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Which watch watched which Watchmen?

Paul le Fou

AAAAAAAA
(He)
I just started the TV series the other night, and got two episodes in. I'd been meaning to watch it since it came out, but I finally pulled it up and I'm wondering why I slept on it so long. Remains to be seen how things pan out, but so far I'm really intrigued. On the one hand, I keep looking for parallels to the original comic, but also keep trying to pull myself back and let it do its thing as a new work. I have theories about Horse-Riding Man - one quickly formed, one that may have replaced it in episode 2 - and one about Wheelchair Man.

It strikes me as a very politically odd show so far. I'm definitely having a kneejerk reaction against the whole angle it appears to take so far where Police are innocent victims that need to be protected and are put upon by unfair regulations, but it also wears very strong racial politics on its sleeve, and the original comic was a critique of vigilantism and fascism, so I'm withholding judgment until I see how more of it plays out.

All the mask imagery is coming across very differently in the age of COVID though, I can tell you that.
 

Dracula

Posts: 52,928
(He/His)
The moment where someone says the line "Masks save lives" made us just about fall out of our seats.

But stick with it. I think you'll like where it goes. This was one of my favorite TV shows I've seen in years, and I'm generally really down on stuff that tries to piggyback off of Watchmen.
 
It strikes me as a very politically odd show so far. I'm definitely having a kneejerk reaction against the whole angle it appears to take so far where Police are innocent victims that need to be protected and are put upon by unfair regulations, but it also wears very strong racial politics on its sleeve, and the original comic was a critique of vigilantism and fascism, so I'm withholding judgment until I see how more of it plays out.
Without spoiling anything, just keep watching as you are and keep being critical. Watchmen's politics are both very poignant and extremely relative to what's going on in America right now, and not everything is at it seems right now only two episodes deep.
 

Lakupo

Comes and goes with the wind
(he/him)
Just joining the chorus saying to keep going. The series is telling a complete story, and it nails it.

We watched it in June, because I heard it was "topical", and pretty quickly I was like "holy crap this is way beyond just 'topical'"...
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
I have a hard time wrapping my head around Lindelof doing good writing after watching any movie he's credited as screenwriter on.
 
I have a hard time wrapping my head around Lindelof doing good writing after watching any movie he's credited as screenwriter on.
Yeah, it's weird. But it makes sense. It's not like he wrote Watchmen by himself. From what I've seen, it looks like he employed a big writer's room full of diverse voices, and empowered them to write the show while being more of an editor/guide-person than a writer for the show.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
i was pretty darn cynical about this show but man did it win me over. It’s one of the most compelling bits of speculative fiction and alternate history I’ve come across. Turning masked vigilantes into just straight-up cops seems like such an obvious idea in retrospect. It also does a great job of slowly leaning into its comic bookness and pulling you in with it.

By chance, I was listening to the podcast Behind the Bastard’s mini series about the history of cops in the US while watching this show, and they make great accidental companion pieces. It’s pretty chilling how actual masked vigilante justice in this country has been the domain of the Klan.
 

Paul le Fou

AAAAAAAA
(He)
And finished! Yep, I'd say that was Pretty Good. Don't worry, I was at no risk of not sticking with it - I pretty much needed to know what happened by the end of episode 1. Overall, it really did feel very Watchmen. Feels like there are a lot of little references and things worth diving into. Overall the characters felt like Watchmen characters without feeling like just a retread - Looking Glass in particular, despite definitely being a Rorshach-esque figure, felt like a perfectly natural fit in the universe. Also, Jeremy Irons is just a slightly less goofy Christopher Lloyd (in face and voice alike) and I cannot be convinced otherwise.

I called who Will was in episode 2, and the way they folded it into everything made it seem hard to believe that Hooded Justice being black wasn't part of the character from the very beginning, though I know the comic didn't actually seem to leave it as an open question. I do wonder though about the effect of having almost all of that flashback in b&w so we never actually saw Will as HJ in red and purple - I think it would have been kinda hard to sell?

