Back in the 1990s and mid-2000s, Watchmen was stuck in development hell. Director Terry Gilliam made many attempts to get his take off the ground but just couldn’t make it work, eventually trying to pitch his project as a five episode miniseries. At the time, the TV production landscape was drastically different and, understandably, no studio was willing to risk a big budget superhero miniseries full of expensive special effects. Then Zack Snyder came along and the rest is history.
Snyder’s take on Watchmen just didn’t seem to understand what Alan Moore was trying to say in his comic, though. Instead, it inserted distractingly gory action and one of the most ludicrous sex scenes ever committed to celluloid. I’ll give it some kudos, though, Jackie Earle Haley was an excellent Rorschach and the Koyaanisqatsi soundtracked Dr. Manhattan origin scene was brilliant.
But now, against the odds, HBO is to realize Terry Gilliam’s dream and do a proper ten episode miniseries of Watchmen. And, in an interview with Screen Rant, co-creator Dave Gibbons explains that it could be the best adaptation of the series yet:
“I think whenever Alan and I in the past had talked about movies and TV, in a way the TV form with an episodic story, which Watchmen very much was. It was a graphic novel. It was a monthly story. I think that works very well.”
He continued on to say that him and Moore always thought the property would work better on television than on film.
“I’ll tell you something interesting and even Zack Snyder didn’t notice until right at the end of us doing publicity and everything for it, when we were first commissioned to do the comic book series, we thought, Alan thought that it was going to be a six issue series and then they said to him, “No. It’s got to be 12 issues.” And he was like, “Oh, shit.”
So he had to come up with another six issues worth of material, which is why it’s got the shape that it has which, if you look at it, it’s got an issue of action, an issue of character, an issue of action, and that is really what gives it its character. That its done like that and that we did have space to stretch and obviously something like a TV species would give you space to expand and explore that you haven’t got with a movie, so we always thought it would work better as a TV series than a movie.”
All I hope is that I finally get to see a gigantic psychic squid realized using the finest CGI processing computers money can buy. And HBO, if you’re listening, you’d better not cut Tales of the Black Freighter!
We don’t know when the network’s take on the classic comic will air, but it sounds as if it’s well into pre-production. At the very least, this new updates gives Watchmen fans something positive to cling onto – which is sorely needed given the comprehensive humiliation that DC are inflicting on the property in their lame attempts to crowbar it into the DCU comics.