Who watches HBO’s Watchmen? We do! In the preview episode of our Watchmen podcast, Alex, Justin and Pete discuss their experience with Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic graphic novel, their thoughts on the movie version and predictions for the TV show, as well as general thoughts on Damon Lindelof’s shows, from LOST to The Leftovers.
The theme music for Watchmen Watch was written and performed by Jeff Solomon.
Plus, here’s a transcript of the episode for you to read through as you listen:
Alex: Welcome to Watchmen Watch, a podcast about HBO’s Watchmen. Who watches Watchmen Watch? We watch Watchmen Watch, as we watch the Watchmen on HBO. I’m Alex.
Justin: I’m Justin.
Pete: I’m Pete. That’s a lot of watching.
Justin: That’ll be easy for you to say next time.
Alex: Yeah, no problem. I have it all scripted down and definitely remember all of it.
Pete: No problem at all.
Justin: That’s true. For those of you listening at home, he doesn’t have it scripted. He was just staring at us with crazy bugged out eyes because it was a lot to say at once.
Alex: Now we do have an apology to make unfortunately, our fourth cohost is not here today.
Justin: Yeah. Alan Moore is doing this podcast with us. Unfortunately, he couldn’t be here today and today only. He’s officiating a wedding between two hamsters in Northern Ireland. So, he has to be there for that.
Pete: Love’s love.
Justin: He does a lot of those animal weddings.
Alex: Yeah, he got ordained online. Did you know that?
Justin: That’s really cool. It’s a great way to do it.
Justin: Are you an online minister?
Pete: No. No.
Justin: I am.
Pete: Are you?
Justin: I am.
Pete: Oh, really?
Justin: I can marry anything.
Pete: Wow. Anything?
Justin: You guys?
Alex: So this is going to be a podcast about Watchmen, the HBO show, which is a show run by Damon Lindelof. That’s going to be viewing some point in October. As of this recording, we don’t know the exact date, so here’s how we’re going to run the show. We are going to recap every episode of Watchmen as it happens on the podcast. But leading up to it, we’re going to do a recap. We’re going to do a review both for ourselves and for you guys of the Watchmen comic book of all 12 issues.
Justin: It’s a crash course in Watchmen for everybody who wants to know what’s up with Watchmen before we get into the series. Because the series, unlike the movie, the Zack Snyder movie was a very faithful presentation of the comic.
Justin: So we’re going to get into that as well, but the HBO series is sort of a re-interpretation.
Alex: Right. We don’t know a lot about it at this current time. David Lindelof and company have been very cagey about it. They’ve called it, as you said, a re-interpretation. Maybe it’s a sequel, maybe it’s a sidequel.
Pete: Maybe it takes place in between the panels of the movie.
Alex: Right, exactly. That’d be classic Scott McCloud, understanding comic style.
Justin: Very exciting.
Alex: So we’ll see what happens with that. But it is worth reviewing because clearly based on the footage that they released of Watchmen, it’s going to have a lot of visual touchstones, character names, other things going on there. It’s certainly been awhile since I read Watchmen, so I’m excited to get back into it.
Justin: Yeah, me too.
Pete: I would like to say though that the teaser they released looks really amazing. I’m excited.
Alex: It does look that fantastic. Here’s what I think we could do on this first episode here. Let’s talk about our experiences with Watchmen and then also thoughts on Damon Lindelof as a showrunner because he’s definitely the driving force behind it. So let’s start off with Watchmen. Pete, what is your experience with Watchmen? Obviously you love the Zack Snyder movie.
Alex: You watched that on a loop.
Pete: I did love the choice for Rorschach in the movie. I thought everything else was kind of slightly garbage. I like most people, the first time I read Watchmen, my mind was blown and I was really impressed by the writing and the art of that, and I thought it was really phenomenal.
Justin: I remember picking up a Watchmen number, like seven, whatever the one with the perfume bottle on it is, in the comic shop when I was just like … I pulled it out of a bin. I was like, oh, what’s this? And I think I bought it and read it and it just didn’t know what was going on. And then years later, I read the whole series in a trade paperback and being like, oh wow, this feels, it just feels so much … There’s so much more going on in this comic than in so many other comics I’ve read.
Alex: Yeah, I think I read it pretty late actually. I definitely remember reading it as a trade collection, not in individual issues or anything like that. I think it was well into my second life as a comic book reader. I read-
Justin: Second life?
Alex: Well I read-
Justin: Because he died all-
Alex: Very briefly. Very briefly. I drowned for a couple of days.
Justin: Yeah. Yeah. Cause you’re from the islands in Game of Thrones. What is dead may never die?
Alex: The iron islander.
Justin: You’re an iron Islander, Right?
Alex: Yeah, exactly.
Justin: What is dead may never die.
Alex: Yup. That’s me. You know me. Add my salt wives. Anyway, so I read comics as a kid, took a break for some of high school and college.
Justin: To play football.
Justin: Quarterback hero.
Alex: And then I had that injury.
