The Watchmen miniseries that served as a sequel to the graphic novel and aired on HBO has met its harshest critic. To no one’s surprise, it is creator Alan Moore himself who disapproved of the adaptation and openly disowns it.
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Moore went into detail in an interview with GQ Magazine about a letter he received from the miniseries showrunner Damon Lindelof. “Dear Mr. Moore, I am one of the bastards currently destroying ‘Watchmen,’” it opened.
“That wasn’t the best opener,” Moore said. “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’?”
The writer went on to admit his response might have been hostile but it was emphatic that he didn’t want to be contacted. “I got back with a very abrupt and probably hostile reply telling him that I’d thought that Warner Bros. [was] aware that they, nor any of their employees, shouldn’t contact me again for any reason,” Moore added.
He would reiterate his request while also calling the show embarrassing. “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,” he said.
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“I said, ‘Look, this is embarrassing to me,” Moore would continue. “’I don’t want anything to do with you or your show. Please don’t bother me again.’”
Lindelof’s Watchmen went on to be a hit with critics and at the Emmys, where the star Regina King won big, but Moore didn’t see the appeal. “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?’” he pondered.
“They think that it was a dark, gritty, dystopian superhero franchise that was something to do with white supremacism,” he continued. “‘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.”
As such, Moore has never seen either HBO’s Watchmen or Zack Snyder’s adaptation of the graphic novel. Likewise, he is notoriously adamant about not watching any adaptation of his tales. “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,” he explained.
Watchmen, both the HBO miniseries produced by Damon Lindelof and the film directed by Snyder, are currently available on HBO Max.
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