HBO Greenlights Damon Lindelof’s ‘Watchmen’ Pilot

By  · Published on September 21st, 2017

The creator of Lost and The Leftovers keeps up a philosophical streak with his next HBO adventure.

HBO really wants in on the Damon Lindelof business, and for good reason. The Leftovers consistently garnered acclaim from critics and audiences alike throughout all three seasons (despite constantly being snubbed at awards shows). It then came as no surprise when it was announced a few months ago that Lindelof was developing a new show at the network. Now, the pilot for a new Watchmen series is officially greenlit.

The much-loved Alan Moore comic was previously adapted for the big screen by Zack Snyder in a “never compromise,” frame-by-frame approach to the source material. It was an adaptation that people either loved or hated for its faithfulness. Snyder’s film was either deemed “the finest superhero movie ever made” or just plain “stuffy”. Set as an alternate timeline where superheroes changed the course of key events in US history, such as the Vietnam War, the story picks up in 1980s New York City: a post-superhero era. Vigilantism is outlawed and most of the original superheroes of the 40s and 60s are out of commission.

Watchmen is an admittedly huge story to commit to the screen, with directors such as Darren Aronofsky, Paul Greengrass and Terry Gilliam being slated to adapt it at one point or another. What has now become a classic refrain is the fact that the comic, per Moore himself, is “unfilmable,” but for better or worse, Snyder made it possible. However, especially with its fluidity in timelines and story structure, an episodic structure would suit the narrative impeccably. That being said, as this won’t be a miniseries either, there may be pacing issues to sort through stretching the narrative out into seasons that may or may not be greenlit in the future. Technically, an entire first season isn’t even ordered yet.

But judging by Lindelof’s credentials, fans can remain optimistic on that front. Not everyone appreciates Lost as the seasons went by, but if there’s something undoubtedly good about that show, it was its commitment to characterization. The Leftovers is praiseworthy for many more reasons, including world-building and immersiveness. In a review of Season 2, Vox proclaims, “It’s a show that wants to provoke a reaction in you, whether it’s admiration, hatred, or just bafflement.” That sounds very Watchmen-esque indeed.

It might be a while yet until news of casting and the like. But there’s this picture that Lindelof posted from the Watchmen writers’ room to keep us assured and tide us over.

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Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)