It’s a time. Really, it is. While there’s a call for more originality in entertainment, it’s generally frowned upon when it doesn’t fall into a predefined box. Todd Phillips’ Joker proved that the real clowns are the ones behind their keywords as silly controversies dominated the film’s discourse. Similarly, the imminent release of HBO’s Watchmen could follow a similar route.
After all, the TV show is a new story in the depressing world created by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Even though the comic series is widely regarded as one of the best of all time, Watchmen‘s dark and gritty tone is seen as a no-no in the current superhero climate. Right now, everyone wants warm and fuzzy, and jokes about America’s butt.
A property like Watchmen is far from those things. The comics tackled real-life issues and presented a sardonic commentary about the comic book industry at the time. While Moore has insisted that it was never meant to inspire a new movement, that’s what happens when art makes an impact. And who wouldn’t like a little variety in their life? There’s space for bright and hopeful as much as there is for grim and realistic. It’s like food; you’ll get sick of eating the same pizza every day.
Well, any hopes that the Watchmen TV show would follow a different path to the comics and Zack Snyder’s 2009 feature film were all but squashed by showrunner Damon Lindelof in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly.
“We’re living in a world where fossil fuels have been eliminated as a power source. All the cars are zero emissions and run on electricity or fuel cells—largely thanks to the innovations of Dr Manhattan decades earlier. There’s also this legislation that’s passed, Victims of Racial Violence Legislation, which is a form of reparations that are colloquially known as “Redford-ations”. It’s a lifetime tax exemption for victims of, and the direct descendants of, designated areas of racial injustice throughout America’s history, the most important of which, as it relates to our show, is the Tulsa massacre of 1921,” he said.
“That legislation had a ripple effect into another piece of legalization, DoPA, the Defense of Police Act, which allows police to hide their face behind masks because they were being targeted by terrorist organisations for protecting the victims of the initial act.”
The trailers have displayed an intriguing alternative world, but they also demonstrated a lot of potential violence—something that HBO as a network has never shied away from. With politically charged topics, probable violence and an element of the fanbase that only reads headlines, there’s a strong possibility that there could be a storm brewing on the horizon. Lest we forget, Moore’s disciples are also raging that this show got made without his blessing, so there’s that group to contend with as well.
It’s impossible to tell what the future holds. Though, judging by Watchmen‘s reception at New York Comic Con, the overall response seems to be positive. In the age of the internet, you can never be sure. Someone might wring their hands over something completely stupid and it’ll escalate because no one bothers with cold, hard facts nowadays.