many more questions presented.

Watchmen is proving itself to be every bit the worthy successor of the original comic material delivering a layered story and fleshed out history. This is much watch television. One that deserves multiple viewings.

Overall Rating: 8.5

Watching the Watchmen. A Deep Dive Into “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”

Watchmen

HBO‘s Watchmen has debuted and the first episode exceeded expectations. The show called for multiple viewings and deep examination of scenes, characters, scenery, and so much more.

Below is what stood out in the first episode… warning, spoilers!

Bass Reeves – The show opens with a silent film featuring Bass Reeves. Reeves was real and the first black deputy U.S. marshal west of the Mississippi. He mostly worked in Arkansas and Oklahoma. Reeves is rumored to be the inspiration for The Lone Ranger. The silent film features a masked Reeves with a rope around a white police officer’s neck bringing him to justice. It echoes the end of the episode where Don Johnson‘s Judd Crawford is hung by it looks like Louis Gossett, Jr.‘s Will Reeves.

Tulsa Race RiotWe’ve written about this real-world event. There’s a lot of solid details included like the soldier wearing a WWI uniform. Some of those who took up arms served in the war. The inclusion of the planes as well is a nice historical touch. This scene sets up the young boy at the end with the note and the baby he picks up. It’s likely that Louis Gossett, Jr.’s Will Reeves is this boy grown up as he has the note in his lap (he could be the baby instead). During the teaser, Reeves says he’s 105 years old which would make him about 7 years old during the riot. It also hints as to who Reeves might be.

Hooded Justice – Hooded Justice first appeared in 1938 in the Watchmen world as a vigilante. His identity is never revealed and there are enough contradictions it’s unclear as to who he might be. There’s a good chance that Reeves is indeed Hooded Justice. That’d make him 24 when he first became a hero so his character would be the right age to be a member of the Minutemen.

The show is one that also is about the details. Hooded Justice is seen on the side of the bus as Angela Abar heads to her business. Hooded Justice also is seen in the animated video playing behind Judd Crawford. There are strong hints that HJ plays a role in the show as he’s one of the few original heroes from the comic shown multiple times.

Hooded Justice also was a closeted gay man in the comics who faked dating Sally Jupiter. At one point Sally’s daughter Laurie believes HJ is her father. He was really in a relationship with Captain Metropolis. He’s the character who beats the Comedian for raping Sally. Laurie also is in the show as Laurie Blake, an FBI agent. Blake is the Comedian’s real-world last name.

Watchmen Smiley Face

Yellow bandanas on the police – The standard police officers cover their faces to protect their identity. The bandanas they use are yellow, like the iconic smiley face from Watchmen.

At the end of the episode we see blood dripping from Crawford’s body onto his badge. It’s similar to the blood drip on the Comedian’s smiley face pin in the original Watchmen.

The scene in the school – Angela Akbar is talking to a class about her cooking business. She initially makes eggs into a smiley face, a yellow one. Other things that are noticeable in this scene:

  • Vietnam is referred to as a state
  • Robert Redford is shown in a grouping of four important Presidents. Richard Nixon is next to him. In the trailer park, Nixon is a statue on the outside and a trailer says something negative about Redford. Later, Don Johnson’s Crawford is listening to talk radio where they’re talking negatively about Redford and a gun program.
  • A poster of a squid is shown in the back echoing the alien attack at the end of the Watchmen comic.
  • Reparations are mentioned which could be a reference to the Tulsa Race Riot which reparations were recommended for families impacted by it. It could also be a broader program involving slavery.

The squids – There’s the poster of the squid in the schoolroom and they fall from the sky like rain. It’s bad enough there’s a cleanup crew dedicated to them that we see working in a neighborhood. This is a reference to the “alien attack” that happened in the comic which looked like a giant squid. Later in an interrogation scene, there’s a mention of a government conspiracy about interdimensional attacks.

7th Cavalry – This was another nod to real-world history. The 7th Cavalry was lead by Custard and battled in Little Big Horn. This is why Angela Abar was texted that. There’s a lot of history with this military unit to unpack but they’re known for numerous battles against Native Americans.

Watchmen End is Nigh

Future is Bright – When Angela is going to her business a man is holding a sign that says “The Future is Bright.” This is the exact opposite of Rorschach’s “The End is Nigh” from the comics.

Jeremy Irons’ Adrian Veidt – Veidt is one of the few characters from the original comic. A newspaper article says Veidt is dead but he’s clearly not. He’s living in a castle with two servants who are most likely created by Veidt as part of whatever plan he has. Mr. Phillips, his butler, hands a horseshoe to cut a cake and Veidt’s look is one of confusion and disappointment as something is off. There’s rumors as to who these two characters might be but so far there’s no indication this is true.

