Tag Archives: hbo

The 2020 Harvey Award Winners Have Been Announced

The Harvey Awards

Ahead of the official ceremony later this week, the winners for the 2020 Harvey Awards have been announced. The award ceremony has gone virtual this year with the initial group of nominees announced in August and then the winners chosen by vote.

The 2020 winners are:

Book of the Year: Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
Digital Book of the Year: The Nib edited by Matt Bors (thenib.com)
Best Children or Young Adult Book: Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru (DC Comics)
Best Manga: Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama (Kodansha Comics)
Best International Book: Grass by Keum Suk Gendry-Kim, translated by Janet Hong (Drawn and Quarterly)
Best Adaptation from a Comic Book/Graphic Novel: Watchmen by HBO, based on Watchmen (DC Comics)

The Harveys will also be inducting Osamu Tezuka (Astro Boy), Jill Thompson (Scary Godmother), and the founding members of Milestone Media which includes Denys Cowan, Derek T. Dingle, Michael Davis, and the late Dwayne McDuffie into this year’s Harvey Awards Hall of Fame.

The virtual ceremony will be broadcast on October 9 at 4:50 pm as part of New York Comic Con’s Metaverse. The ceremony will be hosted by Vivek Tiwary and will feature Gene Luen Yang, Neil Gaiman, Jill Thompson, and Damon Lindelof.

(via The Hollywood Reporter)

Why Lovecraft Country’s ‘I AM’ episode is the beating heart of the HBO series

Lovecraft Country, episode 7 “I Am”

(Beware! SPOILERS abound for Lovecraft Country “I Am.”)

If you’ve stuck with Lovecraft Country up to episode 7 you might’ve already realized that this show is on a mission.

Each episode, almost self-contained in scope, puts the series’ heroes in situations more commonly found in storytelling genres dominated by white male narratives. War, horror, adventure, and science fiction each get the chance to be used as statements on the perils of narrowing the possibilities of story by not acknowledging the rich differences found in diversity.

The lead up to episode 7, thus far, has seen the show put its own racially-conscious spin on the haunted house story (ep. 3 “Holy Ghost”), the Indiana Jones-like adventure story (ep. 4 “A History of Violence”), the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-like doppelganger story (ep. 5 “Strange Case”), and the classic war/romance story (ep. 6 “Meet me in Daegu”), each sharing in cosmic horror as the common thread. While Tic (played by Jonathan Mayors) is still the driving force behind the main story, this layered exploration of genre lets every character have their turn behind the wheel.

It’s with episode 7, though, where the show lays its heart and soul bare, with us looking in as if through an open wound that shows signs of healing. It’s aptly titled “I Am.” and it’s where science fiction comes in to drive the following point home: not only does black representation matter, it can create stories the likes of which we haven’t been allowed to see.

In this episode, Hippolyta (played by Aunjanue Ellis) takes to the road to find answers about her husband’s death and the secrets pertaining to an orrery she had previously found. Her search leads her to a mysterious observatory that can open a rift in reality to other dimensions and universes.

Hippolyta’s love for astronomy is played to great effect here. What was once an endearing character trait that made her more relatable and interesting turns her into a key character with access to information few others in Tic’s group can access. Hippolyta felt like a strong background character all the way up until this episode and not having her play a more central role in the unraveling of the main mystery after everything that just happened to her would be doing a disservice to the character.

Lovecraft Country, episode 7 “I Am.”

What makes “I Am.” the proverbial heart of the show lies in its approach to science fiction as a genre that feels tailor-made to portray the black experience. The specter of systemic-racism creeps into the episode as Hippolyta’s journey into the multiverse puts her into several potential realities her character could’ve perfectly fit into if given the chance to define herself within it, hence the episode’s title. The show takes the opportunity to celebrate possibilities rather than merely protesting the lack of representation, something it’s already established and done well in previous chapters.

