HBO is finally making its first foray into superheroes with a Watchman pilot.
TVLine reports the cable outlet finally committed to adapting Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ seminal comic book masterwork by ordering a pilot and “back up scripts.” Lost and The Leftovers Damon Lindelof will write the pilot and executive produce the series should HBO pick it up.
First published in 1985, Watchmen re-imagines the Charlton superheroes as fallible mortals in a world where the supermen altered American politics with nightmarish results. The remaining “Minutemen” navigate a nation tired of their antics and waiting on the brink of nuclear annihilation. And just as this powder keg threatens to ignite, The Comedian is murdered by an unknown assailant. When his uneasy Minutemen comrade Rorschach investigates, it leads to an unexpected conspiracy.
The series was adapted before in the 2009 Zack Snyder film of the same name. But that project was the end of a long development process which saw a number of directors like Terry Gilliam concluding that Watchmen would be best served in a longer format. The original author, for his part, always maintained the best format for the series was its original comic book form.
And while I’m not a huge fan of the Snyder film at this point, I think it was the best Watchmen movie possible. That is to say, it’s an adaptation of one person’s memory of reading the book. The world on display in the pages of Moore and Gibbons’ work is too immense and staggering for even a three hour picture. But it is certainly rich enough for HBO to mine for years. Although, I have to admit I always thought a different DC Comics title would suit HBO best as its first superhero series: the late 1990s Starman.
But it seems, for the moment, Watchmen is finally headed to television.