Watchmen

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Mr. Reindeer
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Watchmen

Postby Mr. Reindeer » Tue Nov 05, 2019 2:13 pm

Anybody watching the HBO show? As a longtime fan of the comic (and of Damon Lindelof’s TV work), I’m really enjoying it. The Jeremy Irons stuff is clearly influenced by Audrey Horne on TP:TR (not tonally, but in terms of the disorientation re: time/place/context). Irons is having the time of his damn life chewing the scenery.
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mtwentz
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Re: Watchmen

Postby mtwentz » Tue Nov 05, 2019 7:24 pm

Mr. Reindeer wrote:Anybody watching the HBO show? As a longtime fan of the comic (and of Damon Lindelof’s TV work), I’m really enjoying it. The Jeremy Irons stuff is clearly influenced by Audrey Horne on TP:TR (not tonally, but in terms of the disorientation re: time/place/context). Irons is having the time of his damn life chewing the scenery.


No, not watching it, at least not yet. Like Martin Scorsese, I am completely disillusioned with the superhero genre. Is there anything that makes this one worth watching? If I hate every superhero except the original Superman and maybe the Dark Night, might this appeal to me?
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Re: Watchmen

Postby Mr. Reindeer » Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:48 pm

mtwentz wrote:
Mr. Reindeer wrote:Anybody watching the HBO show? As a longtime fan of the comic (and of Damon Lindelof’s TV work), I’m really enjoying it. The Jeremy Irons stuff is clearly influenced by Audrey Horne on TP:TR (not tonally, but in terms of the disorientation re: time/place/context). Irons is having the time of his damn life chewing the scenery.


No, not watching it, at least not yet. Like Martin Scorsese, I am completely disillusioned with the superhero genre. Is there anything that makes this one worth watching? If I hate every superhero except the original Superman and maybe the Dark Night, might this appeal to me?


Interesting question, and probably way too complex to answer meaningfully. I’m guessing from your reply that you have not read the initial comic, which was written by Alan Moore in the 1980s as he himself became increasingly disillusioned with the superhero genre (he continued to work in comics until retiring a few months ago, writing many seminal works and maintaining a reputation as possibly the greatest living writer in the medium, but he rarely touched on the traditional superhero genre after Watchmen, considering it his final statement on the subject). The comic Watchmen is a very deliberate deconstruction of the genre, critiquing the archetypes and their impact on pop culture, as well as addressing many other social themes of the 1930s-1980s. The TV series, meanwhile, thus far has very little to do with superheroes in the traditional sense. It does take place in the same world as the comic, 34 years later, and is concerned with masked folks of a different sort: due to events directly tied to the comic, there was a coordinated attack on Tulsa police three years ago, which leads the police to wear masks and costumes to conceal their identities and avoid further reprisal. The show is concerned with very different thematic issues from the comic, namely race and policing, but the main common themes between the two works are the ideas of what it means to conceal one’s identity, and the dirty side of the American experience.

All of this before I even mention that Mr. Moore feels DC Comics stole the Watchmen property from him and has vehemently opposed all adaptations/sequels, so the very fact that the show exists is on morally dubious terrain, which creator/show runner/Moore superfan Damon Lindelof has publicly struggled with (he turned HBO down twice before they approached him a third time and he felt his idea was strong enough that he felt compelled to do it).

So, there’s a lot of baggage to the property that you would be free of. Long story short: From the three episodes I’ve seen, it is VERY far from the typical Marvel superhero movie. The heroes ain’t necessarily heroes, and everyone is on morally dubious terrain (the parallels between masked vigilantes and the KKK promise to be a big part of the conversation). But given how different your experience of the property would inherently be from mine, I can’t begin to anticipate how you’d feel about it.
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Re: Watchmen

Postby ManBehindWinkies » Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:47 pm

mtwentz wrote:
Mr. Reindeer wrote:Anybody watching the HBO show? As a longtime fan of the comic (and of Damon Lindelof’s TV work), I’m really enjoying it. The Jeremy Irons stuff is clearly influenced by Audrey Horne on TP:TR (not tonally, but in terms of the disorientation re: time/place/context). Irons is having the time of his damn life chewing the scenery.


No, not watching it, at least not yet. Like Martin Scorsese, I am completely disillusioned with the superhero genre. Is there anything that makes this one worth watching? If I hate every superhero except the original Superman and maybe the Dark Night, might this appeal to me?


Mr. Reindeer gave a pretty thorough breakdown of the graphic novel and its relationship to the series. The two films you mentioned are relatively straightforward superhero movies. This one is definitely not, so it's hard to say if that would mean you'd be more likely to like it. So far through three episodes it's been very well made and written, and it's got a great score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. And though it takes place in an alternate universe with masked superheroes, it opens with a woefully little known historical event from our world, tethering it to our reality and the themes from our real world it is exploring.

