'Watchmen' Podcast: What to Know Before HBO's Dangerous Superhero Drama

Watchmen Still 3- HBO Publicity-H 2019
Courtesy of HBO

Welcome back to Series RegularThe Hollywood Reporter's weekly podcast dedicated to diving deep into hit TV shows. 

Every episode of Series Regular comes courtesy of Josh Wigler (that's me!) and takes a closer look at the genre television space — and for the next several weeks, it's all about one space in particular: Watchmen, the new HBO drama based on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' seminal graphic novel of the same name. Wigler and co-host Antonio Mazzaro of Post Show Recaps fame will provide weekly podcast coverage of Watchmen, following each and every round of the nine-episode first season.

Debuting Sunday and coming your way from the mind of Lost and The Leftovers creator Damon Lindelof, Watchmen exists within the universe of Moore and Gibbons' comic book series but takes place 30 years later. It's set in an alternate-history 2019, where Robert Redford has been president since the 1990s, there are no cellphones, there is no internet and the police officers in Tulsa, Oklahoma, assume the guises of masked alter-egos to keep their secret identities safe. Their enemy: the Seventh Kalvary, a white supremacist group who wear masks of their own, having appropriated the likeness of Rorschach, the late no-compromises crimefighter from the original comic book.

Rorschach himself is not a main player on HBO's Watchmen, though there are others from Moore and Gibbons' work with important roles: Jean Smart plays Laurie Blake, formerly known as Silk Spectre; Jeremy Irons plays a man officially designated as "Lord of the Manor," though virtually all onlookers believe him to Adrian Veidt, alias Ozymandias; and trailers have indicated an eventual Doctor Manhattan sighting, though no official word on casting or other details quite yet.

But the bulk of Watchmen explores the new world created by Lindelof and his fleet of writers and filmmakers, including Regina King as Angela Abar, alias Sister Night, and Tim Blake Nelson as Looking Glass. Those two characters, alongside so many others, are the heart of HBO's Watchmen, having come of age in the shadow of the gigantic telepathic squid that killed millions of New Yorkers so many years ago — and yes, a gigantic telepathic squid killed millions of New Yorkers in the world of Watchmen, which you might not know if your only familiarity with the material is Zack Snyder's 2009 film adaptation. Lindelof's show takes its cues from Moore and Gibbons' comic — and takes them deeply. 

Given the deep roots in the source material, Watchmen newcomers are strongly advised to either read the graphic novel in advance, or at least do some research before diving into the HBO drama — but here's another option: Subscribe to Series Regular for weekly Watchmen coverage, as Wigler and Mazzaro (the podcast pair behind Post Show Recaps' Mr. Robot and The Leftovers coverage) provide weekly insight into Lindelof's latest effort, digging back into the archives of the comic and looking closer at the new details weaving in and out of this world.

Listen to a trailer for the Watchmen podcast below, and subscribe to make sure you don't miss an installment once the HBO drama bows Sunday. Follow Wigler on Twitter at @roundhoward, and send suggestions for future topics and questions to SeriesRegular@THR.com.

Series Regular is part of THR's roster of podcasts, including TV's Top 5, the weekly TV news analysis podcast hosted by West Coast TV editor Lesley Goldberg and chief TV critic Daniel Fienberg; Awards Chatter, Scott Feinberg's weekly in-depth (and award-winning) interview show focusing on the most interesting talents of the Oscar and Emmy seasons; crafts expert Carolyn Giardina's weekly series, Behind the Screen, which explores the top artists and technologies creating film and TV magic; and Seth Abramovitch's monthly series, It Happened in Hollywood, which revisits indelible moments from 90 years of THR's entertainment history. Other podcasts are in the works.