Watch and clocks – The clock is an important motif of the original Watchmen. Veidt is given one as a present. In the next scene during a dinner between Crawford and Abar, the overhead shot looks like a clock. 7th Cavalry is after watch batteries. We hear tic-toc in numerous scenes.

Unanswered questions:

  • Why does everyone think Veidt is dead?
  • When Don Johnson’s Crawford is leaving from his home a picture is shown that we assume is him and his father. Whatever history is there might be why he’s killed.
  • Why was Oklahoma chosen for the musical other than the show takes place there? I just don’t know the musical much.
  • The police have an Owlship. Is this the new heavy armored vehicle like real-world police are buying from the military?

Visual standouts:

  • There’s the shift from Veidt and the watch to the dinner with the chandelier looking like a watch.
  • The overturned truck at the end of the Tulsa scene looks like the front windows of the Owlship.
  • When the kids at the end of the Tulsa scene are looking at the burning city you can see the title of the episode a bit above them as the viewer is situated behind the title.

So, that’s everything that stood out to me. What’d I miss? What stood out to you?

What Was the Tulsa Race Riot and Black Wall Street from Watchmen?

Tulsa Race Riot

HBO‘s Watchmen debuted with an unexpected, and somewhat shocking, real-world event the Tulsa Race Riot. The use of the despicable and little known moment in American history grounded the show in many ways and rooted it in the systemic racism that permeates today.

But what was the Tulsa Race Riot and Black Wall Street?

The Tulsa Race Riot is also known as the Tulsa Race Massacre, Greenwood Massacre, and Black Wall Street Massacre. The event took place on May 31 and June 1 in 1921 when mobs of white residents attacked black residents and businesses in the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It’s considered the single worst incident of racial violence in American history. More than 800 people were admitted to hospitals, 36 were “officially” recorded as dead though that number was revised to between 100 and 300 in 2001. It also saw 6,000 black residents arrested and detained for several days.

The attack took place on the ground and by air destroying 35 square blocks in what was at the time the wealthiest black community in the United States, “Black Wall Street.”

Greenwood was a district that was organized in 1906 when segregation was common and enforced. Local black residents created their own thriving and prosperous community.

The riot began when 19-year-old Dick Rowland, a black shoeshiner, was accused of assaulting Sarah Page, a 17-year-old white girl. Rowland needed to use a local restroom and used the elevator Page was operating as the restroom was on the top floor which was restricted to black people. A clerk heard Page scream and saw a black man run from the building. The police were called thinking that Page was “assaulted.” At the time that word was often used to describe rape. No account or statement by Page as to what happened has been found. But, it’s accepted the police determined that what really happened wasn’t assault and Page didn’t want to press charges.

Rowland was arrested the day after the incident and while initially taken to one jail, he was transferred when a telephone call threatening his life was received by the police.

The Tulsa Tribune covered the story in their afternoon edition and ran an editorial warning of a potential lynching of Rowland. All of the original copies of the paper have since been destroyed and the microfilm of that issue is missing the relevant page concerning the column about lynching.

Several hundred white residents had assembled by the evening and the police feared the worst. And later, three white men entered the courthouse demanding Rowland be turned over.

The mob alarmed the black community though how to proceed divided them. A group of local black residents then arrived at the courthouse armed to support the sheriff. There’s conflicting reports as to whether the sheriff requested the help. This resulted in some of the white mob getting guns of their own. Tensions rose with shots being exchanged either by accident or intentionally. Ten white and two black individuals killed.

Mob violence was the rule as thousands of white residents attacked the black neighborhood on June 1st killing men and women, burning and looting stores and homes. Fires were set and bullets were fired into businesses and residences. There are conflicting reports that the mob fired upon firefighters when they arrived to put out the fires.

Watchmen depicted attacks from the air. White assailants were said to have dropped firebombs on buildings and fired guns from privately owned aircraft. Evidence though is flimsy when it comes to that and a commission later concluded it wasn’t reliable.

Martial law was declared and the National Guard was called in to restore order.

10,000 black residents were left homeless and property damage is estimated at $32 million in 2019 dollars. Many survivors left Tulsa.

No prosecution of any whites for actions committed during the riot took place.

