A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Watchmen is a dark superhero drama made for a mature audience. Though not a strict adaptation, it's based on the 1995 comic book by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons -- a graphic novel that inspired others to look at superheroes as flawed human beings rather than pure "good guys." Most of the masked characters in Watchmen don't have actual superpowers, but their goal is to improve the world around them. It features a lot of violence, including gunfights, bombings, and murders, as well as terrorism and racially-motivated violence. Sexual content is strong, with full nudity and simulated sex. The show intends to tell a complex story about race and class in America, and is more intense than your standard superhero tale.
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What's the story?
WATCHMEN takes place in a parallel universe where masked superheroes (vigilantes) have been outlawed and presidential term limits do not exist in the United States. Under leadership by Robert Redford, president since 1992, American legislature has been giving financial reparations to citizens who have been victims of racial injustice -- which has reignited racial tensions throughout the country. In one event, during a routine traffic stop, a police officer is murdered by a man suspected to be affiliated with the Seventh Kavalry, signaling the return of the long-dormant white supremacist group. The police (who are allowed to wear masks themselves) begin working with a cadre of masked vigilantes, including Sister Night (Regina King), to bring the shooter to justice.
Is it any good?
This ambitious series attempts to tell a very different, complex American story in which masked heroes play a significant part. It's interesting that it arrives at a time when superhero content is the dominant form of entertainment in America. Watchmen feels a lot like some of producer Damon Lindelof's other work -- Lost and The Leftovers, specifically -- in that it weaves together a variety of storylines, genres and points of view into an incredibly elaborate story. With a strong cast and a seemingly fearless storytelling style, Watchmen could become as legendary as the classic it's based upon.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about superheroes. How do you expect superheroes to act, typically? How do the characters of Watchmen act like superheroes? What are the ways in which they don't?
What clues does Watchmen give you about the history of this alternate world? What do you know about what has happened in the past? How does the past affect the characters in the present?
Do you think violence is necessary to tell this particular story effectively? Why or why not?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love dark superhero stories
Themes & Topics
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