24 December 2019

The Watchmen HBO series is excellent

I wanted to mention this before being completely overwhelmed by the holidays and then forgetting to do so in the new year: HBO’s recent series The Watchmen is excellent and well worth your time.

As I’ve mentioned before here, the original Watchmen is my favourite ‘superhero’ comic series of all time. But I was quite sceptical when HBO announced that it would be producing a series set in the same universe (to take place 34 years after the original story). Unsurprisingly, Alan Moore refused to be associated with it (although Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons was heavily involved). And the promotions for it that I watched over the summer were not terribly inspiring.

I am pleased to report that my misgivings were entirely misplaced. Not only is The Watchmen the best superhero television series that I’ve ever watched, it’s one of the best television series I’ve ever watched simpliciter. Every episode is superb—with episodes 3 (“She Was Killed by Space Junk”), 5 (“Little Fear of Lightning”), 6 (“The Extraordinary Being”) and 8 (“A God Walks into Abar”)—worthy of special mention in terms of innovation and vision.

The whole series ties together extremely well. The ending is refreshingly satisfying: it resolves the main storylines while leaving enough open to permit a second series. Thankfully, the ‘twists’—of which there are many—all make sense. The overall story and Watchmen universe is highly coherent and compelling. And the soundtrack (by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross) is magnificent.

Apparently, there may not be a second season. As a successful self-contained story, though, The Watchmen doesn’t need one. But I hope that the story continues nonetheless: I want to know the fate of poor Nite Owl!


  1. It's brilliant. Like you, the trailer filled me with apprehension, but from the first episode, I was gripped. It was complex, compelling TV, and on a par with Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, Fargo, and Better Call Saul. A very difficult thing for a genre show to pull-off.

    I do hope there's a second series; maintaining quality standards is quite possible with the right team and the right approach.

  2. They used Spooky Tooth's version of the Beatles number 'I Am the Walrus'. John Lennon said that was the best version of it.

  3. On a related topic. The Watchmen Companion just came out, which reprints all those old Watchmen supplements for the DC Heroes RPG from the 80s. I have most of them but I still couldn't pass this up--it's a beautiful reprint. Moore actually oversaw a lot of the development, and so it's considered a semi-canon expansion of the Watchmen universe. If you haven't yet, check it out!


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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who lives primarily in Toronto but teaches in Milwaukee (sometimes in person, sometimes online).