I had a lot more to say back when the finale aired but in order to say it I typed it out in Microsoft Word, and copying'n'pasting it in here doesn't maintain the formatting, so I would have had to go through the three pages and manually italicize everything again. I was too lazy to do that then so you were all spared. UP UNTIL NOW! Don't blame me for the following; blame Darth Krawlie, blame Tank, blame yourselves!
I guess on the whole I really liked the first three episodes, the Tim Blake Nelson one, the black'n'white flashback one, and that's kind of it. 5 outta 9. Not half bad! Literally.
- I think the pilot (... is Lady Trieu even mentioned or alluded to in any way during this'n?) can be compared'n'contrasted w/the Season 2 premiere of The Leftovers and I think both of these show's final moments are equally in dialogue with each other.
- I haven't really been paying much attention to how this show's been received out there in the wider world (I mean, unless N6's review write'em'up counts - it's certainly a well articulated understanding of what's to be seen, as is so typical and consistent of his work that to make note of it here and now feels less like praise than condescension on my behalf, regardless, I sincerely enjoyed reading it) but it's difficult to imagine anyone who really really liked the comic, appreciated it for what it was, really really liking this show (well, not so difficult, it takes all kinds). Watchmen (1986-7) is arguably the best comic book ever because of the very particular way it puts words and images together; ultimately, that's what makes it special, a capital-M Mature attitude towards superheroes is supplementary to the way it's being told, it reinforces the how of it rather than being what it's actually about. It could've been about granary suppliers! Moore tried to do a Watchmen about regular people in regular world, yeah, it was called Big Numbers and he did it with Bill Sienkiewicz (sp?) and they gave up a few issues in but it could have arguably been the better work. Decades later, I am like three-fifths certain there's a flex on that particular comicbook in this show's pilot! Anyway, Watchmen (2019) is not as good at being a television show as Watchmen (1986-7) is at being a comic book. That's probably true of every adaptation of justly celebrated material, but, wait, no! Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is just as good as a TV show, as a movie, and as a novel! It can be done. It just probably can't be done w/Watchmen and maybe can't be done with the v. specific creative and commercial talent involved in adapting it today, in the Year Of Your Lord 2019. Or maybe I'm wrong, talking out of my butt as usual, there are certainly ways in which the show takes advantage of being in a TV show landscape in the same way the comic takes advantage of being a part of comics culture (is the extratextual associations of an actor playing other characters in a one-to-one correspondence with how the 'cast' of the comic are based on the Charlton characters or maybe how the Laurie-Jon Mars sequence is ripped off of Baron/Rude Nexus? Could be!), maybe there's way more to this show than I gave it credit for? Nope!
- Trying to put the above paragraph in a single sentence, well, the show's not as gifted at being a show as the comic is at being a comic so all that remains is to praise it for the mere mechanisms of its plot and that's a tougher sell. Watchmen (1986-7) is a superhero murder mystery in a world on the verge of apocalypse. This show is ... what? The exact same thing, maybe? I don't buy that it's about race, any more than Quentin Tarantino's movies are about race just because he uses the n-word a lot in his films (obvious exception aside) and I don't buy that it's about Our Times Now any more than Shane Black's films are about Christmas just because that's when they take place (again, obvious exception(s) aside). It sort of gestures at those things, but not in any way that feels coherent or with any kind of understandable summarizable thesis statement. As the kids say in their essays, what is Shakespeare trying to say? Is this show's finale just the love story of a torture-happy cop and her brainwashed, caged, suicidal husband and how they defeated a well-intentioned supervillain with the aid of some co-workers and a mentally unstable mass murderer? Is this show as a whole just a kind of game of keep'away involving three varieties of painted figures : a gold one, a blue one, and a silver one : show you the gold one first, keep the blue one away from your eyes for a while, throw the silver one into the sewer, and explain away the gold one last?
