Watchmen: Season 1 (2019)

Season 1

Critics Consensus

Bold and bristling, Watchmen isn't always easy viewing, but by adding new layers of cultural context and a host of complex characters it expertly builds on its source material to create an impressive identity of its own.



Critic Ratings: 115


Audience Score

User Ratings: 7643

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Air date: Oct 20, 2019

Series premiere. Police conceal their identities behind masks in an alternate America to protect themselves from a terrorist organization, but Detective Angela Abar investigates the attempted murder of a fellow officer under the guidance of her friend and Chief, Judd Crawford. Meanwhile, the Lord of a Country Estate receives an anniversary gift from his loyal servants.

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Air date: Oct 27, 2019

As Angela relives haunting memories of an attack on her family, she detains a mysterious man who claims responsibility for Tulsa's most recent murder. Elsewhere, an original play is performed for an audience of one.

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Air date: Nov 3, 2019

FBI agent Laurie Blake heads to Tulsa to take over the recent murder investigation following a late-night visit from the senator who authored Masked Policing Legislation in Oklahoma. Meanwhile, the Lord of the Manor receives a harshly worded letter and responds accordingly.

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Air date: Nov 10, 2019

Reclusive trillionaire Lady Trieu finally enters the stage with a mysterious offer. With Blake getting closer to the truth of her cover-up, Angela enlists Looking Glass for help. Meanwhile, The Lord trains two new servants.

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Air date: Nov 17, 2019

The origin story of Looking Glass is at last revealed, as is the truth behind the greatest hoax in American history. Far away, The Smartest Man In The World plots a daring escape.

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Air date: Nov 24, 2019

Under the influence of Nostalgia, Angela gets an intimate account of her grandfather's journey.

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Air date: Dec 1, 2019

Under Lady Trieu's care, Angela undergoes an unconventional treatment while Agent Blake chases down a lead. Elsewhere, The Smartest Man in The World delivers a stunning defense of his past actions.

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Air date: Dec 8, 2019

Angela's mysterious past in Vietnam is at last revealed.

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Air date: Dec 15, 2019

Season 1 finale. Everything ends, for real this time.

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News & Interviews for Watchmen: Season 1

Critic Reviews for Watchmen Season 1

All Critics (115) | Top Critics (40)

Sunday night on HBO, I saw something I thought I'd never see on television: the depiction of a dark day in American history that not many know about-the Tulsa massacre.

Oct 25, 2019 | Full Review…

Based on the episodes I've seen, it's too early to tell whether Lindelof can make the show's enigmas pay off in a satisfying way, but so far, I'm ready to give him the chance.

Oct 24, 2019 | Full Review…

Lindelof's work will either add up to the coolest, most intricate dramatic series this side of Westworld or the biggest swing-and-a-miss in recent television history.

Oct 23, 2019 | Full Review…

An energetic, unruly show with a very concise and ambitious objective.

Oct 18, 2019 | Full Review…

Watchmen is a thrilling and scintillating series that is sure to find armies of fans, old and new, who will undoubtedly be besotted.

Oct 21, 2019 | Full Review…

Sublime and absurd. It's a symphony in which the loudest note in every bar is proudly out of key. The plane it portrays, an alternative-history America in 2019, is at once disturbingly peculiar and unmistakably our own.

Oct 21, 2019 | Full Review…

No show speaks to our time better than "Watchmen" with themes of police brutality and white supremacy set against the Tulsa Massacre.

Sep 22, 2020 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

One of the best TV series of 2019, with an incredibly fierce and memorable performance from Regina King!

Aug 26, 2020 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

Fans of Moore's book will not be disappointed, while a new generation not familiar with its characters or the story should be inspired too.

Jul 31, 2020 | Full Review…

Watchmen centers Black trauma in a way few other shows have and follows the inherited pain of Black Americans through decades of oppression.

Jun 19, 2020 | Full Review…

Showrunner Damon Lindelof has pulled off a thermo-dynamic miracle, not unlike turning lead into gold.

Jun 11, 2020 | Full Review…

Watchmen puts disparate things next to each other and admirably eschews didacticism by asking us to decide the relationship between them....

Mar 19, 2020 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Watchmen: Season 1

