HBO announced that it will offer all nine episodes of the hit series Watchmen for free starting Friday, June 19 and ending Sunday, June 21 on HBO.com and Free On Demand “as part of the network’s initiative to highlight Black voices, storytellers and experiences.” The show—set in an alternate version of the past —takes place in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and centers around events of racial violence following the Tulsa Massacre of 1921.
Our TV writer Jacob Oller said of the series:
“Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ graphic novel Watchmen, like Fight Club and Starship Troopers, has a knack for getting itself misunderstood. Frankly, that’s mostly because white guys in the demographic that usually watches this kind of thing are used to a certain kind of messaging and a certain status quo interpretation. Action heroes kill stuff. It’s awesome. Rah, rah, violence. Move along, see the sequel in a year. Past behavior is hard to escape; it’s also hard to criticize without accidentally dipping back into old habits. Watchmen’s HBO sequel series from Damon Lindelof isn’t perfect in this regard, but it’s easy to watch, tough to pin down, and well worth working through.
The show becomes more and more about the traumas suffered by our progenitors, how they’ve lived on through us, and how we respond to their effects. It susses out the ways the government would attempt reparations for black Americans robbed of historical wealth—including the racist backlash against and cringe-inducing videos used to inform those receiving them. This applies to oppression and inequality, sure, but an entire episode digs into the 9/11-like aftershocks resonating into the American psyche from Ozymandius’ space squid drop on NYC. The past comes for everyone in the show.
Unlike some other prestige TV with muddled messaging, Watchmen doesn’t leave you feeling empty. The thematic throughline of the past’s haunting echoes and tangible consequences can get hammy at times, but it’s still a fascinating concept for a sequel series that nobody asked for. Clever, mean, blood-in-the-mouth humor meshes with politics warped and wild in this alt-present where Robert Redford is president and peace was forced upon the world by a murderous genius. Coping with this reality, moving on from the sins of the past, and figuring out how to find a just future—that’s a journey riddled with pitfalls, but one Watchmen makes irresistible.”
Per HBO, episode air times are as follows:
WATCHMEN 101 – 1:00PM
WATCHMEN 102 – 2:03PM
WATCHMEN 103 – 2:58PM
WATCHMEN 104 – 3:51PM
WATCHMEN 105 – 4:43PM
WATCHMEN 106 – 5:43PM
WATCHMEN 107 – 6:44PM
WATCHMEN 108 – 7:42PM
WATCHMEN 109 – 8:45PM
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