The premier season of Watchmen concluded on HBO on Sunday to largely critical acclaim. I recently started watching the show after noticing the large social media discussion surrounding the show’s first episode. Watchmen follows detective Angela Abar, played by Regina King, as her and the police department investigate the resurgence of a white supremacy group after three years of inactivity. The idea of the police also being viewed as vigilantes because the whole force is donned in masks concealing their identity is exciting. Grappling with the idea that police hiding their identity could both protect them and their families but also allow for the dismissal of accountability is an interesting combination. What I love most about the series is how the writers balance realism with the fantasy of this futuristic society. Drawing from the true events of the Tulsa Massacre of 1921 to build its cinematic universe.
There are quite a few things I enjoyed about Watchmen. For starters, while the show references racism heavily, there has been zero use of the n word on the episodes I have seen. Regina is undeniably the star and her husband, Cal, is Black. Cal Abar is portrayed by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II of Black Mirror’s Striking Vipers and Aquaman fame. While Cal is seemingly just the supportive husband in the beginning of the season, even his character arc throughout the second act is mesmerizing. There is a truly outstanding performance by Lou Gossett Jr, which is great to see older Black actors continuing to work. Finally, while modesty is not something I usually care about, it is refreshing to see our shero in a realistic costume. Sans mini skirts, unitards, and heels. The devil has really been in the details creating this show successfully.
The strong writing and cinematography, mixed with the direct referencing to the graphic novel makes Watchmen addictive. I was very surprised to see the majority of the writers were White. I think that removed a lot of the pressure to make it overly woke. This show excels where current stories, like Queen & Slim, fall flat. Sure, white supremacy is not a new concept. However, Watchmen deviates from the reality we have already experienced and gives an element of hope. We can leave the show with optimism that maybe one day, even though racism will still exist, the way it is handled by law enforcement could change. Even if that does not happen, we still have a solid, highly entertaining show to enjoy. I am hoping HBO greenlights another season and that they build upon the strong foundation that has already been set.