Though the wonderful wizard of Northampton may strike me down, I must confess: HBO's new Watchmen series is really, really good. I would argue that it actually has more in common with Moore's adaptive approach to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen—alluding to some established literary canon, but remixing the elements into a story all its own.
Just as the original comic featured news clips and other articles at the end of every issue, the TV show has an online "Peteypedia," a collection of supporting text documents that exist within the world of the series. For example: a social work pamphlet about "Extra-dimensional Anxiety and You." This is, of course, supposed to be a reference to the climactic events of the 30-year-old graphic novel, where a (fake) squid-like alien is sent through an extra-dimensional portal into the middle of Manhattan, killing millions of people, traumatizing millions more with telepathic psychological damage, and, ultimately ending the Cold War by uniting USA and USSR against a common enemy.
But honestly it…just kind of sounds like living in the United States in 2019 in our own reality. The pamphlet warns of the common PTSD-like symptoms of EDA such as flashbacks and obsessive rumination; hyperavoidance and hypervigilance; negative changes in identity, relationships, or worldview; and paranoia, thrill-seeking, or suicidal thoughts. While, yes, it is supposed to be a somewhat-satirical riff on the generic language of support groups, it also feels like an accurate and relatable description of social media in the Trump years.
Consider this both a recommendation of the show, and a strangely comforting reminder that we may in fact be living on the Darkest Timeline after all. We may not have fake alien squids to torture our dreams, but we do have the President's Twitter account.
Extra-dimensional Anxiety and You [HBO's Watchmen/Peteypedia]
Screenshot from HBO's Watchmen
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