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TV adaptations are always a tricky thing to tackle, and they're made all the more complicated whenever they're only adaptations in the loosest sense of the word. Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof will soon bring to HBO his remixed and revised version of the iconic comic Watchmen, which has expectedly drawn some ire from the book's curmudgeonly writer, Alan Moore. Perhaps unexpectedly, though, Lindelof smoothly retaliated with a pretty perfect (if NSFW) reply.
During the HBO panel for the Television Critics Association's supper press tour, HBO president of programming Casey Bloys updated everyone on writer Alan Moore's current mood concerning the Watchmen TV series. Moore is reportedly "not thrilled" about the idea, which is about as shocking as grass growing upward. Damon Lindelof wanted to address that issue, and did so in a way that went from complimentary to stingingly hilarious. Check it out below.
Alan Moore is a genius, [but] he’s made it very clear that he doesn’t want to have any association or affiliation with Watchmen. . . . [If he was told he couldn't do something in the past], he would say, ‘Fuck you. I’m doing it anyway… so I’m channeling the spirit of Alan Moore to tell Alan Moore, ‘Fuck you. I’m doing it anyway.’
Sounds like a response that was wholly inspired by The Comedian, doesn't it? Granted, we don't even know if the Comedian will be involved in this new Watchmen series, which at times appears to be a sequel to the events of the graphic novel, and at other times appears to be a completely different story that just happens to feature some of the same weirdo characters...and also Don Johnson, who is pumped for fans to check it out.
It's not at all clear if there could ever be an adaptation of any Alan Moore work that would earn his complete and unimpeded approval. He publicly dismissed feature takes on V for Vendetta and From Hell, among others. (The one-man jury is still out on DC Universe's Moore-esque Swamp Thing, though assumptions can be made.) The British storyteller might even get pissed when people merely pen his name in an undesirable handwriting, such is the artist's temperament.
Even so, one could easily picture Alan Moore being as particularly prickly as ever about Damon Lindelof's Watchmen, since the TV series' creative team expanded their scope and intentionally reconstructed the graphic novel as not to deliver a sterile reiteration of either the source material or Zack Snyder's mostly faithful 2009 big screen feature. (Which Moore was also actively meh about.) Though perhaps the key to getting Moore interested is to create only vaguely connected adaptations.
For what it's worth, Damon Lindelof isn't going into Watchmen with an abundance of blind confidence that everyone is going to instantly love the show. The creator is seemingly keeping his expectations in check, but clearly believes that the risks are worth the potential rewards in this case. Here's what else he said at TCA (via TVLine).
I went through a very intensive period of terror of fucking it up, and I’m not entirely sure I’m out of that tunnel. [But] if I was too reverent, then I wouldn’t be able to do anything that was risky.
In a lot of ways, the original tale that Alan Moore wrote (and Dave Gibbons illustrated) remains one of the most risk-taking books in comic history. Not that comic books hadn't taken on adult stories before, but Watchmen was on a level unto itself when it was released in the mid-'80s, with themes of sexual abuse, narcissism, fate, lust, mass murder, and more feelings from the dark side of the spectrum.
Though many of those elements are more commonplace in today's entertainment world, it's understandable that Damon Lindelof wanted to update things for society's place in 2019, while still adhering to some of the same paranoia and problems with authority that drove Alan Moore's story.
Everyone can check out the full-length trailer below, which followed up splendidly on the first teaser released a few months back.
There isn't too much longer to wait – especially if you experience time like Dr. Manhattan does – with HBO announcing at Comic-Con that the new series will debut in October. Stay tuned for a more exact date, and for more details about what fans can expect from Damon Lindelof's Watchmen.