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TV ReviewsWatchmen Season One Review

Critics w/o CredentialsDecember 23, 2019100/100
Creator
Damon Lindelof
Rating
TV-MA
Episodes
9
Running Time
529 minutes
Channel
HBO, HBO Canada
Overall Score
Rating Summary
The first season of Watchmen delivers on an incredibly fresh and new story that is supported by a foundation of folklore and previous events that help shape the decisions that the characters make but never overpower them.

Several things need to occur in order for a show to be fully engrossing – narratively powerful storylines, character-driven plots that force emotional attachment, and a specific amount of wonder and uncertainty. But the most important aspect that makes one truly care and invest in any series in-between when its episodes air.

HBO has achieved this with Watchmen, one of its latest offerings which centers around a world left to adapt to a revelation 30 years prior that we are not alone in this world and that the creation of a common enemy can be used to unite the entire world in hopes for a better life. This series not only takes the foundation laid by the previously written source material but it also uses it to fully realize this world, thrusting the narrative forward into a unique place of uncertainty that touches on the major themes of equality, race, justice, and truth. It succeeds in this by placing faces upon these issues by way of its central characters who each embark on personal journeys that diverge throughout most of the season before ultimately ending up in a similar place of reckoning by the time of the season’s climax.

Is it strange?

Yes.

Of course, it is. But Watchmen also is the latest example of must-watch TV that despite its supernatural nature demands to be taken seriously because of its subject matter that is highly relevant today. Beyond this, the series succeeds because it has mimicked a strategy employed by several other HBO shows in that it provides supplemental resources throughout the week from one episode to the next. Game of Thrones succeeded in this but was also the product of a larger community rallying behind its established lore. Westworld offered a website that continually updates as events occur. Chernobyl succeeded with an accompanying podcast that offered more in-depth details on the true stories that the series centered around. Finally, Watchmen continues this trend with the creation of Peteypedia, a resource file fabricated by in-show character, Agent Petey (Dustin Ingram), that features important details that help support major events that happen in each episode. It’s a resource that seems small on the surface but was integral in keeping viewers (such as myself) invested from week-to-week.

The important fact to note is that Watchmen captured audiences that were both new and familiar to its source material and take them on an adventure that raised questions throughout but provided near-perfect resolutions by the credits of the finale. This was a concern going in as the series revolved around creator Damon Lindelof who is notorious for taking audiences on amazing rides without ever allowing them to experience a satisfying return on investment. That being said, Lindelof has learned his lesson here, whether through fear or personal growth, as each moment of this season seems crafted out of love and appreciation for a series that is far more than what it appears to be on its surface.

In the end, the acting, writing, production value found within the series are superb and should catapult Watchmen into the conversation of the best series of 2019 as it will leave audiences satisfied with its current resolution while also leaving room for more to come. It was an impressive journey that entertained with every aspect of its story.


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