Throughout her multiversal jumps we see Hippolyta become one of Josephine Baker’s dancers in 1920’s Paris, an Amazonian warrior from the all-female Mino or Dahomey military regiment of the Kingdom of Dahomey, and a space explorer cataloguing alien life in a fashion similar to how her husband researched new safe routes for his travel guides, an activity he didn’t allow her to participate in for fear she would get hurt on the road (an excuse Hippolyta challenges in the episode to great effect).

Lovecraft Country, episode 7 “I Am.”

Each version closes with Hippolyta declaring “I Am…,” which claims the character’s right to create her own self-identity within each genre, unencumbered by the expectations and prejudices of white male-dominated perspectives.

The episode goes lengths to portray each version of the character as deserving of their own series. It continues the show’s mission of showing how black representation in these genres has been absent or downplayed for far too long, denied by a culture that systemically devalued non-white perspectives (and still does). We get a sense of the type of stories we’ve lost in the process.

While that sense of loss is present and palpable–as it is in every episode thus far–the storytelling realities the show has brought to the fore also come with an unrelenting sense of hope. Hippolyta’s science fiction voyage and its several stops provide new avenues of story that demand to be explored. It amounts to a resounding “it’s about damn time” for the masses.

Fans of HBO’s Watchmen can find certain converging ideas between Hippolyta and Dr. Manhattan, especially in that show’s eighth episode, “A God Walks into Abar.” Manhattan’s decision to give Angela Abar, a.k.a. Sister Night, the choice of remaking him into a black man in that episode spoke to the importance of giving black creators the leading voice in the storytelling process so what we can see how new perspectives come to life. Something similar happens with Hippolyta, only she’s recreating herself under her own conditions with no need for anyone’s permission.

“I Am”/”A God Walks into Abar”

Lovecraft Country’s “I Am.” is yet another statement on the importance of self-identity and creative agency in fiction. The show has been successful in showing how fiction can respond to the needs of many, regardless of skin color, but it’s in this chapter that we see the argument come full circle. It’s a call for justice in representation with the guarantee that it has no intention of settling for anything less than creative control. Hippolyta is now the new face of that claim in Lovecraft Country, and it looks like “I Am” is the new rallying cry.

Lovecraft Country’s Debut Shows Tremendous Potential

Lovecraft Country

“This is a story of a boy and his dream…”

I’ll be honest, when they said that Jordan Peele was associated with Lovecraft Country, I was automatically interested. Since Get Out, I’ve loved this comedian-turned-visionary’s foray into the sci-fi and fantasy genre. A genre, I might add, that has rarely had any Black leads or Black characters of note. I always found it interesting that for a genre filled with so many variations of aliens, elves, etc. it was hard to spot any Black people. But now we don’t have to worry about that as Black speculative fiction, written and visual, is finally getting its due. And the opening shot of the first episode did just that!

I’ll try not to spoil the debut. I promise, but it may be a tad bit impossible.

The opening sequence is a visual feast; a smorgasbord of cinematic gold, throwbacks to the early days of sci-fi, and a homage to Black heroes without capes. I literally had to catch my breath when they panned out so we could see just what was going on. Trust me there was a lot! I was reminded of War of the Worlds and even Avengers: Endgame. And then for us to see him again, half-way between the dreaming and waking world, I found myself looking at a character that was sooo familiar. He was a blerd! Bespectacled and black. Passionate about storytelling. That’s me, y’all. That’s you.

But seeing him in the back of the bus for “coloreds only” rudely brought me back to his reality. A reality that makes up a great deal of this nation’s history. “Good riddance to old Jim Crow” indeed. Sobering still when the bus breaks down and he and another passenger had to walk to the next town. The visual coupled with hearing my elders saying “we have a long road ahead of us” was not lost on me.

But let’s discuss this enchanting cast:

Atticus Freeman played by Jonathan Majors:  Okay, I knew Majors was talented when I first saw him in The Last Black Man in San Francisco. I don’t know if it’s because he is a method actor (I’m just assuming) or what, but he brings this magnetic energy to Atticus. The nerdy “boy next door” who is back home, a soldier, but still very much a dreamer. He said “stories are like people. Loving them doesn’t make them perfect. You just try and cherish ‘em, overlook their flaws.” There is a profoundness to that quote. One might think it could be applied to America… I loved that he was fearless in time when fear was used to control African Americans.

