Why Nobody Is Watching The Watchmen

It might be the best superhero show ever... so why is no one watching it?

Watchmen Episode 5 Hooded Justice
HBO

UPDATE: HBO reached out to WhatCulture with the following clarification regarding Watchmen's viewing figures:

"WATCHMEN is averaging nearly 7 million viewers to-date, making it HBO’s most-watched new series since BIG LITTLE LIES and premium cable’s most-watched new series this year. Along with EUPHORIA, another new HBO series that debuted this year, WATCHMEN is delivering one of HBO’s largest digital audiences for a freshman series since the debut of WESTWORLD in 2016. Premiere telecasts account for an increasingly smaller percentage of HBO series’ total viewing. For the debut season of EUPHORIA, Sunday premiere telecasts contributed just 8% of total viewing."

Original article as follows...

Fans greeted the announcement that HBO and Damon Lindelof were putting together a Watchmen TV show like they do whenever a Watchmen spin-off gets announced - with a mix of cautious optimism and ethical turmoil.

No text is more revered in the comics medium than Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' work, but for all it's vaunted as the finest effort the superhero genre's ever seen, controversy is still synonymous with the text. Moore famously decries what he sees as DC's exploitation of his comic, while recent years have seen the publisher release a number of spin-offs centred around the Watchmen universe. None could really be described as 'essential', with both Before Watchmen and the ongoing Doomsday Clock series experiencing mixed fortunes, but in the case of Lindelof's show? That description may just be apt.

HBO's Watchmen burst onto the scene last month with a trailblazing first episode that centred around the horror of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre. It quickly became apparent that it was meant to be a fully fledged sequel to Moore and Gibbons' comic and yet one also able to stand on its own as a compelling new take on superhero fiction. It walks in the footsteps of the old series both thematically and literally, and in inheriting the spirit of Watchmen, Lindelof's show remains faithful to the comic in its own way, applying Moore's scathing satire of Cold War era America and superhero fiction to the most important element of American history (and one that the original comic overlooked) - race.

It's a real triumph, and the most recent episode typifies all of this and more. To say it's defied expectations would be putting things lightly...

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Comics Editor
Comics Editor

WhatCulture's very own Comics Editor. Cats, comic books and spaghetti westerns are my thing. Rants about stuff @EwanRuinsThings