All the Dr. Manhattan stuff was really cool to watch and follow unfold all of a sudden. Like, the whole season was ultimately centered on him, but he didn't even show up until, what, the last episode (well, the second-last episode in flashback). But of course it was unfolding all along. The whole "killing him" thing was...not sure how I feel about it, because his getting zapped by the cannon would have been extremely easy to avoid, so it felt a little forced. Of course, there was the egg and all, so he may have planned it all along? And he can be in multiple places at once, and it seems like he could have done more outside the cage if he was able to transport them to Karnak through the senator slurry, and, and, and... Anyway. It raises questions.

Didn't realize this until after it ended, but Lady Trieu followed in her father's suit, taking on the name of a semi-mythical historical figure. And was also a semi-benevolent-seeming figure that ended up ultimately being the villain, too. Also, the statue reveal was just a great moment.
 
All the Dr. Manhattan stuff was really cool to watch and follow unfold all of a sudden. Like, the whole season was ultimately centered on him, but he didn't even show up until, what, the last episode (well, the second-last episode in flashback). But of course it was unfolding all along. The whole "killing him" thing was...not sure how I feel about it, because his getting zapped by the cannon would have been extremely easy to avoid, so it felt a little forced. Of course, there was the egg and all, so he may have planned it all along? And he can be in multiple places at once, and it seems like he could have done more outside the cage if he was able to transport them to Karnak through the senator slurry, and, and, and... Anyway. It raises questions.
I really liked this too, but I didn't have as hard of a time reconciling it. In fact, it made perfect sense to me.
Dr Manhattan's whole shtick is about him being detached from reality to the point where he sees himself as a passive entity observing the universe with no agency despite his unlimited power and still having free will. And the way he went out seemed perfectly in line with that. Where he sees his destiny as something immutable so he just... lets it happen. I really like the way Will Reeves eulogizes him at the end. As a good man, but considering what he could do, that he really ought to have done more. It's a kind of fascinating problem that both humanizes and condemns him as a 'hero' - he could have done all of the things that Trudeau said she wanted to do, but didn't.

Meanwhile, it's kind of a fascinating look at what it would mean to be a god too. Because he creates a paradise with an Adam and an Eve, and it's absolutely perfect, and he doesn't leave them with a fruit of knowledge either. And he eventually just leaves because it's... boring. It lacks spirit and soul, and the whole venture just feels artificial and wrong. And I think that says a lot of interesting things about god.

I think my biggest complaint about the show, is how it handled the Vietnam stuff.
The fact that the US fully colonized Vietnam in the Watchmen universe is just a disposable line in the original comic, but the ramifications here in this sequel-ish show are better explored, but not fully realized. They're still an after thought and not a primary focus. They're like the Soviet Union to the original comic - something that intellectually we know exists and informs a lot of the plot, but is a place that for all intents and purposes is not properly recognized in the story as an actual place full of actual people. When we see Vietnamese in the show, they're: Terrorists, tyranical police, nasty sweatshop foreman, and megalomaniacal villains. There is barely an acknowledgement of the plight of the Vietnamese, in almost the same ways that the show highlights how Blackness is scrubbed from history. It's kinda made even worse when if you read the Peteypedia stuff, it's another disposable line how America has now colonized not just Vietnam, but pretty much the entirety of South East Asia/Oceania. It's just kinda frustrating because they came so close to doing a decent job and then just dropped the ball. And it's disappointing to see that and know even in something as good as Watchmen, that we Asians just don't fit into everybody else's neat little binary view of race in this society. That we're unseen except for all the ugly parts, and we are easily brushed aside when the convenience of others can be served. We are invisible. If you just think and extrapolate for a few seconds, you realize that in the world of Watchmen, a full 1/4th of the population of the US would be Vietnamese. America would have as many Asians as we have Black and Hispanic people combined, and we'd be really close to being a minority-majority country as a result. And yet, Asians are invisible in the show, you see them nowhere and they comprise no major characters aside from the villain. It's regrettable and shortsighted.
 

John

(he/him)
Rolling Stone just dropped a video interview with Lindelof, Reznor, and Ross, talking about the soundtrack. Even if you don't care about the soundtrack or the individuals, you should skip ahead to 24:00 in the video, and watch from there. It's a nice coda to the Peteypedia entries and the additional "lore" in the vinyl record inserts.

 
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