HBO's Watchmen was, to put it mildly, a wild ride. The Damon Lindelof-created "remix" of the Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons comic book series of the same name offered fans epic plot twists, cutting commentary on issues of race and injustice, some truly weird sequences, Lube Man, some of the most intense and beautiful hours on television and, ultimately, both a sense of closure for the original comic book characters' arcs as well as a whole new world of questions and wonder just waiting to be explored. It's that whole new world that has fans, critics, and more wondering if there will be a second season of this critically-acclaimed series. It's a tantalizing thought, but here's the truth: Watchmen shouldn't get a second season. It doesn't need one and anything more simply wouldn’t be Watchmen.
From the outset, Lindelof was clear that the nine-episode Watchmen series was meant to be a self-contained story, a limited series that had a beginning, middle, and end and that when the final credits rolled at the end of episode nine, the story that he was trying to tell with the series would be done. If Lindelof hadn't delivered on that, if episode nine, "See How They Fly," had left story threads dangling or hadn't completed the tale it wanted to tell then a second season -- even one show run by someone else other than Lindelof -- might make sense. But that's not what happened. Watchmen 100 percent delivered on its promise of a complete, fully-realized story.
When Watchmen ended, there were no lingering questions about the fates of the original Watchmen's heroes. We knew going into things that The Comedian and Rorschach are both dead. We soon learned that Nite Owl was in federal custody for violation of the Keene Act and that Silke Spectre was now FBI Agent Laurie Blake who, despite being apprehended as was Nite Owl, made a deal where she helped the feds hunt down vigilantes. As the series unfolded, we discovered that Adrian Veidt was, for a while, stranded on Europa and ultimately ended up being arrested by Agent Blake for his role in the Dimensional Incursion Event -- that giant squid fall that killed three million people. We also, sadly, see the ultimate fate of Doctor Manhattan play out as well when he is killed in a plot to strip away his powers so that someone else can have them. Nothing ever ends, but in terms of the stories of those original characters, their tales do.
That right there is reason enough that Watchmen should be a one and done. How do you have a series called Watchmen that doesn't really include the original Watchmen? Part of what made the HBO series so good was that it struck a fine balance between the source material and the new story with the heritage material being what made the show Watchmen. While one could accurately argue that the final shot of the season left a door wide open to tell a story about Regina King's Angela Abar and her newly-granted Doctor Manhattan powers (if that's what happens in those final moments, that is) that story itself would still not be Watchmen.
A huge component of Angela's story centers around white supremacy. One of the very first things we hear the character say is that she has a "nose for white supremacy" and that the guy they've just arrested "smells like bleach". It’s white supremacy that kills her husband, Cal Abar/Jon Osterman/Doctor Manhattan. If Angela now has the powers of a god, the natural extension of her story post-season one is for her to take on white supremacy in a truly epic fashion. While that would certainly make for a truly epic tale as it would allow the show to dig a bit deeper into those elements than season one did, the end result wouldn't be Watchmen. It would essentially be a "Sister Night, The Nun With the Mother****** Gun" series at that point.
And, to be clear, we'd watch that. It's just not Watchmen, nor should it be.
At the time of this writing, Watchmen hasn't been renewed for a second season by HBO and it may not be, but the buzz is already out there and from a business perspective a second round of Watchmen makes a lot of sense. While the comics series Watchmen is extrapolated from is an iconic work, it's also a little bit niche, but despite that the series had wide appeal with viewers and quickly captured not only the pop culture conversation but had decent ratings as well. With the series being so successful, one can see why HBO would want to do a second season. But they shouldn't. Lindelof's series offered an elegant and somewhat definitive close of what the comic books started while also offered viewers new themes to consider and a lot to carry around and unpack for years to come. Anything HBO would attempt beyond this would simply be a capitalization on this season's success.
And it certainly wouldn't be Watchmen.
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