The Watchmen you started watching is not the Watchmen you’re finishing, and it’s so effortlessly, seamlessly done you barely even notice
Watchmen, Damon Lindelof’s continuation of the seminal comic book series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, is an engrossing watch. Its quality is certainly felt throughout the nine-episode run, particularly through exceptional episodes such as This Extraordinary Being. This instalment – sixth in the series – is a breathless, masterful exploration of race, justice, homosexuality, masculinity and fatherhood, and some of the best TV of the decade, let alone the year.
The show also features powerful performances from Regina King, Jeremy Irons and Tim Blake Nelson, who at times not so much chew the scenery as drown it in their characters’ sorrow and burn it in their rage. While the show's quality is felt throughout, it's only truly savoured at the end, because it is then when you realise how fully you've been sucked into its world.
The Watchmen you start is about cops and criminals in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It’s about law and order in the age after superheroes, race relations in the age of a resurgent white supremacy movement. It’s a show with exceptional world-building: the yellow police masks, the tick-tock of the clock, the surprise murder whodunnit, the quotidian alien squid rain. As the show progresses, these elements are revealed to be intricate parts of something much bigger.
The Watchmen you finish is less about the tick-tock of the clock and more about how you experience it. It's about the liars and the deceived; the lies people tell others and the lies they tell themselves. It’s about law and disorder; conspiracies and control; the absent blue God and the people he abandoned.
The Watchmen you started watching is not the Watchmen you’re finishing, and it’s so effortlessly, seamlessly done you barely even notice.