The seminal graphic novel Watchmen is coming to the small screen with a Watchmen tv series in the works at HBO!
The seminal graphic novel Watchmen is coming to the small screen. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s 1987 masterwork is being developed by Lost and The Leftovers Damon Lindelof for HBO. This is (at the moment) 8 years or so since Zack Snyder brought a film version to cinemas.
TVLine reported back in September that Lindelof is busy writing a pilot with HBO wanting more scripts in case they bring it to a full season order.
Recently Damon Lindelof expanded on where he wante to take his adaptation of the graphic novel. Speaking at Vulture Fest (via Indiewire) Damon Lindelof stated that:
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“The reason I’m doing this is because these are dangerous times and we need dangerous shows,” Lindelof said. “What we think about superheroes is wrong.”
“I’m all for Wonder Woman and Batman. I grew up on these characters. I love these characters. But we should not trust people who put on masks and say they are looking out for us. If you hide your face you are up to no good.”
Lindelof here is seemingly referring to the current political and world climate, which he feels (much like the original text) could be reflected in our perception of superheroes.
Snyder’s 2009 adaptation does not really have much weight underneath its very visually wonderful surface. I personally loved seeing it in the cinemas, however upon rewatches only the 3 & a 1/2 hour Ultimate Cut comes close to having a meaningful underlying message; which to be honest is just a carbon copy of the original graphic novel. If you look at the original teaser trailer, we can all agree sure looks pretty.
The casting of Jeffrey Dean Morgan as The Comedian, Jackie Earle Hayley as Rorschach, Billy Crudup as Dr Manhattan and Patrick Wilson as Nite Owl II, are all in my opinion spot on casting. I would even go as far to say that Matthew Goode was a pretty spot on Ozymandias. This all begs the question as to how HBO can cast better than the feature film (although Malin Akerman as Silk Spectre II was misguided to say the least).
It will be very interesting to see where Damon Lindelof can take this. Terry Gillaim famously said that Watchmen would only ever work as a full form TV series. This was before HBO, AMC and Amazon all committed to throwing money at ‘big idea’ TV series.
Its worth noting that this is still very much in the pre-production stage. Watchmen has a troubled production history (before Snyder’s film) with Paul Greengrass being ready to shoot on built sets back in 2006, before the plug was pulled.
I hope we see Lindelof’s take on Watchmen on the small screen. As a piece of fiction it needs to be stretched out and allowed to breathe, otherwise it will go the same way as the 2009 motion picture, a film of style but with little substance underneath.