Back in the 1990s and mid-2000s, Watchmen was stuck in development hell. Director Terry Gilliam made several 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 instead. Unfortunately for him, though, the television landscape was drastically different at the time and, understandably, no studio was going to risk producing a big budget superhero miniseries full of expensive special effects. Then, Zack Snyder came along and the rest is history.
The visionary director’s take on Watchmen just didn’t seem to understand what Alan Moore was trying to say in his comic, though. Instead, it gave us distractingly gory action and one of the most absurd sex scenes ever committed to celluloid. I’ll give it some kudos, though, as Jackie Earle Haley was an excellent Rorschach and the Koyaanisqatsi soundtracked Dr. Manhattan origin scene was pure brilliance.
But now, against the odds, HBO is to realize Terry Gilliam’s dream, as the network is putting together a Watchmen TV series that comes to us from Damon Lindelof and apparently, it’s going to be quite good. At least, that’s according to HBO President Casey Bloys, who threw some fuel into the hype train at this week’s TCA Press Tour by saying the following:
“I’ve read the script, it’s amazing. I’m thrilled, I imagine we’ll shoot that this year.”
To date, HBO has only committed to a pilot episode of Lindelof’s budding reboot, but considering his impressive résume (read: Lost), we wouldn’t be too surprised if (when?) the Powers That Be order his Watchmen to series. Because in a realm dominated by The CW’s Arrowverse – not to mention Marvel’s Netflix lineup – a competent, adult-oriented superhero series is long overdue. After all, Frank Castle can’t shoulder the burden on his own, even if The Punisher has been renewed for a second season.
Then again, it’s hard to forget that an animated movie might also be on the way, causing even the most devoted of fans to question whether three separate adaptations of Watchmen arriving in such a short time span are really necessary. Naturally, one would think the Before Watchmen prequel comics would be ideal source material for a television series, but the decision isn’t up to us.
Still, Bloys’ enthusiasm for the project certainly has us excited and with any luck, HBO will finally be able to give fans the adaptation they deserve.