I watched Watchman last night on HBO and frankly, I was baffled by it. I did the homework – got briefed on the comic book plots of old – but the fundamentals of the plot seemed very confusing.
It is set in the future – which is really the present, because the comic books ended in the late 80’s and it’s supposed to be in the same time frame but an alternate universe where history changed because of the emergence of superheroes that allowed the US to win the Viet Nam war and cover up Watergate? Are you kidding me?
The original story was supposedly a satire of superhero comic books, so it would appear the author – a very odd looking gentleman – wanted to say that the help of superheroes makes bad things happen. So in episode 1, there are still a couple of superheroes, only one of whom seems to be featured. The bad guys appear to be White Supremacists, but they seem to only target the police – huh?
Here’s what I think – this guy making the series – Damon Lindelof – had a couple of hits in Lost and The Leftovers. Interesting to note that after a couple episodes of both shows, I lost interest – so at least I’m consistent here. But here’s my point – he had successes with these two shows, so now he has a big budget and a lot of stars – guaranteed success, right?
I suppose – but the best review I saw was on CNET, which pointed out how this version has grossly departed from the original material, leaving it intact and moving forward in time from the Tulsa massacre in the 20’s to present day..so setting it in Oklahoma makes it – yes, a western! Bad guys fighting decent lawmen, aided by secret superheroes..yeah, well, maybe it’ll get better.
The CNET review compared it to West World, and that makes sense to me, since HBO had a lot of success with that series. So what we have here is HBO trying to use the same format but instead of life-like robots, we have people with special skills. I’m confident there will be lots of plot twists and turns, like all the other work mentioned above. I’m also pretty sure they’ll lose me after the next episode – like they lost Don Johnson after this one. Que sera sera…