It’s one of the most highly-anticipated shows of the year. Here’s everything you need to know – from the original story to where to watch.
Whether you count yourself a comic fan or not, by now, you’ve probably heard of Watchmen: HBO’s addictively dark new superhero series.
Created by Damon Lindelof, the new show is less of an adaption of the legendary comic by the same name, and more a kind of sequel, set in the same universe with some of the same characters but in 2019. Indeed, it is being billed as a “remix” of old and new.
Though, if you’ve never read the original comic, you might find yourself a bit baffled as the new show presumes at least some basic knowledge of the original series, deemed one of the best comics of all time, which has been collated into a 400-page novel format and a movie.
What is the original Watchmen about?
Let’s start with the basics: set in an alternate-universe in 1985, Richard Nixon never resigned and went on to serve as president for another two terms, during which the US won the Vietnam War and turned the country into the 51st state of the union.
Doctor Manhattan, a regular guy turned blue-skinned superhero (after a freak accident) pledges his powers to the US, helping it to become an even bigger superpower.
The US and the Soviet Union are on the fringe of global nuclear war, when Doctor Manhattan deserts Earth for a life on Mars, leaving the US exposed to the very real risk of a nuclear attack. Then Doctor Manhattan is framed for an attack on New York city killing millions of civilians, which appears to have been (but was not actually) caused by an alien attack. This threat alone unites the US and Soviet Union against a greater common enemy.
In fact, we later find out the attack was orchestrated by Adrian Veidt, who feared the conflict between the two superpowers would ultimately lead to global destruction so hoped the “alien attack” would put an end to these tensions - which it did.
What is HBO’s Watchmen about?
The new show picks up in the same alternate universe, only in 2019, in Tulsa, Oklohoma, nearly a century after the real-life racially motivated massacre of 1921, and where race relations remain strained.
Police wear yellow masks in fear of being attacked by masked outlawed white-power vigilantes, who call themselves the Seventh Kavalry, and who became outlawed due to their violent methods.
It’s a weird time: one with flying cars and people living on Mars, but smartphones aren’t invented.
We follow detective Angela Abar, played by Regina King, a mother-of-three who runs a bakery by day and acts as a black-clad vigilante-style detective at night.
Who is the cast of Watchmen?
King is joined by co-star Tim Blake Nelson as her detective partner, Looking Glass.
Other cast members include Don Johnson (Miami Vice, Django Unchained) as Chie Judd Crawford and Yaha Abdul-Mateen II (Black Mirror) as Angela’s husband Cal.
How can I watch Watchmen?
The show’s pilot aired last night at 2am BST (the same time as the US) but will be repeated on Monday night at 9pm on Sky Atlantic, as will be the case with all instalments going forward.
Alternatively, you can watch it on Sky’s on demand streaming service or via NOW TV.