In HBO’s new series Watchmen, Regina King plays Angela Abar aka Sister Night in an alternate reality where Robert Redford has been President for 30 years and police officers in Tulsa, Oklahoma wear masks to protect their identities. The world of Watchmen was created in 1986 as a comic book series written by Alan Moore, but he’s distanced himself from the show made by Lost creator Damon Lindeloff. The puzzling spin-off/sequel mixes issues of race and politics with sci-fi and mystery— with wonderful performances by an accomplished cast of actors, anchored by the Emmy and Academy Award winning King. Here’s five reasons you should get caught up.
Regina King is a Badass.
Angela Abar, aka Sister Night, is a baker by day and masked detective for Tusla PD by night. In the series, Angela struggles to protect her husband (played by Aquaman's Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and their three adopted children from the dangers of her job while a mysterious conspiracy rolls into her life to disrupt everything.
"Watchmen" Depicts Real Moments in Black History.
Although Watchmen is set in a fictional 2019, some real historical events are brought to life. Episode one dramatizes the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and subsequent destruction of Black Wall Street; while episode two incorporates real German propaganda leaflets dropped on African American soldiers during World War I. These leaflets attempted to exploit the injustices African American servicemen faced back home and get them to defect to the German side. Throughout the show, race is intentionally an underlying theme and series creator Damon Lindeloff says, in the official Watchmen podcast, that he was inspired by the aftermath of the race riots in Charlottesville in August 2017.
Regina King Has a Great Supporting Cast
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, best known from Aquaman and the "Striking Vipers" episode of Black Mirror, plays Regina King’s husband Cal Abar. Emmy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr. plays a mysterious elderly man clad in red and blue. Jeremy Irons, probably best known as the voice of Scar in the original Lion King plays an eccentric character who's purposed hasn't been revealed but sure to be impactful. There are even a few cameos from historian Henry Louis Gates. Jr who plays himself as the US Treasury Secretary.
The Series is Wonderfully Confusing—Every Answer Raises New Questions.
The aforementioned Jeremy Irons’ storyline is just one of the many mysteries the show presents. Watchmen does a masterful job of balancing questions and answers so the viewers always have something to mull over after an episode ends. As the storylines unfold, readers of the original comic book, or people who only saw the 2009 movie, are being introduced to a whole new world.
Its Storylines Are Informed by Black Literature
In the alternate universe of Watchmen, President Redford has granted reparations to descendants of the ‘21 Tulsa Massacre. No doubt inspired by the Affordable Care Act being dubbed ‘Obamacare’ in real life, this fictional legislation is referred to antagonistically as “Redford-ations." The series creator mentions in the official podcast that Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2014 Atlantic feature, “The Case for Reparations," provided much of the context for the reparations story thread. Lindeloff also mentions Coates' Between the World and Me as inspiration. Lindeloff also credits The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 written by white author Tim Madigan for his recreation of the attack on Black Wall Street.