Who watches the Watchmen? Us, apparently, on HBO. The network has formally ordered a pilot for a Watchmen series, as well as backup scripts for the project.
Watchmen is the legendary 1986 graphic novel created by writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons for DC Comics. The story takes place in a post-superhero version of the 80s, where superheros emerged in the 1940s and 1950s and were eventually outlawed unless they chose to sign up for official government work.
The story follows a small group of retired superheroes (and a still-active vigilante) as they investigate the murder of a former comrade/colleague.
Director Zack Snyder filmed a version of it in 2009 – he’s not involved with this one. Instead, Damon Lindelof, of Lost and The Leftovers, will be helming the series.
Watchmen was long considered unfilmable because of depth with which it explores some of the questions of superheroism and pokes fun at superhero comics. The graphic novel is a pretty thick one, and stuffing it all into a movie seemed impossible. Indeed, Snyder’s take on the property did as well as it could in a couple hours but left a lot of crucial stuff on the cutting room floor.
But maybe a television show is big enough to dig into the material. And HBO certainly seems like the network to do it. Everyone is getting into the game of adapting long-loved comic and comic-adjacent properties these days, from The CW’s lineup to Marvel’s Netflix shows (or is it Netflix’s Marvel shows?) and even stuff like Neil Gaiman’s American Gods on Starz.
Production is just getting started, as this Instagram post from Lindelof shows – that’s a statue of the Watchmen character Nite Owl.
Little else is known about the show. Who will be cast, when it will be on, that’s all up in the air. But after what HBO has been managing with shows like Game of Thrones and Westworld, this is something to look forward to.