Why HBO’s Watchmen could be considered the best series on television

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Photo: Hong Chau, Jean Smart in Watchmen.. Image Courtesy Mark Hill/HBO

HBO’s Watchmen is remarkably mesmerizing and unlike any series we’ve ever seen before.

Caution: There are spoilers up to and including Episode 7 of Watchmen in this post.

When it was announced that the insanely popular graphic novel would be continued in television form, many assumed it would be a reboot of the comic and film, but showrunner David Lindelof avoided the traditional route and aimed to expand the universe. As an expansive world with limited source material, the show disregarded your traditional tropes of superhero projects and has mastered a weekly formula that remains untouchable.

Though the season only has two episodes remaining, there’s been an overwhelming level of success from Watchmen and we have plenty of reasons that suggest the series is something to celebrate. Many critics and viewers have definitive opinions about the strong suits of the series, but here’s why I believe that Watchmen is must-watch tv.

Merging three generations of heroism

Something that Watchmen has pulled off in a brief span of time is bringing three generations into the fold. From the first episode, we know that it’s set in present-day, seeming like it was straying from costumed heroes. As it continued, we were granted Laurie Blake, Ozymandias, Dr. Manhattan and even a reference of Nite Owl II.

Watchmen

Watchmen — Jean Smart.
photo: Mark Hill/HBO

If that wasn’t enough, Watchmen incorporated an untold origin story of Hooded Justice and took us back to the era that the Minutemen began with one conversation. While it’s a marvelous inclusion, the plot was actually heavily influenced by each generation of heroes showing that the present day will directly crossover with heroes of different eras.

As of Episode 7, Watchmen provided drastic curve-balls that some many have predicted, but essentially connected events of prior heroes and present-day characters for a common threat. Knowing that we will be fortunate enough to see these stories resolved and acknowledged before the conclusion means that this fresh take on Watchmen only elevates the successes to uncharted territory of the genre.

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Outstanding protagonists

One of the biggest strengths of Watchmen comes from the powerful women that lead the series. After the introduction of Angela Abar (Sister Night), she holds qualities that many series should strive for. Angela is a family oriented woman, and her desire to fight for justice is very much a part of who she is as well as her father and grandfather.

We later learn about the death of her parents and grandmother after she’s granted the rare opportunity to relive her grandfather’s memories mixed with her own. To say she has experienced raw tragedy would be an understatement, and each layer that Regina King brings to Watchmen is entirely magical.

In some instances she’s traumatized by reliving hate crimes, in others she struggles to process what happened in her grandfather’s personal life, and when she awoke from the memories, she was undoubtedly changed. Angela also happened to be hiding the identity of Dr. Manhattan, making her one of the series most strong-willed characters by facing so many extreme challenges and obstacles.

On the other hand, we have Silk Spectre II who now goes by Laurie Blake and has become an FBI agent with a clearer yet jaded view of the world. This version of Blake is a very mature take on the former vigilante, who now has a level of awareness that only someone with her life experience could comprehend.

Laurie looks at things with a skepticism that only a former hero could manage and as the series has evolved, we’ve seen that she is without a doubt one of the best assets of Watchmen. She almost always seems to be one step ahead of those around her and often challenges others like Angela which ultimately makes both stronger with every exchange.

Her explanation of events and perceptions about her former comrades played a brief but poignant moment in the show and if we’ve learned anything in this series it’s that Laurie is one of the most underrated Watchmen and with the right material she radiates excellence in every way.

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