TV: Watchmen - S01 E01 - It's Summer and We're Running Out of Ice - Reviewed

At long last, HBO's Watchmen series is here, extending the mythology of the comic into a new live action project that serves as a sequel to the book but altogether ignores Zack Snyder’s amazing 2009 film. 

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. 

Paranoia. Fear. Conspiracies. Terrorism. Dr. Manhattan. And an inherent sense of doom. Who watches the Watchmen? We do. And we’re instantly hooked on this latest extrapolation of the famed, if not totally iconic comic masterwork. With a main story that takes place thirty years after the events of Watchmen proper, this serves as a direct extension that’s both mysterious and brutal in its first episode of season one. From here out, we expect this show to be HBO's contender for its number one position. With a budget that's most likely giving Westworld a run for its money, episode one is a reminder of the political backdrop of the original material, that often times makes references that die hard fans will adore. 

Picking up in 1921 in Tulsa during a race riot, we’re treated to HBO’s specific brand of televised entertainment that quickly goes for thrilling cinematic gusto. This doesn’t look or feel like TV but has that specific theatrical feel that only a major brand like the Home Box Office can offer. Audiences are also quickly reminded that this is the world of the Watchmen, where sheer violence and bloodshed are going to be an integral part of the story telling. Starting during the cultural conflict of the ‘20s and almost immediately shifting to a near future where the police require remote permission to use their weapons, the stage is set for a brooding dystopian future where freedom comes at a cost. Within the first ten minutes it’s easy to see that this will be a great addendum to its source material that might have fans split down the middle right now, but will have an ultimate pay off down the line. Through consistent nods, it becomes obvious that we will be potentially seeing and hearing from the classic heroes or villains. 

I do solemnly swear that my name is Sonny Crockett!

Regina King, Don Johnson and Tim Blake Nelson are all in pristine form, giving searing performances as characters we’re just being introduced to. Seeing them work in the action realm is absolutely amazing since most of them are typically in more character driven roles. King especially changes from her usual dramatic form as she beats and bloodies her villainous foes while making her way through the muck of a tactical police force that's readying themselves to do war with a returning band of terrorists. Through her eyes, the viewership sees the past, the present, and what might be the future of Watchmen

As tensions mount and the ass kicking gun play starts, the mostly electronic score serves up a heaping pile of brutal percussive beats and an amazing synth backdrop that sets the stage for the fight scenes. While episode 1 played it extremely tight with the action scenes, we're sure they'll ramp it up as the season plays out. Keeping this spoiler free review short and sweet from a fan of the source material and movie, this might be HBO's next great series. Hopefully it continues on this path. 

-Chris George