Breaking News: Alan Moore Still Doesn't Like, Hasn't Watched Watchmen

Ever since HBO and Damon Lindelof's pseudo-sequel spinoff/remix of writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons & colorist John Higgins' Watchmen, we've been holding out hope of a second season of some kind. Wanna guess who isn't? It's one of the four names you just read. Need a hint? The name rhymes with "Alan Moore." By now, you know how it works. Moore has something to promote (in this case, his collection of stories, Illuminations), so he has to do interviews and press stuff like that. And since Moore notoriously hates anything and everything having to do with his works being adapted, the press is going to ask him about… wait for it… how he feels about his works being adapted. Now, nothing sells books better than "shock-jock"-like quotes, so Moore gives them what they want. Moore's books sales go up. The news sites (like us) covering it scoop up eyeballs. Everybody wins… right? No, not really. In fact, my blood pressure and that very last nerve of mine that Moore dances on sometimes see things a bit different. Look, Moore had the chance to pass on the question since he was supposedly tired of the topic, so let's dive into it…

Image: HBO

Just so everyone's cards are on the table? BCTV voted HBO's Watchmen one of the best shows of the year, while Moore is about to shit-talk a multi-Emmy Award-winning series that he admits he hasn't watched or would ever watch… just like every other adaptation. "I would be the last person to want to sit through any adaptations of my work. From what I've heard of them, it would be enormously punishing. It would be torturous and for no very good reason," Moore was quoted as saying during his interview with GQ. But if you're looking for the real big bad in all of this? Look no further than Lindelof, who dared reach out to… touch The Hand of God! I'm sorry… not God. Scratch that. I know some of you reading this get them confused, so I don't want to add to that. No, apparently, Lindelof reached out for a potential icebreaker with Moore that included a note where Lindelof began with some self-deferential humor.

"There was an incident—probably a concluding incident, for me. I received a bulky parcel through Federal Express that arrived here in my sedate little living room. It turned out to contain a powder blue barbecue apron with a hydrogen symbol on the front," Moore shared regarding the incident. Side note? Two things? First, "incident"? Really? Really? Second, that part about "concluding incident"? Does anyone believe that Moore was on the fence about the matter, but this was the deal-breaker? Sharing that it was a "frank letter" sent by the HBO series' showrunner (that would be Lindelof), Moore laid out how the exchange between the two went and how receptive he was to Lindelof's outreach. "But the letter, I think it opened with, 'Dear Mr. Moore, I am one of the bastards currently destroying Watchmen.' That wasn't the best opener. It went on through a lot of what seemed to me to be neurotic rambling. 'Can you at least tell us how to pronounce 'Ozymandias'?' I got back with a very abrupt and probably hostile reply telling him that I'd thought that Warner Brothers were aware that they, nor any of their employees, shouldn't contact me again for any reason," Moore recounted, adding, "I explained that I had disowned the work in question, and partly that was because the film industry and the comics industry seemed to have created things that had nothing to do with my work but which would be associated with it in the public mind. I said, 'Look, this is embarrassing to me. I don't want anything to do with you or your show. Please don't bother me again.'"

Image: HBO

And then the television community dared to bestow awards upon this blasphemy! In fact, it would go on to win 11 Primetime Emmy Awards, including Best Limited Series; Regina King for Best Actress for a Limited Series; and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II for Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series (the most for any show in 2020). But that's because they didn't get the genius that is Moore, so they dumbed it down for television purposes. At least that's how it sounds when I read, "When I saw the television industry awards that the 'Watchmen' television show had apparently won, I thought, 'Oh, god, perhaps a large part of the public, this is what they think 'Watchmen' was?' They think that it was a dark, gritty, dystopian superhero franchise that was something to do with white supremacism. Did they not understand 'Watchmen'?" Just to be clear, just so the people in the cheap seats can update their scorecards? Moore admits he hasn't seen it. And yet, it's trash. Yet, somehow? I just can't shake this feeling that Moore wouldn't appreciate folks trashing his works without having ever experienced them. It's the on-the-table hypocrisy that gets excused away because we want to apply a "genius" title to those we fan-boy and fan-girl over that makes my eye twitch.

But at least Moore was kind enough to explain to us why no one will ever be able to adapt Moore's works properly. Gosh darn it! We're just not smart enough to get him. Damn you for not being up to his standards, people! "'Watchmen' was nearly 40 years ago and was relatively simple in comparison with a lot of my later work. What are the chances that they broadly understood anything since? This tends to make me feel less than fond of those works. They mean a bit less in my heart." You're making Moore sad, you horrible creative people types. I hope you're happy.

A Look Back at Bleeding Cool's Watchmen Reviews

Bleeding Cool praised how powerful the Nicole Kassell (Castle Rock)-directed series premiere "It's Summer and We're Running Out of Ice" was (review here), while "Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship" kept the momentum going by deepening the conspiracies at play (review here). Jean Smart's Agent Laurie Blake took center stage in "She Was Killed by Space Junk", elevating the tension while serving as "devil's advocate" (review here).

"If You Don't Like My Story, Write Your Own" (review here), introduced us to Lady Trieu (Hong Chau), saw Angela (Regina King) look to Looking Glass (Tim Blake Nelson) for help when things started hitting too close to home and revealed how Adrian (Jeremy Irons) "trains" new servants as his escape attempts continued We learned Wade Tillman aka Looking Glass' "origin story" (and possibly his final days) in "Little Fear of Lightning" (our review here), as Agent Blake places Angela under arrest but not before she goes "nostalgic".

Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen (Image: HBO).
Watchmen (Image: HBO).

Angela comes to understand her true past and the truth about "This Extraordinary Being" Will (Louis Gossett Jr. – review here), a truth that starts with the formation of the Minutemen. "An Almost Religious Awe" (our review here) brought with it the major reveal that Dr. Manhattan has been with us the entire time, and he's a major part of the Seventh Kalvary's plan.

With the penultimate episode "A God Walks into Abar" (review here), we were offered a look back at the seeds of Angela and "Cal's" tragic (and apocalyptic) love story – the heart of our series. Which brought us to season/series finale "See How They Fly", where the machinations of the Seventh Kalvary, Sen. Keene, Lady Trieu, "Calhattan", Adrian, Angela, and Agent Laurie come to a head – as the world of Lindelof's Watchmen comes to an end… and to a beginning (review here).

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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