Letitia Dandridge played by Jurnee Smollett-Bell: Like Jonathan, Jurnee always brings this light to whomever she portrays. There is this infectious quality she possesses. Her take on Letitia is spunky, free-spirited, and just what this heavy show needs. Whether it’s her dancing on the stage or looking over her shades at  the gawking white woman, Letitia steals every scene.

George Freeman played by Courtney Vance: I’ve always loved Courtney. He always seems so poised and educated that it is impossible not to be taken in by it. That and the cadence of his voice. I love love love how he loves on his wife Hippolyta! #BlackLoveGoals! Their relationship is full, full of good, wholesome things, and you see just how protective he is of her. He seems protective of as his family as a whole.  It’s also clear that he loves his nephew, but skeletons in the family closet caused for an unexpected, emotional scene. And in that split second before the scene ended, you saw the look on George’s face that made you feel for him. HE BETTER NOT DIE IN THIS SHOW.

Hippolyta Freeman played by Aunjanue L. Ellis: I liked her. Another great actress. You can tell she is a dedicated and loyal wife and a loving mother to her daughter Diana. Wait…Hippolyta AND Diana? Surely that is no coincidence. If so, that would be…wonderful. I definitely want to see more of her. Especially since we see that she is interested in astrology.

Diana Freeman by Jada Harris: I really enjoyed this character and her artistic ability! I love how she was drawing comics and seemed a tad bit tomboyish. I’m sure that set her apart from what was socially acceptable back then even in the black community. But seriously though we can I find the first issue of her comic?

Another thing I found intriguing was the importance of the “Green Book” or “The Negro Motorist Green Book”. For those who do not know it was a travel guide for African Americans to travel safely during the Jim Crow era. It was considered a bible for black travelers. This, of course, is an integral theme during the course of the pilot episode because Atticus is searching for his father in Lovecraft Country. And when you watch Atticus, Uncle George, and Letitia on those winding, lazy roads weaving through America’s heartland, you also see signs proudly announcing unapologetically racism and bigotry. One such sign presented as a billboard said for black people not to let the sun set on them in that particular town.

It also made me think about just how pervasive, far reaching, and, well, traumatizing that was for the black community as a whole. Especially in the Midwest and South. Fear is a weapon. Fear is a net. Fear is a poison. I remember as a child my mom telling us to come home at sunset. I never understood why the urgency. I’m having fun so why should I be home when it starts to get dark?  I think she was just saying because she heard it from her parents. Then I remembered: my grandparents are both from the Deep South. They were young adults during this horrible era. I even recall my grandfather telling me he saw a man lynched when he was a just a kid. Sundown towns are no joke. And they STILL exist!

The cinematography was breathtaking. The juxtaposition between a line of black people on what I assume was a bread line against the mural showing a happy white family traveling on the road was stark and unsettling. I did love when Atticus bought the flower from the struggling mother. Support Black-owned businesses!

But let’s get to the fun stuff, right? Or at least the part where sh*t really got real! The slow car chase in Devon County hit differently especially with Letitia’s almost foreboding “we can outrun blob” comment fresh in your mind. I think that in all my years watching car chases on the big and little screen, this was arguably one of the most intense but definitely the most original ones whether seen on movies or tv shows! You could almost taste the fear and desperation as they tried to leave the sundown town with literally minutes to spare with the racist sheriff behind them. And then that was amplified when the monsters came….and, man, were they terrifying! In truth, I don’t know who terrifying—the corrupt police or the ravenous sharp teethed creatures was more. I can assure you there was a difference.

In closing, I think this show has such tremendous potential.  I’m a sucker for a period piece so seeing a sci fi story set in the racist 1950’s was a visual and occasionally disturbing treat. The unseen monsters are a perfect metaphor for America’s own dark history. Trust me, they are still there in today’s age, emboldened by their orange king, but now they are out in the open. Brazen. Strong and wrong. And that’s fine. We are out in the open too. And we will fight this by any means necessary.

