Who watches the Watchmen? Damon Lindelof, it seems!
Lindelof is reportedly in talks to adapt DC’s acclaimed comics miniseries Watchmen into a TV series. The project is currently in the early developmental stages so HBO and Warner Bros. Television have declined to comment. Director Zack Snyder, who adapted it into a feature film in 2009, will not be involved. Snyder recently stepped down from directing duties on Justice League in the wake of a family tragedy.
This is HBO’s second attempt at developing a TV series based on the comics by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. The premium network got the ball rolling back in 2014 but sources say that Lindelof will be starting over from scratch.
The Watchmen comics series debuted in 1985 to critical acclaim and is considered a seminal work. It’s set in an alternate universe in which the presence of costumed heroes and vigilantes in the mid-20th century changed the course of history – the US won the Vietnam War and as of 1985, President Richard Nixon remained in power.
It follows the fate of a group of retired crimefighters known as Watchmen when one of their former teammates is murdered. The remaining characters – Dr Manhattan, Nite Owl, Silk Spectre, Ozymandias and Rorschach – then uncover a conspiracy that will set off devastating repercussions.
What makes Watchmen a landmark series is that it is a subversive deconstruction of the superhero culture. Its characters are deeply flawed and the non-linear narrative makes it challenging to adapt. Snyder’s 2009 film, which starred Patrick Wilson, Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Jackie Earle Haley, divided viewers. About half thought it was a gritty, visually striking “superhero movie” but fans of the comics felt Snyder barely scratched the surface of Moore’s complex dystopian tale. Not forgetting there were those who were downright offended that the whole Veidt’s island side story as left out of the theatrical release.
Personally, I have always believed that Watchmen would work better as a TV series than a movie. The story is too complex and nuanced to be contained within the span of a film so a series would be a more effective format for the network to really flesh out the themes. Plus, it’s currently the Golden Age of Television and I can’t think of a better place for this to develop than with HBO.
But I’m a little wary of Lindelof’s involvement as creator/ showrunner. Even though his current HBO TV series The Leftovers is enjoying reasonable success, he’s also responsible for iconic TV series Lost getting, well, lost and that travesty of an Alien movie Prometheus.
But hey… fingers crossed that this will work out great!
What do you think of a Watchmen TV series?