  • Dec 14, 2020
    Awesome. Damon Lindelof is only getting better and better about incorporating the mystical without fully explaining it and ruining it as a result. It's a shame this was review bombed at the debut because cry babies didn't like that white supremacists were mad out to be the bad guys. LOL (Side note, it's a little more nuanced then that but that was the framing at the premier and it ultimately held true to be fair) Basically, if you enjoy serious dramas that require full attention to be fully appreciated, such as The Wire, Breaking Bad, True Detective, The Leftovers, etc and you also enjoy superhero stories, this might be for you. If you're more of a casual viewer, who wants to be able to walk out of the room and not really have missed a beat, I would NOT recommend this.
  • Dec 01, 2020
    This is only my second exposure to this franchise. I have never really heard of Watchmen, so I can't really judge as a fan. I can only judge as a casual observer and film-lover. I feel like this could have done by the same people who did "Lovecraft Country". Too much of it stylistically is the same. As someone who is not intimate with the Watchmen comics, it was very interesting. I thought it was done well, and the craftsmanship was excellent. I can also see why the audience reviews are low. The social issues are heavy-handed in this piece. The erotic scenes are too much to swallow. I get it. It is quite an exaggeration of what is going on in this country. It can irritate you if you feel like your own views are being attacked in this film. I am definitely not as liberal as the creators of this show, but I can separate my personal views and simply judge it as a piece of art. And as a piece of art, it was put together exceptionally well.
  • Sep 22, 2020
    Oh look, yet another far-left propaganda hit piece! How exciting.
  • Sep 21, 2020
    Just another excuse to make political statements as oppose to a tv show.
  • Sep 17, 2020
    Exceptional in every way; thematically rich, aesthetically breathtaking, and emotionally devastating. Written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Dave Gibbons, Watchmen (1986) is well-known for its deconstruction of the superhero genre, dismantling and interrogating virtually every generic trope so as to question the very purpose of such stories. At the same time, its depiction of Cold War paranoia and condemnation of right-wing idolatry are front and centre without ever seeming forced. Created by Damon Lindelof (co-creator of Lost and The Leftovers), the most significant thing about this adaptation is that it isn't an adaptation; it's an original story set 33 years after the events of the comic. And is it any good? It's not as good as The Leftovers (what is?), but it is an exceptional piece of work. The acting is immense, the writing is challenging, the aesthetic is stunning. All in all, Watchmen is that rarest of beasts – a show which lives up to the hype. Familiarity with the plot of the original isn't a requirement so as to appreciate the sequel, as you're given all the world-building back-info you need, but it can certainly help you get the most out of Lindelof's intricate narrative and thematic tapestry, especially in the earlier episodes. The world of Watchmen is a slightly different version of our world, in which the 1930s saw the rise of "costumed adventurers"; ordinary people who took to the streets to fight crime. The show is set in Tulsa, OK in 2018. White supremacist groups have been on the rise, and police are now allowed to wear masks and remain anonymous. In essence, the story follows the fallout from a murder, which is soon discovered to be much more complex than originally thought. Lindelof has stated that he wanted to tackle whatever socio-political issue that was to 2019 as the Cold War was to 1985, and to him, it "felt like it was undeniably race and policing". Politically then, the show does much the same thing as the comic did – it deploys a real-world socio-political problem in a not quite 1:1 fictional milieu. In Reagan's America, it was apocalyptic Cold War paranoia, whereas in Trump's Divided States, it's the rise of right-wing extremism. The theme of white and black comes up time and again throughout the series. For example, in "An Almost Religious Awe", a member of the KKK offshoot, Seventh Kavalry, asserts that "white men in masks are heroes. Black men in masks are scary," whilst in "See How They Fly", another member of the group proclaims, "it is extremely difficult to be a white man in America right now". In the same episode, speaking of the President, who has introduced a system of reparations, it's stated, "first he took our guns. And then he made us say sorry. Over and over again. Sorry. Sorry for the alleged sins of those who died decades before we were born. Sorry for the colour of our skin." Another major theme is how racial tensions are manifested in law enforcement. As the show begins, we're watching Trust in the Law, a 1921 Oscar Micheaux film about Deputy Bass Reeves, aka The Black Marshal (Bass Reeves was a real marshal and Micheaux was a real director, although Trust in the Law is not a real film). Here, the bad guy wears white (and is white) and the good guy wears black (and is black), thus inverting assumptions. The first scene set in 2018 does something similar as a menacing black cop pulls over a nervous white driver. These two scenes form a beautiful bit of visual story-telling, establishing the centrality of racial tensions, conveying that such things are often more complex than they appear. The show's aesthetic, especially, the cinematography and editing, is also worthy of praise. "This Extraordinary Being", for example, is shot primarily in black and white, and takes place in the 30s and 40s, with the cinematography employing the odd bit of colour here and there within the black and white photography to focus our attention on particular objects. As for "A God Walks Into Abar", if you're interested in learning about editing, watch this episode. Cut by Henk Van Eeghan, it essentially tries to give a visual representation of how Doctor Manhattan experiences time – with every moment in his existence happening all at once, so he can 'remember' things that haven't happened yet. It's a spellbinding exercise in stylistic control, with flawless time jumps that fold organically into one another to form a single cohesive template. Watchmen is an exceptionally good show. There will be fans of the comic who'll dislike it on principle. There will also be those who accuse it of pandering to a liberal PC agenda, and there'll be those who simply don't like the idea of a Watchman TV show with a black woman at its centre. Make no mistake, however, this show has been put together by people who know, appreciate, love, and understand the comic. Thematically complex, aesthetically breathtaking, brilliantly acted, Watchmen is an exceptional piece of television.
  • Sep 13, 2020
    A truly great show, that mostly justifies its existence, and it does a great job respecting the source material.
  • Sep 10, 2020
    A perfect show in every way.
  • Sep 06, 2020
    Was so boring and nonsensical. Such boring writing. I usually don't differ with critics much, but definitely did on this one.
  • Sep 05, 2020
    The best of television this year starts with the words THE WATCHMEN and goes from there. What amazing work. THIS IS THE WRITER'S ROOM I WANTED TO HAVE A CAMERA IN!!
  • Aug 31, 2020
    Absolutely loved the way the series was structured on the back of the original (Synder's film, not Moore's original, original). In essence (or in aptly delivered message) an origin story of all origin stories for Watchmen and one that could not be more fitting for the current times. Stellar screenplay, production value, and, of course, acting: Regina King - powerful Emmy-worthy performance; Jeremy Irons - a picture-perfect elder 'Adrian Veidt'; Louis Gossett Jr. in one of the best performances of his long career - will take home an Emmy easily; Jean Smart - add to her work in 'Legion' preceding this and it's tremendous; Don Johnson, Hong Chau, et al. Brilliant job all-around.

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