- Have read a few interviews, though, and I saw that dumb letter he wrote to the fans around when he got the job (as dumb letters to the fans go, though, it's a distant second to Zach Snyder exhorting the fanbase to go see the movie a second time just as Sally Jupiter fell in love w/Blake). I kinda liked how, for a while there a few years back, Lost's particularly appealing elements were sort of messily fractionated off by the shows made by each of the co-creators. Carlton Cuse's Colony had the sci-fi premises and conspiracy theory worldbuilding and action/adventure elements and Damon Lindelof's Leftovers had the all-timer performances and active preoccupation w/the numinous and great needle-drop after great needle-drop. What am I saying? I don't know. I hope Carlton Cuse's next show after he was done with his show is better than Lindelof's next show after he was done with his show (this one! Watchmen! (2019)!), I hope Cuse goes from strength to strength. I kinda hope Lindelof chucks himself in a lake. Knowing how bad you are at making a Watchmen TV show (and seeding that same show w/little digs at yourself) doesn't excuse making the show bad! It makes it worse. It'd be way better if he thought he was great, fired on all cylinders (what was it Snyder said in false modesty? Something like 'I guess if at the end of it Alan Moore watches it on his DVD player in London and is like 'Well, they didn't %*#~ it up too bad' we'll have succeeded' - if that was the idiotic attitude he'd taken to being an accessory to theft on a massive scale and, as he acknowledges in the show and especially and explicitly in the finale, the hubris of trying to step to this material, well, then I'd what? Who knows?), as it is now I'm probably not going to watch his next one. Gonna have to rope me in by adapting beloved nerd properties from here until the end of all things, Lindelof, if you'd just let anyone else out there bite the bullet on this'n I'd have been eager to see what your next thingum was but now that you've done this show it'll be a nope from me unless it's, like, a Star Trek.
- I was watching the sequel to Zombieland (spoilers(?) for the sequel to Zombie's Land! quit reading this post if you want to enjoy a piece of entertainment free of me talking about it, actually, that has v. general applications as well) and there's a bit in it where they meet a new person, named Madison, played by Zooey Deutsch, and she's been hiding out in the freezer of a Pinkberry in the mall for the past ten years, her and Jesse Eisenberg bone while him and the Emma Stone character (they're all named after locales, even the minor one-off characters from ten years ago in the first movie) were on a break, later on they're all driving in the car on their way to do something or other and she starts to sweat and vomit and so they think she's been bit and is turning into a zombie so they dump her in the woods and we hear (but don't see) Jesse Eisenberg shoot her. Oh, the movie opens w/three little pieces of explanatory info-dump delineating that there are new kinds of zombies in the world, in the, uh, Zombieland. So I automatically assume that, either
1) no, she's not actually been bitten by a zombie (we haven't been shown that happen as an audience) and that she's either had an allergic reaction to the food she's eating (because her character was established as vegan, the make-up on her zombie face looks more like it's trying to convey that sort of thing than zombieness)
2) yeah, Madison was bitten by a zombie years and years ago and that she's some new kind of zombieness we've never seen before and she was staving off the disease by keeping her body cool in the freezer and now that she's spent a day or so outside of that environment the base-level zombieness has returned, but will eventually recede as ... I don't know, it gets dark and cold enough outside, and she'll make her way back to the main group in the clown-themed ice cream truck that was shown in that same area right before the whole inciting incident kicked off.
Now (2) didn't happen, natch, but something about the length of time in between when this character left the narrative and then re-entered the narrative made me certain, like dead certain, that's what we were seeing. I think if I'd been forced to put a probability on it at the earliest point it would have been 50/50 but the longer this character was out of the movie it became like 10/90 for me. (And when she does come back into play, yeah, she's driving the clown-themed ice cream truck! Why is it a ice cream related vehicle if she's merely had an allergic reaction to the trail mix? I don't know!)
My point is that the way I process stories, especially goofy make'em'ups involving the make-believe with a lot of moving supranormal parts, seems to be one in which the greater the delay in offering me an expected answer the more and more likely my brain is to reject an immediate and understandable set of resolved premises and settle on something needlessly ornate & bizarre in its stead. If it was something simple then the question would already be answered and we'd be moving on to new questions, no? If a character says Professor Plum did the murder, and we haven't seen Professor Plum in handcuffs yet, then, uh, it must be ... forgive me, I've forgotten who the characters in the Clue board game are.
Anyway, that's my 'defence' about why I was wrong about lots and lots of thing. Except I'm not wrong all the way, yet, because if they can rope Trent Reznor and some of the cast into coming back they've got a real shot at further and future seasons of the show, ones that fulfill some of my Predictions, and then there'll be an opportunity for me to make more Predictions (f'rinstance : pretty sure Angela's foot just goes splat into the water, pretty sure that what Jon/Cal meant by giving her that egg was now if she goes through an Intrinsic Field she'll come out like him, NOT automatically giving her the full suite of Doctor Manhattan abilities instantaneously but prepping her for that as an outcome later on - this allows for ongoing ambiguity in the story about whether she just ate a raw egg comme ça Rorschach, if there's maybe some other bit of food in the house that has Doctor Manhattan powers, if she's just making meaning out of nothing and Jon was just speaking about a hypothetical possibility that he never realized --- this is all assuming there's a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, season; if that's the last episode of this particular iteration of the Watchmen franchise then of course what we saw is what we saw and no more, again, Leftovers finale is rather helpful here) and be wrong about those. Exciting!