Creator - Damon Lindelof
Cast - Regina King, Time Blake Nelson, Jeremy Irons, Jean Smart
Watching superhero and comic-based shows and films is often a delight. This is because they portray heroes with pure hearts in a world where they are accepted by the people for their good work irrespective of their hidden identities. They instill hope and show ordinary people in the film or show being inspired to do good, with or without superpowers. While happy stories revolving superheroes are more common, people often connect more strongly towards the ones that point out that the existence of superheroes would not be as amusing or entertaining as people often make it out to be.
In this case, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ have always been remembered for their work on 1987’s Watchmen. The comic set up a reality of their own which suggested and pointed out that the concept of superheroes would be received very differently in reality rather than how it is shown in other comics and on-screen.
Damon Lindelof has succeeded in recreating that world on the screen in the Watchmen series. While the series is not a direct sequel of the comic, it is not based on the main characters from the source material either. Nevertheless, it captures and continues to narrate the story of a world which was created by Alan Moore. The series continues to follow the dark tone set by the comic and showcases how that reality is in today’s day and age.
The series is set in the city of Oklahoma almost three decades after the unleashing of Adrian Veidt’s monster. While people who had been present in New York during the incident are still reeling from it, the rest of the world is not free from its own outbreaks of chaos and riots.
A vicious attack by a group called “The Seventh Cavalry” on all the police officers throughout the city leads to a rule that obligates them to wear masks. Like vigilantes, the police force is obligated to hide their professions and pretend to be employed in ordinary office jobs for the people to assume. The Seventh Cavalry is not very different as they wear masks inspired by Rorschach’s design while hiding their identities and professions as well. Lindelof cleverly throws shade here as to how groups and movements formed in the name of good often take a dark and twisted turn by misinterpreting their idols.
At the center of the attacks on police officers is Detective Abar aka Sister Night (Regina King). Despite all the chaos surrounding her, Abar has made a life for herself with a happy marriage and family. After a video from The Seventh Cavalry warning of an oncoming attack, things begin to get more chaotic and violence begins to rise. Sister Night finds herself locked in the middle of it all realizing that there is very little about her own life and family that she actually knows.
While the original characters are barely addressed, some do make an appearance. Jean Smart portrays Laurie Blake, an FBI agent who tracks and hunts down masked vigilantes. She is assigned to help the Oklahoma police force deal with the Seventh Cavalry. Jeremy Irons plays an impressive Adrian Veidt who lives a seemingly perfect life. Despite enjoying a lavish lifestyle, Veidt comes across as someone who definitely has much more planned than he lets on.
The series particularly focusses on how racial discrimination while not being a major threat continues to exist in the minds of many. Its take on violence and unrest between the people over their sense of ownership is something that does not fall far from reality. It also points out how violent and aggressive racial disharmony in the past has been. Despite the mellowed racism, Watchmen observes that the present is far from perfect. The show also addresses how the side of the law is often not considered and how difficult things get for them as well. It outlines the struggles of a police force struggling to maintain law and order where a majority of the public stands against law.
The cast of the series does an impressive job of playing their roles without any visible efforts. Regina King and Tim Nelson deserve a special shoutout for sinking into their characters perfectly. The two artists play their roles to the fullest, tugging at the right emotions at the right time. The series’ soundtrack composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is another bonus. The slow and eerie music only adds to the existing air of mystery and apprehension on the streets of Oklahoma.
Damon Lindelof who had rightfully stated he would do his best to not defile Alan Moore’s work has stayed true to his word. His narrative and vision do not defy or amplify the theme of the Watchmen universe than needed. He explores the foretold history of the Watchmen universe without overstepping or coming into conflict with either of the two Watchmen comic series. He cleverly uses incidents throughout the show to throw shade towards the fact that the reality we live in is barely any different from that of the series. Lindelof appears to have a long plan existing in place for this series and his narrative only adds more excitement and anticipation for seeing what the creator has planned next.Watchmen will premiere on Indian television on November 24 on Star World at 10pm.
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