The event was largely not mentioned in history books and classrooms and it wasn’t until 1996 that a bipartisan group was formed to investigate the events, interview survivors, and hear testimony from the public with the goal of preparing a report. That final report was published in 2001 and concluded that the city had conspired with the white mob to attack black citizens. It recommended reparations to survivors and descendants. Legislation was passed to establish scholarships for descendants of survivors, encourage the economic development of Greenwood, and the development of a memorial park to honor the victims.

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

Ava DuVernay Teams with HBO Max for Brian Wood’s DMZ

DMZ

Ava DuVernay is in the DC Comics property business as she’s working on her second property for the comic publisher. DuVernay and HBO are adapting the second American Civil War comic DMZ. DuVernay is currently working on New Gods adapting the Jack Kirby DC Comics creations. HBO and DC Comics have the same parent company, AT&T.

DMZ was published by the DC imprint Vertigo and followed a young man as he navigated the maze that is the DMZ of Manhattan which separates the split American nation of the former federal government and Free States. Wood worked on the series with co-creator and artist Riccardo Burchielli and it was released from 2005 to 2012. John Paul Leon also provided art on the series, lettered by Jared K. Fletcher, and colored by Jeromy Cox.

DMZ‘s creator Brian Wood is not without issues. The comic creator has been accused of harassment by multiple women which resulted in publisher Dark Horse canceling their current and future projects with the creator.

The television series focuses on a female medic on the island who tries to keep the residents alive while also trying to find her lost son.

This is the second series that HBO has produced based around a civil war. Confederate was a planned series that was developed for the channel by David Benioff and D. B. Wess. The concept was the American Civil War ending in a stalemate and some described it as “slavery fan fiction.” That project was scrapped due to public reaction.

DMZ too is a stalemate civil war story, without the slavery, which indicates HBO is looking for this narrative to play to a certain demographic.

Production of DMZ is set to begin in early 2020.

SDCC 2019: Watchmen Gets a Trailer

There is a vast and insidious conspiracy at play. Watchmen debuts this October.

From Damon Lindelof and set in an alternate history where masked vigilantes are treated as outlaws, this drama series embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel of the same name while attempting to break new ground of its own.

The cast includes Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Jean Smart, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Hong Chau, Andrew Howard, Tom Mison, Frances Fisher, Jacob Ming-Trent, Sara Vickers, Dylan Schombing, and James Wolk.

Watchmen is based on the graphic novel co-created and illustrated by Dave Gibbons and published by DC.

Game of Thrones Finale: Team Small Folk. With Attewell, Hayslett and Rasher. Listen on Demand and on the Go!

Steven Attewell is the founder of “Race for the Iron Throne,” covering A Song of Ice and Fire chapter-by-chapter from a historical & political angle. He’s published 2 collections of chapter-by-chapter essays and the book “Kings, Hands, and City-States,” focusing on the political structures of GRRM’s world. He’s on twitter @StevenAttewellTumblr & has a Patreon for his ASOIAF work.

Reuben “Tihi” Hayslett is a queer activist, writer, and storyteller. As a fluent speaker of Dothraki, one of the languages created for HBO’s Game of Thrones, Tihi recently worked on the upcoming Netflix series Daybreak as a Dothraki Language Consultant. Tihi’s debut book, Dark Corners, is a short story collection of speculative fiction that centers the voices of queer people of color.

Sarah Rasher is a former professor of Shakespearology. Their pop culture & sports writing at https://twitter.com/pas_deChat

McFarlane Toys’ Game of Thrones Figures are Here

To celebrate the final season of the worldwide hit HBO series Game of Thrones, McFarlane Toys’ Game of Thrones action figures and dragons have hit retailers nationwide.

Game of Thrones fans can bring home their favorite characters and dragons, recreate iconic scenes and show loyalty to their favorite house with McFarlane Toys release of these realistic and highly detailed 6-inch scale action figures, as well as a deluxe box set of fan-favorite Game of Thrones characters including Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, the Night King, Arya Stark and Viserion the Ice Dragon.

Game of Thrones 6-inch Action Figures are available now at Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon and specialty retailers.  Each figure was modeled from digital scans of the cast, featuring iconic attire, 12 points-plus of articulation, and comes with character-specific and screen-accurate accessories. MSRP $19.99.

Game Of Thrones Viserion is featured in his ice dragon form from the season 7 finale of Game of Thrones. With a movable tail, legs, wings, and neck, this deluxe figure has more than 10 points of articulations.  Viserion’s wings span 16.5″ wide and move up and down. He also comes with a removable burst of blue fire and measures 9″ x 16.5″ x 10.5″ fully displayed on an elevated base. Available now at Best Buy, Target and Amazon.com. MSRP $25.99.

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