Watchmen fans have been pining for a return to this world basically since the end of the first season. Considering the mark it left on viewers and the winding, layered and emotional story it told, there’s reason for fans to want a second helping of the story. But it appears, at least for now, HBO executives and creatives have basically agreed on the fate of the show going forward. And the news isn’t going to make anyone happy, because there are no immediate (or future) plans to bring back Watchmen for a second season.
This news about Watchmen most likely being a one-and-done show isn’t necessarily new, but the continued discussion is born more out of hope than anything else. Creator Damon Lindelof had been adamant and forthright from the beginning that he envisioned the show as only a single season, working to tell a complete story one time around rather than continually expanding the world.
According to HBO executive, Casey Bloys who oversees all programming for the platform confirmed that there are no plans to bring back the show. While he did say, “Never say never,” I think we can read it mostly as “never” when it comes to Watchmen.
Of course, fans have a right to be more than a little bummed about this continued lack of news around the show. Watchmen was among the best programs put out there over the last couple of years. It acted as basically a follow-up story (and spiritual successor) to the acclaimed graphic novel-turned movie of the same name. The show follows a variety of characters through an interconnected and deep narrative about power, race, family, fear, and reality. It was a borderline masterpiece that won Emmy Awards for Outstanding Limited Series, and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series (Regina King) among others.
Watchmen, as a series, did leave a few open questions by the time the limited series finished its season. But not many. The show was originally developed to tell one story and by the end, we had most loose ends tied up for the overall narrative. That’s an increasingly rare thing in television these days with many creatives wanting to ensure longer-running stories to keep a show around. But Damon Lindelof didn’t see it that way, choosing instead to create an original work that needed no further exploration.
It makes sense though that Damon Lindelof, in particular, would be hesitant about bringing Watchmen back for anything beyond a first season. It’s clear he’s drawing on the run from another of his critically-acclaimed and groundbreaking series, Lost. That show was widely criticized for taking a fantastic concept with amazing first season execution and playing out the string a little too far to appease the network.
What started as a cultural zeitgeist moment in television history, Lost devolved into a shark-jumping show by the time it was all said and done. Lindelof clearly wants to avoid this with a show he conceived, wrote, and brought to life in Watchmen.
There has been word of a possible Rorschach spin-off series on HBO, but those are only rumors at this point. For Watchmen fans, this might be the end of the line for the franchise.