Oh, and one last thing: whatever happens in Denmark Vesey’s Bar stays in Denmark Vesey’s Bar! Cheers!

HBO Max Launches May 27 with Original Series

HBO Max said they’d be launching in May 2020 and they’re sticking to it. The latest digital streaming service will launch May 27 and bring with it original series as well as movies and older shows.

Among those original series will be new episodes of Doom Patrol. We’ll also be getting new Looney Tunes cartoons.

Other shows include Love Life with Anna Kendrick, Sesame Street Workshop’s The Not Too Late Show with Elmo, and more.

Along with original shows, HBO Max will also feature shows and movies from Warner Bros., New Line, DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes and more. It boasts over 10,000 hours of content.

Watchmen on HBO: Black Wall Street, “Trust In the Law”, masks & politics

Victor Luckerson is writing a book about Tulsa’s Black Wall Street, which was highlighted by HBO‘s Watchmen series. Felicia Perez is the Innovation Director at the Center for Story-based Strategy. We team up to look at the real history and current politics behind the most 2019 of HBO shows. Also, check out Victor’s essay in the New Yorker: “The Great Achievement of Watchmen is Showing How Black Americans Shape History

Discussed:

  • Lady Trieu is Batman
  • Why it took me so long to cover this show (partially Alan Moore)
  • The power and danger of Nostalgia
  • America’s messed-up relationship with history
  • The problem with conspiracies
  • Ohhhhhklahoma! (is not OK)
  • and of course, the actual comics. 

Victor Luckerson: Twitter and newsletter runitback.substack.com.

Felicia Perez Facebook and Twitter

and me, send me feedback! Twitter

Joker Nominated for 4 Golden Globes, Watchmen Snubbed

Joker

Today, the nominees for the 77th Golden Globes were announced. Joker was nominated for four awards including “Best Motion Picture,” “Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama,” “Best Director – Motion Picture,” and “Best Original Score – Motion Picture.”

Joker crossed the billion-dollar mark in the last few weeks and the controversial film is one of the most profitable in history.

Watchmen, an expansion of the heralded comic, was snubbed in this year’s awards. The show which focuses on the generational trauma of an African-American family was one of the highest profile snubs, especially due to its praise.

Check out below for the full list of nominees.

Best Motion Picture – Drama

  • “The Irishman” (Netflix)
  • “Marriage Story” (Netflix)
  • “1917” (Universal)
  • “Joker” (Warner Bros.)
  • “The Two Popes” (Netflix)

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama

  • Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”)
  • Scarlett Johansson (“Marriage Story”)
  • Saoirse Ronan (“Little Women”)
  • Charlize Theron (“Bombshell”)
  • Renée Zellweger (“Judy”)

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama

  • Christian Bale (“Ford v Ferrari”)
  • Antonio Banderas (“Pain and Glory”)
  • Adam Driver (“Marriage Story”)
  • Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”)
  • Jonathan Pryce (“The Two Popes”)

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

  • “Dolemite Is My Name” (Netflix)
  • “Jojo Rabbit” (Fox Searchlight)
  • “Knives Out” (Lionsgate)
  • “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (Sony)
  • “Rocketman” (Paramount)

Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

  • Ana de Armas (“Knives Out”)
  • Awkwafina (“The Farewell”)
  • Cate Blanchett (“Where’d You Go, Bernadette”)
  • Beanie Feldstein (“Booksmart”)
  • Emma Thompson (“Late Night”)

Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

  • Daniel Craig (“Knives Out”)
  • Roman Griffin Davis (“Jojo Rabbit”)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)
  • Taron Egerton (“Rocketman”)
  • Eddie Murphy (“Dolemite Is My Name”)

Best Motion Picture – Animated

  • “Frozen 2” (Disney)
  • “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” (Universal)
  • “The Lion King” (Disney)
  • “Missing Link” (United Artists Releasing)
  • “Toy Story 4” (Disney)

Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language

  • “The Farewell” (A24)
  • “Les Misérables” (Amazon)
  • “Pain and Glory” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • “Parasite” (Neon)
  • “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (Neon)