Justin: Yeah I know.
Alex: And then I picked up comic books again and when that happened, I started reading a lot more trade collections, getting caught up on things that I should have read anyway. And watching it was one of those that I thought, wow, this is great. Very good book. And from there, ended up reading a bunch of other Alan Moore books kind of in a row, including Miracle Man and other things [crosstalk 00:04:42]
Justin: So you went on a tear. Yeah.
Pete: You went to on an Alan Moore tear.
Justin: I think what’s important is-
Pete: It’s too bad that he’s not here, you could tell that to them.
Alex: No, I know, I know. I was really looking forward to it.
Justin: We had so many great questions for him, he was-
Alex: He’ll be here to hear next week.
Justin: Yeah, he made A real promise to us. Watchmen, if you haven’t read the comic and you’re listening to this, read some other comics first.
Pete: This is one thing that a lot of people talk about with Watchmen. They’re like, oh, Watchmen was my first comic book. I don’t understand it. And it’s like, of course you don’t. Watchmen is really a postmodern … It sort of breaks down the comic book sort of mythos or the Justice League or the Avenger’s type characters and really reframes and has you look at it in a more realistic context. The Boys that’s just come out on Amazon-
Pete: Great show.
Justin: Great show. Sort of has that as a more modern version of that, beyond Watchmen. Watchmen was the first to really sort of take a critical or postmodern look at comics.
Alex: And that’s one of the things that I’m really hoping for from the TV show that in the same way that Watchmen the comic was looking at comics that came before it and the history of comics and reframing it in such a smart careful way. I hope they do that with the TV or film the media. But you know, I hope they extend that in some way. Because frankly, and I’m curious to see if we’ll have time to get to this accident or film before we get into the TV show.
Justin: We will.
Alex: One of the big faults for that is it straight adapted the comic book and that just didn’t work for me when I saw it.
Justin: Yeah, no it was cool to see the visuals-
Justin: … there. And it was shot well visually. But it didn’t have any of the sort … I was just talking about sort of the density of ideas or like the actual take on what we were seeing. It was just sort of like a puppet show of the characters from Watchmen.
Pete: One thing I’m curious about is what’s your guys favorite part of Watchmen? Because there’s so much different stuff. There’s stuff in between chapters, different characters, different takes on things. What was your-
Justin: Black Freighter.
Pete: Yeah. What was your favorite kind of part about it or of your favorite character?
Justin: Tough, tough question. I mean it’s such a quilt of these characters. It’s hard to pick out, I guess. I mean, I guess I like the Owlman, Silk Spectre romance-
Pete: Nite Owl?
Justin: Nite Owl, yeah. Yes. Right. The Nite Owl, Silk Spectre romance. The way-
Alex: Yeah. That’s the thing that feels the most human probably, I mean purposefully so.
Alex: I think I like that as well.
Justin: They’re sort of the heroes.
Alex: Can I make a guess, Pete?
Alex: Was it Rorschach?
Alex: Yeah. Okay.
Justin: What about you?
Alex: That’s going to be a problem. I would also say Night Owl.
Justin: Yeah. Yeah.
Alex: I think that was the one that I related to the most. Certainly because I was like, hey, this is kind of a nerd.
Pete: I also really liked the pirates stuff. That was really cool.
Justin: Yeah, all the additional back matters. Also, the first time in a comic I’d encountered that when I was like, oh look at all this text. It’s really deepening the story.
Alex: Yeah. You read the Black Freighter stuff, Pete?
Pete: Some of it.
Alex: Okay. Okay. We’ll get into that. We’ll see what happens.
Justin: It could get interesting.
that’s everyone’s favorite part.
Alex: Let’s talk about Damon Lindelof. He has worked on a bunch of shows, most notably Lost and The Leftovers, as you guys know very well, Justin and Pete, Lost is my favorite TV show of all time.
Justin: Even the end?
Alex: Even the end-
Alex: … which I love.
Alex: Leftovers is great.
Alex: Did not love the first season of that, but it eventually figured itself out in season two.
Justin: See, I even like the first season of Leftovers.
Alex: Do you know what held me back about that is I read the book and I loved the book and it’s so different than the book. It tweaked it in weird ways that I wasn’t crazy about where I felt like-
Justin: See, I didn’t read the book.
Alex: Yeah. It felt like it was missing the point that was made in the book. The book is very satirical. It was very funny. The first season of Leftovers was extremely serious to a fault.
Justin: Yes it was.
Alex: And then it figured itself out. Like it figured out a more humanity in those last two seasons of Leftovers. Glorious. What do you guys think about Damon Lindelof shows? Pete?
Pete: Super cool guy.
Alex: Have you seen either of them?
Alex: What? [crosstalk 00:08:48] You didn’t even get to see Lost?
Justin: I was obsessed with Lost. I feel like, and this is a good thing, I think.
Pete: Brian K. Vaughan, right? Also worked-
Justin: He worked on that.
Alex: Yes he did.
