HBO will be streaming its 2019 adaptation of Watchmen on its website soon. The series, which is widely regarded as one of the best as well as most underrated shows of the previous year, will be viewable on the streamer’s site for free from June 19th till June 21st.
Originally created as a comic book series by renowned writer Alan Moore, Watchmen is a complicated but poignant satire of the superhero genre. First adapted by Justice League director Zack Snyder back in 2009, its story centers on a small number of heroes, each of whom is a deconstruction of other, well-known DC and Marvel members.
The fan-favorite character of Rorschach, for instance, is a commentary on the character of Batman. After suffering severe trauma during his youth, he developed not only a violent, uncompromising hatred against criminality, but also a dissociative disorder with the vigilante identity he invented to fight said criminality.
Another memorable part of the cast – and the only one to receive a prominent role in HBO’s own adaptation – is Dr. Manhattan. A foil for Superman, he was originally a scientist who, following a technical hiccup, becomes imbued with God-like powers. Like Superman, he can fly and lift buildings. Unlike the Man of Steel, though, he can also see the future and alter matter with the sheer force of his mind.
Much of the original Watchmen story revolves around Dr. Manhattan’s character, and the ramifications his existence has on the course of history. For their own adaptation, however, HBO decided to go a different route. Well, different would be putting it mildly. The producer essentially took some themes from the story we all know and applied it to the racial tensions we’re currently seeing unfold in America.
Because race plays such an important part in the new Watchmen – and because the show has a black female lead – HBO decided to stream it for free in order to show its solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. In the words of the streamer’s own spokesperson, it’s being made available in an effort to highlight “black experiences, voices and storytellers.”