Watchmen's own creator isn't a big fan of the HBO series (or any adaptation of the graphic novel).
In an interview with GQ Magazine, Alan Moore revealed that he'd been less than thrilled when he was contacted by the HBO series' showrunner during Watchmen's development. Moore says the letter began "Dear Mr. Moore, I am one of the bastards currently destroying Watchmen."
"That wasn't the best opener," Moore said, referring to the letter likely written by showrunner Damon Lindelof. "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 Bros. were aware that they, nor any of their employees, shouldn’t contact me again for any reason."
"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," continued Moore. "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.'"
HBO's Watchmen, which featured a star-studded ensemble including Regina King, Don Johnson, Jeremy Irons, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jean Smart, Tim Blake Nelson, and more, earned some 11 Emmy Awards and 26 nominations in 2019, including Outstanding Limited Series. The miniseries might have been a massive success for HBO, Moore was less than impressed by its accolades (despite never having watched the show).
"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," said Moore.
"Did they not understand Watchmen? 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?" he continued. He also does not plan on watching the award-winning adaptation, or any others. "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."
Watchmen is streaming on HBO Max.
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Jade Budowski is a freelance writer with a knack for ruining punchlines and harboring dad-aged celebrity crushes. She was previously a reporter/producer at Decider and is a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow her on Twitter: @jadebudowski.