Justin: I feel like the Lost was sort of like, I think he’s a great teller of stories, maker of television. Lost felt like sort of a teenage.
Alex: It’s called a tele-maker.
Justin: Yeah, that’s what it is, telemarketer. Lost felt like a sort of a teenager. The teenage show where he was like-
Pete: Lot of angst?
Justin: Well it’s like, it’s a little bit herky-jerky. It’s those scripts they would write the in the the action lines it would be like, and then he pulls out a mother fucking diamond and they like all the in the … Oh the motherfucking hatch finally fucking opened and-
Pete: Lot of swearing.
Justin: … that’s not how most people write scripts.
Pete: That’s how I write scripts.
Justin: I know, which is-
Alex: You’re talking about the actual scripts?
Justin: The actual real script.
Justin: Yeah. Had all this crazy language in the action lines and stuff.
Justin: So it felt like a little bit all over the place, not really knowing what it was the whole time. And that’s why I think the ending-
Alex: Was so perfect.
Justin: Didn’t stick the landing for most people.
Alex: Oh, okay.
Justin: And got a little wonky where it sorta like, oh, I’m ready, I’m an adult. And it’s like, no, you’re not. You’re a weirdly ended teenager. While Leftovers definitely felt like, oh, this is mature, it’s grown up. This feels like maybe it’s an even more experienced-wise understanding of television and how to tell these stories and with this great material of Watchmen to use as fodder.
Alex: Interesting. Yeah.
Justin: That’s my theory.
Alex: Okay. All right.
Pete: So you’re saying though that they didn’t keep all that cool stuff in the script and put it in the show?
Justin: No, that was literally describing what visually you’re seeing when you’re reading the script.
Alex: So I will say to your point-
Pete: To you motherfucking point.
Alex: To your mother fucking point, Damon Lindelof put out this bonkers note on Instagram back when they announced Watchmen, where he was explaining himself and he was talking about how it was so formative for him as a read. It was something that connected to him, to his father.
Justin: Oh, wow.
Alex: He felt like it never should be adapted. They should never do that. That’s not something they should make into a TV show. But then the more he started to think about it, the more he was like, I’m so scared of this. I just got to try it, even if I’m going to completely fuck it up.
Alex: And everything that I’ve heard about it from the casting to what they’ve done behind the scenes with the writing and directing staff, they’ve been so careful and cognizant of what Watchmen means while still knowing … It is 2019 we’re doing this TV show in 2019, what does it mean that we are doing it now? And that comes down to one of the things that I think is frankly excellent.
Alex: And this is why I think it’s interesting and it’s going to be interesting for you to watch, given that Pete, your Rorschach is your favorite character is Damon Lindelof at the Television Critics Association tour, which is something that happens twice a year out in California. I gave an interview and he talked about … there is a gang of Rorschachs in here and he was like, oh yeah-
Alex: … they’re the alt-right. Like straight up.
Justin: What? Rorschach wasn’t-
Alex: He didn’t bounce around it and he was like, they’re a metaphor for the alt-right. It was like, no, no, they’re an alt-right.
Justin: Well, I mean we’re going to get into this in our next couple of podcasts, but rereading the first issue, I was like, oh yeah.
Justin: Rorschach’s dialogue, his monologuing is alt-right shit.
Alex: You know when I think about it, this is my guess about it, is it’s a lot of people taking his writings and using it the wrong way.
Pete: Cause he wasn’t … He’s never-
Justin: We’ll talk about that-
Alex: We’ll talk about that more when we get into the issues and everything. Cool. Any other things that you guys want to say about Watchmen before we wrap up?
Pete: Well then now then I’m Fucking pissed. I don’t want to see my favorite character turned to some fucking racist asshole.
Pete: Yeah, turned.
Justin: Let’s definitely talk about that in the future. I’m excited. I’m excited to reread Watchmen and re-get into that whole thing. Even excited to watch the movie.
Alex: Yeah, absolutely. So we’re going to do all of that on individual episodes as they roll out and then of course once the show starts, we’re really going to get into that as well. So very excited to see what that’s all about.
Alex: Right now we are getting all the feeds live for this, but you can subscribe to the RSS at comicbookclublive.com and we’ll have the feed right there. You’re certainly probably listening to it right now after listening to this episode and it should be live on iTunes, Android, Spotify, Stitcher, etc, very, very soon. Couple of other things before we go, you can check us out patreon.com/comicbookclub if you want to support this podcast and more. Also, we do a live show every Tuesday night at 8:00 PM at the People’s Improv Theater Loft in New York. Come on by and we’ll watch you watch the Watchmen.
Alex: Pete, what do you want to plug?
Pete: Friend us on Facebook so you get to know about the amazing guests in our live show.
Justin: Follow us at Twitter @comicbooklive.
Alex: Check us out comicbookclublive.com for this podcast and more, and remember we recorded this podcast 35 minutes ago.
Justin: Alan just texted me. He’s definitely going to be here next time.