Stylistically it doesn't feel like it's in the superhero genre outside of a few scenes, and some of those scenes poke fun and superhero action more than it takes it seriously. If you've seen Zach Snyder's adaptation, it mimicked the visuals from the comic but wanted to take the superhero action very seriously, and it probably missed the complex transgressive qualities of the graphic novel as a result. It seems this show isn't going to make that mistake.
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Re: Watchmen

Postby mtwentz » Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:42 am

Actually, you guys have peaked my interest. It sounds different, much different, than just another guys and girls in tights saving the world.

Now I have to figure out how to get HBO without paying...
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Re: Watchmen

Postby mtwentz » Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:21 pm

Mr. Reindeer wrote:Anybody watching the HBO show? As a longtime fan of the comic (and of Damon Lindelof’s TV work), I’m really enjoying it. The Jeremy Irons stuff is clearly influenced by Audrey Horne on TP:TR (not tonally, but in terms of the disorientation re: time/place/context). Irons is having the time of his damn life chewing the scenery.


A co-worker of mine was raving about this show today. So I guess I must now check it out. Got $15 for my HBO subscription :-)?
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Re: Watchmen

Postby Mr. Reindeer » Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:23 pm

mtwentz wrote:
Mr. Reindeer wrote:Anybody watching the HBO show? As a longtime fan of the comic (and of Damon Lindelof’s TV work), I’m really enjoying it. The Jeremy Irons stuff is clearly influenced by Audrey Horne on TP:TR (not tonally, but in terms of the disorientation re: time/place/context). Irons is having the time of his damn life chewing the scenery.


A co-worker of mine was raving about this show today. So I guess I must now check it out. Got $15 for my HBO subscription :-)?


Haha, HBO isn’t a bad value, considering that you get the full runs of all their old shows (The Sopranos, The Wire, Curb Your Enthusiasm, etc. etc.), so if you haven’t seen those shows or want to revisit them, you’re getting a lot of content for your buck.
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Re: Watchmen

Postby Mr. Reindeer » Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:53 pm

So, HBO has also been publishing supplementary text materials on their website to flesh out the world. I’ve mostly found these a little corny and largely redundant (while still enjoying the show itself immensely—tonight’s episode was incredible). One of the new PDFs put up tonight is nothing particularly special....except that it reveals that Axxon N. (from INLAND EMPIRE) is a series in the Watchmen universe!
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Re: Watchmen

Postby ManBehindWinkies » Tue Nov 26, 2019 11:05 pm

The origin story for HBO's "Hooded Justice" may be the most fascinating super hero origin story ever conceived. In and of itself, that may not be saying a whole lot. I don't know that that most super hero origin stories even want to be fascinating, they just need to explain the hero's powers. And sure, give motivation. The original Watchmen text was particularly uninterested in origin stories, favoring comically mundane stuff like the bank sponsored hero "Dollar Bill" or the standard pseudo-scientific origins of Dr. Manhattan. But most super hero origin stories are pretty paint by numbers stuff. Give a hero some kind of super-power, or super-wealth, give him some tragedy to motivate him and viola, you got your hero-man.

Of course I'm talking about HBO's Hooded Justice, and not necessarily Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, who didn't give an origin story or identity to Hooded Justice. This makes it doubly fascinating to me, as Lindelof and his writers took an existing concept that had been around for 30+ years, taking details like the hood and the noose and fashioned an origin story that is viscerally harrowing to the point that these details make complete sense and you can't really imagine it any other way.

And it's layered beyond that.
Spoiler:
Having Hooded Justice be a black man who narrowly escaped a lynching, plus the caveat that in this universe, Hooded Justice was the one who started the entire trend of masked vigilantes, is just loaded with socio-political meaning. Moore himself may have envisioned Hooded Justice as more of a Klan inspired right winger, and there's a lot to dig into with the the Klan being one of the only real world examples of people wearing masks (Moore himself noted Birth of a Nation could be seen as the first super hero film).


I imagine one could write a fairly lengthy essay and all the nuances of this origin story... I can't imagine any other super hero origin story could inspire the same.
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Re: Watchmen

Postby Mr. Reindeer » Wed Nov 27, 2019 7:45 am

Agreed, the recontextualization of Hooded Justice’s origin, and the sociological implications, is so cool and imaginative, and yet completely intuitive. It not only feels like it’s playing fair with the original text, it actually feels like it could have always been Moore’s intention (even though I’m certain it wasn’t). Also one of the most beautifully shot and edited episodes of television I’ve seen in a long time.
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Re: Watchmen

Postby ManBehindWinkies » Thu Nov 28, 2019 4:56 pm

I think it could be up there with Part 8 of Twin Peaks honestly. There are some things that were reminiscent. The use of black and white to go to the past, it standing apart from the rest of the episodes of the series in structure and tone, experimental/trippy visuals and tone, etc. There was even a bit of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross score, a drone during an intense scene, that was almost identical to the drone when it cut away from The NIN performance to Bad Coop rising from the dead.

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