Kevin Smith is not a particularly difficult man to please. Displaying an admirable positivity that some people online could do with emulating, the writer/director regularly fawns over anything about superheroes or major sci-fi franchises. But 2019 was a bumper year for him.
Not only did he get Avengers: Endgame (“beyond epic! It’s everything you hope it will be and more – an absolute Marvel!”) and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (“EPIC ending to the Saga, in which J.J. gives us a satisfying and gratifying finale!”), but he also didn’t die of heart failure, which has got to be a big plus point. There’s something beyond even Marvel and Star Wars that really tickled his fancy, though: HBO’s Watchmen.
Smith recently broke down his reasons why Watchmen was the best thing about 2019 on his Fatman Beyond show, saying;
“It was a dream come true. It was everything that we talked about as kids, going ‘imagine if somebody took this shit seriously.’ But Damon Lindelof, rather than saying ‘I’m going to give you the Watchmen that you know,’ he’s like ‘I’m going to show you the Watchmen that I was inspired by, and to me it fucking fits. I can’t speak for Alan Moore, but how could not not love what it became man?
It was insanely fu*king groundbreaking, it captured my imagination, it felt like Watchmen without being Watchmen. They didn’t overdo fan service but there was so much of it that you could see it was made with loving fucking hands. Every episode was thrilling to me. … Watchmen was my favorite fucking thing this year and that include my own movie.”
And you know what? He’s absolutely right. Damon Lindelof really nailed it with Watchmen. Though initially a bit confusing, by the midway point you realized that Lindelof implicitly understood Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ seminal story in a way that few others have. But whereas Moore and Gibbons wrote it in reaction to the mid-80s political climate, Lindelof updated it for modern concerns while remaining true to the characters within.
In an era when things that are regarded as ‘classics’ can end up simply fetishized – for example, the way Disney’s Star Wars Sequel Trilogy regards the Original Trilogy – it was fun to see someone playfully subverting audience expectations and going against the grain. I’m definitely with Kevin Smith on calling Watchmen groundbreaking TV and here’s hoping that it gets a second season – not that it needs one to be considered a finished work, mind you.