I could not pick up a book for weeks, that is until the 1st episode of HBO’s Watchmen aired … and since then my weekends are all about catching up!!
In case you missed it. HBO’s Watchmen started airing on the 20th of October and the kick off was powerful! While a majority of the viewers seemed to be bummed by it’s far to woke plotline, it’s obvious that the (Rotten Tomatoes) critics seem to grasp whatever direction this Damon Lindelof version of Watchmen is taking. Me … for now I am just pleasantly surprised, cautiously optimistic and very intrigued.
The following is a tidbit of information for those who are not yet on the tv-series bandwagon. If you are a Watchmen graphic novel fan … you might recognize the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons world building, but that will be about it. They thrust us into a world 34 years after the graphic novel ended and the 1st episode is basically a tour of alternate 2019. They transport us to a 2019 with beepers and landlines, squid rainstorms, white supremacy and Redfordations (reparations provided by President Robert Redford). There is also a complete new cast of characters which means you don’t have to be familiar with the graphic novel.
The most remarkable thing about the 1st episode is the opening sequence. It kicks off with a scene from a fictional silent movie by the first major African American feature filmmaker, Oscar Micheaux (according to the Peteypedia). We than witness black boy joy as this movie about the first black deputy U.S. marshall, Bass Reeves is projected on the silver screen. Unfortunately it doesn’t take very long for this pleasant moment to end and transition into a brutal depiction of the Tulsa Race Riots/Massacre that took place in 1921. This very real “Riot” is also known as The Burning of Black Wall Street.
The most shocking part of depicting horrific real historical events turned out to be, the cluelessness of mostly white America. After perusing my twitter feed, it became clear that a lot af Americans needed to be made aware of the atrociousness that The Burning of Black Wall Street was. Mind you I am from the Netherlands and when it comes to this historical event, I have been knowledgeable for quite a while now. I get a lot of information during my yearly Black History Month reading sessions and I find it astonishing that this is the same way this event was brought to the showrunner, Adam Lindelof’s attention.
Anyways a result of HBO having the balls to go there … is that this TV series, with its awe inspiring visuals, compelling storyline and stellar performances by among others Regina King … might not be easy to digest for the average American viewer. However, it definitely peaked my interest. In fact so much so that this weekend I did a deep dive into the Watchmen graphic novel universe. I wanted to make sure that the Easter Eggs, within the frames of the 8 episodes that are still left, don’t all go over my head. Furthermore I have a hunch that whatever will be served up next, needs to be consumed voraciously. It’s clear that this fresh take on the Watchmen universe, will be a valuable lesson in how to update an alternate history from the 80’s into something that an audience can relate to in 2019. However, the main reason for me to even tune in, was Damon Lindelof stating in a recent Colliders interview that Ta-Nehisi Coates’ essay “The Case for Reparations” served as the main inspiration for the plotline. Needles to say … I felt I had to see how deep this rabbit hole goes.
If the aforementioned has also peaked your interest but reading the Watchmen graphic novel still feels daunting (approximately 448 pages), dipping into to the Peteypedia might be the less time consuming alternative. HBO’s Peteypedia, is a (fictional) file that is available online. This file features a collection of documents that serve as a gateway into alternate 2019. Take into account that while the Peteypedia aides in immersing oneself in Watchmen’s alternate 2019, it does not suffice when it comes to spotting the many easter eggs. Luckily our timeline suffers a technology overload and youtube channels like Emergency Awesome, Gamespot Universe and the New Rockstars consider it their duty to break down every frame down to the littlest detail so their subscribers don’t have to.
As a final note my hope for these last few days in our 2019 is that they keep upping the ante for the 1st season of Watchmen and build up to a satisfying conclusion. Cause when you draw me in with heavy themes like racial tension and Redfordations, you can’t end up doing me like Game of Thrones.
For now its time to just sign off, cause mama has got a lot of catching up to do.
Okay this is ME on the 28th of July 2020, after several media outlets have just announced that HBO Watchmen’s reigns supreme when it comes to the sh*t ton of well deserved Emmy nominations.
If by chance you’re reading this and might be somewhat late to the party … the only thing I have to add is ... I most definitely told you so!!
If by chance you’ve seen every episode at least twice … than the following Wisecrack analyses is for you. At the moment (28th of July 2020) their very detailed take on Watchmen is the most complete overview I could find.
To be honest Watchmen deserved a separate posts per episode. But if you’ve watched the Wisecrack breakdown, you probably understand why that never happened …. it was simply to damn good and to damn much 😉