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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

TV Series Review

“Nothing ever ends.”

So the godlike Doctor Manhattan tells onetime superhero-turned-businessman Adrian Veidt near the end of DC’s game-changing comic series Watchmen. And it’s best not to argue with Doctor Manhattan.

It’s been more than 30 years since the events chronicled in Watchmen came to a close. The giant squid that apparently killed half of New York City is no more. Neither is the vigilante Rorschach—killed to keep a terrible secret safe.

But both, in their own way, live on.

Never Compromise

It’s 2019 now, and tiny squid still fall from the sky sometimes—a messy nuisance more than anything. Clean the little guys off your windshield and you’re good to go.

The country’s racial and societal divides aren’t nearly as easy to wash away.

With President Robert Redford now in the 27th year of his presidency, the United States has become a place ruled by the best of liberal intentions. Redford helped push through a Reparations bill meant to wipe away racial strife, but it might’ve had the opposite effect. Strict gun restrictions have made police-involved shootings much more rare … unless you’re talking about the police getting shot.

Several years ago, disenfranchised white supremacists turned the late vigilante Rorschach into their patron saint: They donned copies of his telltale mask, dubbed themselves the Seventh Kavalry and declared war on Redford’s society, particularly the police. And while they eventually lost that war, it changed law enforcement forever. Now, it’s the police who wear the masks—to protect their identities and their families from those who might mean them harm.

And in Tulsa at least, some have even become dark facsimiles of masked heroes themselves: Looking Glass wears a shiny, blank, full-face mask and questions those who come to him. Sister Night dons garb that looks part ninja, part nun.

But the Kalvary is back, too—announcing its return by gunning down a policeman in a routine traffic stop. In a video, one member says that the group aims to turn Tulsa’s streets into gutters “overflowing with liberal tears.”

And perhaps by the end, the world might long for the days of murderous giant squids.

Who Will Watch the Watchmen?

The BBC’s Nicholas Barber said that when Alan Moore’s and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen was released in 1986 and ’87, it was “the moment comic books grew up.” It took the previously sainted “superhero,” threw him into a realistic world wracked by political division and Cold War fears and made him painfully, sometimes horrifically, human.

Doctor Manhattan—the only truly superhuman in Watchmen—lost all interest in humanity and exiled himself to Mars. Nite Owl was just a pudgy, middle-age guy with a penchant for gadgets. Rorschach’s heroism went hand in hand with a disturbing cord of bigotry.

The notoriously eccentric Moore once called Watchmen “unfilmable,” an assessment that the 2009 movie based on the comic pretty much supported.

So perhaps wisely, show creator Damon Lindelof (who was also behind ABC’s Lost and HBO’s The Leftovers) didn’t even try. Rather, this is a sequel that spins the narrative forward a few decades, imagining a world spawned by the events of Moore’s work while trying to draw on today’s hot-button concerns.

It’s an interesting, thoughtful effort, one deeply concerned with the impact of racism yet still adept at critiquing progressive overreach. And as it does so, it reminds us of an all-too-frequent truth: The solution to one problem may give rise to another. In this fallen world of ours, nothing ever ends.

But as sharply conceived and written as it might be, this is Watchmen on HBO, with all the problems that that network stereotypically engenders. While nudity doesn’t seem like it’ll be as pervasive as it was in, say, Game of Thrones, Watchmen doesn’t steer away from sex, either. Language can be incredibly harsh and, of course, uncensored.

But it’s the violence that ultimately may shock the most. The world painted in Watchmen is a brutal, often gory one indeed, with neither man nor beast faring particularly well.

In the opening segments of HBO’s Watchmen, a little child escapes a race riot in Tulsa, Okla., with a note tucked in his pocket. “Watch over this boy,” it says. His parents wanted nothing more than to protect their son from the horrific violence that was bound to engulf them all if they weren’t careful.

Perhaps that scene hints at how we should approach HBO’s Watchmen, too. The show itself, after all, is a violent incursion on our peaceful evenings. But since we can easily avoid this encroachment with just the push of a button, we should consider carefully before we watch the Watchmen.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Oct. 20, 2019: "It’s Summer and We’re Running out of Ice"

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Regina King as Det. Angela Abar/Sister Night; Don Johnson as Chief Judd Crawford; Tim Blake Nelson as Wade/Looking Glass; Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Cal Abar; Andrew Howard as Red Scare; Jacob Ming-Trent as Panda; Tom Mison as Mr. Phillips; Sara Vickers as Ms. Crookshanks; Dylan Schombing as Topher Abar; Louis Gossett Jr. as Will Reeves; Jeremy Irons as Lord of a Country Manor; Jean Smart as Laurie Blake Adelaide Clemens; Hong Chau as Lady Trieu; James Wolk as Senator Joe Keene

Director

Distributor

Network

HBO

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Released

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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