Any show that risks the crazy combo of Don Johnson and Jeremy Irons would routinely get a nod from us. However, Watchmen is also a bold dystopian drama that captures some of the race anxiety ripping across the US and elsewhere. And now it’s been garlanded with a pack-leading 26 nominations for this year’s Emmy Awards. Deservedly so, we reckon.
Set in an alternative US where white supremacists run rampant, Watchmen begins with the Klu Klux Klan attacking ‘Black Wall Street’ in 1921, and then swiftly brings us back to the present day. James Poniewozik in The New York Times says the high-impact first episode makes way for “first-class entertainment out of the box, immediately creating a sad and wondrous retro-futuristic world.” In his eyes, it ticks all the boxes: “thrilling? Abundantly. Funny? Riotously. Inventive and surprising? Like a magician with a thousand hats and rabbits.” A fairly solid review, then!
He also applauds the performance of Angela Abar, who plays a Tulsa policewoman. Rolling Stone’s Alan Sepinwall says that “Not all of it works, but it’s a fascinating — and frequently thrilling — attempt to rebottle some of the same lightning that Moore and Gibbons [creators of the original comic book series] unleashed back in the Eighties.” In The Guardian, Lucy Mangan praises the show’s handling of complex themes, calling it “a bravura series that interrogates power, storytelling and the former embedded in the latter.” She thinks that whilst superfans may grumble at the show’s straying from the original story, “it honours their underlying ambition: to deconstruct our legends and our myths, ask where they come from, what purpose they serve; and to make us think and think again about who tells us what, why – and why they are the ones who get to do so.”
Strangely Watchmen never got the nod for a second season, but maybe this Emmy recognition of a powerful, unsettling and timely series will lead to more episodes.
First shown October 2019. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image, or by clicking here: