HBO in talks with Zack Snyder About the Possibility of a WATCHMEN TV Series Adaptation.
Alan Moore‘s 1986 seminal graphic novel Watchmen, has a special place with fans of comic books and indeed just literary fans in general.
A commercial success, Watchmen has received critical acclaim both in the comics and mainstream press, and is considered by several critics and reviewers as one of the most significant works of 20th century literature. Watchmen was recognized in Time ’s List of the 100 Best Novels as one of the best English language novels published since 1923, and placed #91 on The Comics Journal ’s list of the top 100 comics of the 20th century.
After a number of attempts to adapt the series into a feature film, including one back in the 90’s with Terry Gilliam set to direct that ultimately didn’t pan out, director Zack Snyder‘s Watchmen was released in 2009. The film received a polarizing reaction from both audiences and critics.
Some critics gave it overwhelmingly positive reviews for the dark and unique style on the superhero genre, the cast and the visual effects; while others derided it for the same reasons, as well as the R-rating, the running time, and the much-publicized fidelity to the graphic novel.
Now, Collider reports he has had meetings with HBO to potentially turn Watchmen into a TV show.
Film Adaptation vs. TV Adaptation — or no Adaptation?
It’s interesting to note that back in the early 90’s when Terry Gilliam abandoned the planned film production that was being produced by Lawrence Gordon and Joel Silver — who were only able to raise $25 million dollars, a fraction of the cost they would need, because of budget overruns on their previous two films — Gilliam had this to say regarding a Watchmen film adaptation:
“Reducing[the story] to a two or two-and-a-half hour film […] seemed to me to take away the essence of what Watchmen is about.”
When Warner Bros. dropped the project, Gordon invited Gilliam back to helm the film independently. The director again declined, believing that the comic book would be better directed as a five-hour miniseries.
I think Zack Snyder‘s faithful 2009 adaptation is a good adaptation — but the theatrical cut shown in theaters (162 minutes) simply wasn’t long enough to capture the full world. Even Zack Snyder‘s preferred 186 minute director’s cut, which came closer, couldn’t quite get it.
One of the main criticisms of Snyder’s film was that it didn’t let the story breathe, instead focusing too much on a literal, visual adaptation. I think a TV show would give him another shot at that. However, there’s no way Snyder would be involved in the show’s day-to-day running. He’s a little busy with two Justice League movies. That means there would potentially be someone else at the helm.
The potential opportunity for a complete Watchmen adaptation is exciting. I think if they’re going to tell the Watchmen story again, that the writers of the show should take a look at Watchmen: Motion Comic . The series consists of twelve abridged 25–30 minute segments, each based on and sharing a name with one of the twelve chapters of the book. Nonetheless, there was an episodic arch that could be expanded upon that would be perfect for television.
Or perhaps, like Alan Moore (who famously wants nothing to do anymore with adaptations of his work) has said multiple times, maybe Watchmen can’t successfully be adapted for another medium.