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What Should the Watchmen TV Series Do Differently Than The Movie?

Before Watchmen

Lindelof can also draw material from Before Watchmen, the controversial prequel stories set in the Watchmen universe DC Comics commissioned without Alan Moore's approval. While met with umbrage from many corners of fandom, Before Watchmen was financially successful and top creators like J. Michael Straczynski, Darwyn Cooke, and Amanda Conner brought their A-game to the series, taking up the mission to further explore and shed new light on the various corners of the Watchmen universe.

Before Watchmen's multiple series explored Rorschach's grim life as a vigilante in the 1980s, teamed up Rorschach and the second Nite-Owl in the 1970s, showed us the rebellious teen years of a young Laurie Jupiter trying to escape the domineering control of her mother Sally Jupiter in the 1960's, explored the relationship between the Comedian and the Kennedys (Snyder's film fingered the Comedian as the true assassin of JFK), and brought us into the mindset of Adrian Veidt as he was preparing his ultimate master plan in 1985. Adapting all of these period settings would be a huge challenge in terms of production, but it would make Watchmen unlike anything else currently on television.

In fact, Lindelof's use of flashbacks to illuminate each how each character ended up on the island on Lost is a perfect template for how he could do the same for the Watchmen. Lindelof's series could potentially leave linear storytelling behind in favor of giving each individual Watchmen character dedicated episodes to further delve into their personal histories and motivations that still link back to whatever the main narrative of the season is. There's also nothing stopping Lindelof from eschewing Before Watchmen's stories and crafting his own tales of each character's pasts, which would create further unexpected surprises for the audience.

More Minutemen

Minutemen Watchmen

The history of the first masked adventurers, the Minutemen, not only provides rich context and counterpoint to the 'main' characters like Rorschach, Doctor Manhattan, Ozymandias, and Silk Spectre, but they are arguably more interesting than their costumed successors. Using the text of Hollis Mason's "Under the Hood" autobiography as a jumping off point - and perhaps taking some cues from Darwyn Cooke's Before Watchmen: Minutemen miniseries - Lindelof could fully explore how a diverse group of do-gooders in the late 1930s and 1940s came to decide to put on masks and silly costumes and fight crime, and the havoc that ensued on their lives as a result.

Certainly, major events from the Minutemen's history like Edward Blake's attempted rape of Sally Jupiter had a profound effect on their successors, the Watchmen. Lindelof could take the time to really explore the complicated relationship between Blake and Sally Jupiter. What's more, HBO is a venue where Watchmen wouldn't have to shy away from taking a hard look at the secret relationship between Captain Metropolis and Hooded Justice, the alcoholism and mental deterioration of Mothman, the murder of Dollar Bill (who was shot to death when he got his cape caught in a revolving door while trying to foil a bank robbery), and the brutal execution of Silhouette and her lesbian lover. Through it all, there was Hollis Mason, the stalwart good soldier who watched it all happen and lived to write a book about it. Snyder's movie could only hint at the sordid and tragic history of the Minutemen, but Lindelof's series can truly do the stories of the Minutemen justice.

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