Wednesday, June 21, 2017

WATCHMEN TV Series in Development at HBO

"Nothing ends, Adrian.  Nothing ever ends."
-- Doctor Manhattan to Ozymandias, Watchmen

The Hollywood Reporter stated yesterday that HBO is developing an adaptation of the critically-acclaimed DC Comics maxi-series Watchmen, with Damon Lindelof in talks to oversee the project as showrunner.

Lindelof, 44, is best known as the co-creator and showrunner of the ABC series Lost and as the co-creator of the HBO series The Leftovers.  He also served as writer and producer of the movies Star Trek Into Darkness, Prometheus, Tomorrowland, and Cowboys & Aliens.

According to the article, Lindelof originally read the comics as a kid in the 1980s and the series continues to influence his work.  "From the flashbacks to the nonlinear storytelling to the deeply flawed heroes, these are all elements that I try to put into everything I write," he told Comic Book Resources in 2009 ahead of the Watchmen film by director Zack Snyder. The article also claims that Lindelof has read Watchmen multiple times and praised Snyder's film.  "It's the most married-to-the-original-text version of Watchmen that could've been made," he told the Observer at the time.  "It's OK with me if people don't understand it because they don't deserve to understand it."

Snyder is no longer attached to the drama project from Warner Bros. Television, which was first rumored to be in preliminary discussions with HBO back in 2015.

Created in 1986 by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmen was a 12-issue maxi-series set in an alternate reality that closely mirrors the contemporary world of the 1980s, but with the presence of superheroes that has altered the outcome of real-world events.  In keeping with the realism of the series, the costumed crimefighters of Watchmen are commonly called "superheroes", but only one, Doctor Manhattan, possesses superhuman powers. The war in Vietnam ends with a U.S. victory in 1971 and Richard Nixon is still president as of October 1985.  When the story begins, the existence of Doctor Manhattan has given the U.S. a strategic advantage over the Soviet Union, which has increased tensions between the two nations. Eventually, superheroes grow unpopular among the police and the public, leading to the passage of legislation, the Keene Act, in 1977 to outlaw them.  While many of the heroes retired, Doctor Manhattan and a veteran superhero known as The Comedian operate as government-sanctioned agents.  Another, Rorschach, continues to operate outside the law as a vigilante.

In October 1985, New York City police investigate the murder of a man named Edward Blake.  With the police having no leads, Rorschach decides to probe further.  Discovering Blake to be the face behind The Comedian, Rorschach believes he has discovered a plot to terminate costumed adventurers and sets about warning four of his retired comrades -- Dan Dreiberg (formerly the second Nite Owl), the emotionally detached Doctor Manhattan and his lover Laurie Juspeczyk (the second Silk Spectre), and Adrian Veidt (once the hero Ozymandias), a successful businessman.

After Blake's funeral, Manhattan is accused on national television of being the cause of cancer in friends and former colleagues.  When the U.S. government takes the accusations seriously, Manhattan exiles himself to Mars.  As Manhattan is one of the United States' greatest military powers, his departure throws humanity into political turmoil, with the Soviet Union invading Afghanistan to capitalize on the perceived American weakness. Rorschach's concerns appear vindicated when Adrian Veidt narrowly survives an assassination attempt, and Rorschach himself is framed for murdering Moloch, a former supervillain, and imprisoned.  Nite Owl and Rorschach work to uncover the conspiracy surrounding the death of The Comedian and the accusations that drove Manhattan into exile.

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