Over 30 years after the groundbreaking Watchmen graphic novel, HBO delivered a bold new exploration of that universe. This gripping 2019 series from creator Damon Lindelof goes beyond adaptation to craft an original story in the world of costumed vigilantes. Watchmen mines the complex lore while bringing a timely, challenging vision.
Rather than retread the iconic 1980s comic, Watchmen expands its alternate history into troubling uncharted territory. The show takes place in 2019 Tulsa, Oklahoma, where police now conceal their identities to protect against a white supremacist terrorist group. Grizzled detective Angela Abar becomes embroiled in a mystery that peels back the layers of deception in this uneasy society.
Powerful writing examines modern issues of racism, police brutality, and mask-wearing. The show critiques the god complex that can accompany masked vigilantism. Performances ground the bizarre happenings with emotional authenticity. Regina King’s raw portrayal of Angela anchors Watchmen in a gritty realism despite surreal sci-fi trappings.
Existing fans will appreciate deep cuts to the comic, from character cameos to visual homages. But Watchmen never becomes slave to fan service. Even Dr. Manhattan’s anticipated arrival flows organically from the narrative. Exquisite cinematography makes both intimate moments and trippy action set pieces mesmerizing.
Yet Watchmen’s boldness comes with some flaws. The complex plot can be disorienting early on before congealing. Some ambitious ideas fail to fully develop in the limited season length. But patient viewers who stick with Watchmen will find the challenging storytelling ultimately rewarding.
Make no mistake – this is not a light heroic adventure for the Watchmen name. Instead this series deconstructs masks and vigilantism through thorny social issues. Unflinching and political, Watchmen continues Alan Moore’s subversive legacy rather than delivering empty nostalgia. Embrace the discomfort Watchmen evokes and experience this visionary expansion of the iconic graphic novel. And be sure to watch Watchmen online to fully appreciate its artistry.