Among the many limited series comic books DC have produced over the years, none has become as influential as the ‘Watchmen’ series. With its vastly interesting characters like Dr. Manhattan and Rorschach, ‘Watchmen‘ offer us much more than simple superhero stories that are crowded by characters who hardly have any complexities in their personalities. The 2009 Zack Snyder film also brilliantly captures the world that the Watchmen live in, finely weaving neat details of existing in an alternate history with the stories of these characters. When it was first announced that HBO is coming out with a Watchmen TV series, excitements skyrocketed among fans. Damon Lindelof, who is one of the co-creators of the iconic TV series ‘Lost’ is the one who has developed the story of the TV series for HBO.
In the ‘Watchmen’ series, the world in which the original story takes place has remained the same. But the story which we see is completely different. In this alternative universe, masked vigilantes have been declared unlawful by the government, and this has led to a division between the superheroes, with some trying to organize a revolution to counter this crackdown by the government while the others are eager to not let this revolution spread and cause destruction of any sort. In this world, Robert Redford (the actor playing himself) is the President who has been at the position since 1992. The story kicks off with a white supremacist group wearing Rorschach masks to carry out their activities. The characters of this series are amazingly written. They are complex, with fine backstories, and philosophies of their own. The story is brimming with rich cultural references and does add some impressive narratives to the already brilliant canon of ‘Watchmen’. If you have enjoyed watching ‘Watchmen’, here are some other shows you might want to check out. You can watch many of these tv series like ‘Watchmen’ on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
7. Watchmen: Motion Comic (2008)
If you are eager to know about the original stories of Watchmen, this is the series you should opt for. ‘Watchmen: Motion Comic’ is similar in its storyline to the 2009 film, with it also beginning with Rorschach investigating the death of the Comedian. Rorschach is eager to find out why a number of masked vigilantes are being killed off late. This sets off a series of events that threaten the lives of the Watchmen themselves. Dr. Manhattan, who can be present everywhere at the same time, is himself baffled with the turn of events. The series comprises of 12 such episodes of 25-30 minutes in length. The series sticks to the source material and is brilliant for someone who wants to be acquainted with the Watchmen for the first time.
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6. The Leftovers (2014-2017)
Though ‘The Leftovers’ is not a superhero show per se, but it has some obvious similarities with ‘Watchmen’ and that is exactly the reason this series finds itself on this list. The story of this series is set in the town of Mapleton, New York. Due to some mysterious phenomenon, 140 million people, which accounts for around 2% of the earth’s population, have suddenly gone missing. After this incident, many religious and philosophical views around the world have gone through a massive change. Two major cults have come up- the Guilty Remnants, who are chain-smoking nihilists always wearing white, and another one led by a certain Holy Wayne, who is propagating the belief that he is Christ himself, who has arrived on the earth for the second time. The story of the show revolves around two families across three seasons. And it is through observing these two families that we try and understand how this phenomenon has affected human beings. Just like ‘Watchmen’, ‘The Leftovers’ is also in an alternate reality where we see how things change massively because of one small incident. All three seasons of the show are brilliantly made. The mood and the settings perfectly capture the bleak reality in which this story is set.
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5. Preacher (2016-2019)
‘Preacher‘ is the story of Jesse Custer, who was once an outlaw, but now has taken over the responsibility of running a church on the advice of his father. Jesse loves smoking and drinking, and we slowly begin to realize that the life of a preacher is not something he can carry on doing. Change soon comes to Jesse’s life in the form of a superpower which he knows nothing about. Confused, Jesse goes on a journey along with his girlfriend and an Irish vagabond called Cassidy in order to discover the presence of God in one form or the other. ‘Preacher’ employs a mock-serious tone and is mainly a dark comedy that is quite different from the usual superhero shows that we see.
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4. Constantine (2014-2015)
The character of John Constantine belongs to the DC Universe. He is a complex character who simply cannot be categorized as good or bad. However, Constantine’s intentions as a demon catcher are to catch those evil spirits and creatures who might otherwise spread death and destruction upon the earth. However, whatever he does is to save his own soul from what we can call the “eternal torment”. The character of this occult detective is brilliantly portrayed by Matt Ryan. He has made John Constantine so famous that even after the series dedicated to him ended, the character went on to become one of the leading members of the cast of the hit CW series ‘Legends Of Tomorrow‘. The series ‘Constantine’ is also quite enjoyable to say the least. The neo-noirish setting, coupled with solid action sequences, atmospheric cinematography and its unique brand of humor make this series a rather entertaining watch.
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3. Good Omens (2019-)
When Armageddon is near, an angel called Aziraphale and a demon called Crowley are the ones who have to do something in order to save the world from obvious disaster. However, in order to do so, these two characters need to find the Antichrist. He is believed to be a young boy of around 11 years of age who is not even aware of the potential of destruction that he carries within him. If he is not found before the day of the Armageddon arrives, the destruction it will cause will end the lives of every living being on earth. Michael Sheen and David Tennant are both brilliant in their roles as Aziraphale and Crowley respectively. It is only because of their brilliant chemistry that the series works so well. Neil Gaiman does manage to bring out the aesthetics of his writing onto the screenplay of the series as well.
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2. The Umbrella Academy (2019-)
One of the most unique superhero shows of all time, ‘The Umbrella Academy‘ is a Netflix original series based on the comic book series created by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá. The story begins in a time when suddenly 43 women give birth all across the world without even having shown any sign of pregnancy before that. Among those kids, seven are adopted by a certain billionaire called Sir Reginald Hargreeves. He then raises them up as superheroes to protect the earth from all sorts of evil. After this backstory is given, we are brought to the present day where these kids are now adults and have come together for the funeral of Sir Hargreaves. It is during this get-together that one of them tells the others that an apocalypse is imminent and the earth might get completely destroyed if all of them do not join forces and work towards protecting it. The series works mainly because of its brilliant cinematography and sets, but it suffers from using unimaginative genre tropes which we have often seen in many superhero films and TV shows.
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1. The Boys (2019-)
‘The Boys‘ is a show where superheroes have lost all their credibility. Here, the superheroes are people owned by a big corporation, and they are more interested in appearing for commercials than they are to fight crimes. Tired of this complete lack of empathy on the part of these superheroes, a few blue-collared men have decided to take matters into their own hands. This group of men are out there to teach these arrogant superheroes who are hardly heroes when it comes to doing something good. This series paints a cynical picture of the world, but becomes a rather interesting watch because of the way superheroes are depicted here.