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture

  • Kathy Bates (“Richard Jewell”)
  • Annette Bening (“The Report”)
  • Laura Dern (“Marriage Story”)
  • Jennifer Lopez (“Hustlers”)
  • Margot Robbie (“Bombshell”)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture

  • Tom Hanks (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”)
  • Anthony Hopkins (“The Two Popes”)
  • Al Pacino (“The Irishman”)
  • Joe Pesci (“The Irishman”)
  • Brad Pitt (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)

Best Director – Motion Picture

  • Bong Joon-ho (“Parasite”)
  • Sam Mendes (“1917”)
  • Todd Phillips (“Joker”)
  • Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”)
  • Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

  • Noah Baumbach (“Marriage Story”)
  • Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won (“Parasite”)
  • Anthony McCarten (“The Two Popes”)
  • Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”)
  • Steven Zaillian (“The Irishman”)

Best Original Score – Motion Picture

  • Alexandre Desplat (“Little Women”)
  • Hildur Guðnadóttir (“Joker”)
  • Randy Newman (“Marriage Story”)
  • Thomas Newman (“1917”)
  • Daniel Pemberton (“Motherless Brooklyn”)

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

  • “Beautiful Ghosts” (“Cats”)
  • “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” (“Rocketman”)
  • “Into the Unknown” (“Frozen 2”)
  • “Spirit” (“The Lion King”)
  • “Stand Up” (“Harriet”)

Best Television Series – Drama

  • “Big Little Lies” (HBO)
  • “The Crown” (Netflix)
  • “Killing Eve” (BBC America)
  • “The Morning Show” (Apple TV Plus)
  • “Succession” (HBO)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama

  • Jennifer Aniston (“The Morning Show”)
  • Olivia Colman (“The Crown”)
  • Jodie Comer (“Killing Eve”)
  • Nicole Kidman (“Big Little Lies”)
  • Reese Witherspoon (“The Morning Show”)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama

  • Brian Cox (“Succession”)
  • Kit Harington (“Game of Thrones”)
  • Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”)
  • Tobias Menzies (“The Crown”)
  • Billy Porter (“Pose”)

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy

  • “Barry” (HBO)
  • “Fleabag” (Amazon)
  • “The Kominsky Method” (Netflix)
  • “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon)
  • “The Politician” (Netflix)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

  • Christina Applegate (“Dead to Me”)
  • Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
  • Kirsten Dunst (“On Becoming a God in Central Florida”)
  • Natasha Lyonne (“Russian Doll”)
  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“Fleabag”)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy

  • Michael Douglas (“The Kominsky Method”)
  • Bill Hader (“Barry”)
  • Ben Platt (“The Politician”)
  • Paul Rudd (“Living with Yourself”)
  • Ramy Youssef (“Ramy”)

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

  • “Catch-22″ (Hulu)
  • “Chernobyl” (HBO)
  • “Fosse/Verdon” (FX)
  • The Loudest Voice (Showtime)
  • “Unbelievable” (Netflix)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

  • Kaitlyn Dever (“Unbelievable”)
  • Joey King (“The Act”)
  • Helen Mirren (“Catherine the Great”)
  • Merritt Wever (“Unbelievable”)
  • Michelle Williams (“Fosse/Verdon”)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

  • Christopher Abbott (“Catch-22”)
  • Sacha Baron Cohen (“The Spy”)
  • Russell Crowe (“The Loudest Voice”)
  • Jared Harris (“Chernobyl”)
  • Sam Rockwell (“Fosse/Verdon”)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

  • Patricia Arquette (“The Act”)
  • Helena Bonham Carter (“The Crown”)
  • Toni Collette (“Unbelievable”)
  • Meryl Streep (“Big Little Lies”)
  • Emily Watson (“Chernobyl”)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

  • Alan Arkin (“The Kominsky Method”)
  • Kieran Culkin (“Succession”)
  • Andrew Scott (“Fleabag”)
  • Stellan Skarsgård (“Chernobyl”)
  • Henry Winkler (“Barry”)

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.

« Older Entries