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HBO’s Watchmen – A Timely Classic for Black America

What’s happening in America right now is heartbreaking, but I’m so happy to see so many people come together in support of the #BlackLivesMatter initiative and fight back against the racist system. All of you who are taking part in this protest, whether your posting about it in social media, going to rallies or donating to support groups, I’m so proud of all of you for finally standing up. I’m neither an American or a black person, but this is issue is beyond all race and culture – it is about our fight for humanity.

But still, since I’m not an American and the protests and their ramifications are still in a very premature state – I’m not willing to write about it explicitly yet. So here’s me instead telling you about a series that perfectly encapsulates the problems America is facing today as a whole – HBO’s Watchmen.

Damon Lindelof’s series that is a continuation of Alan Moore’s acclaimed graphic novel ‘Watchmen’, uses the template of the graphic novel and uses it to showcase the struggles of Black America, and with other timely issues . With story lines that deal with racism in America, White Supremacy and heinous crimes against Black people over centuries in America – Watchmen is really a timely classic for our times that you need to see. Let me tell you why.

(NOTE: While reading the original graphic novel helps since this is a continuation of that story, the show is good enough to stand on its own and you can watch it anyway. By the way, who hasn’t read Watchmen? It is considered to be the greatest comic book of all time. Go read Watchmen!)

Tulsa Race Massacre

Tulsa Race Massacre; 1921

Right away, the opening of Watchmen’s pilot sheds light on one the darkest days in American history, which will surely send chills down your spine. The Tulsa race massacre of 1921 took place on May 31 and June 1, 1921, when mobs of white residents attacked black residents and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It has been called “the single worst incident of racial violence in American history,” and yet it cannot be found in school textbooks and anyone barely knows about it. This Monday, we marked the 99th anniversary of the incident and yes, we’ve come a long way since 1921, but watching the incidents of violence against the people of the black community that are prevalent even today, I am just left wondering if we have made any progress at all.

Origin of Hooded Justice

Hooded Justice from comic panels

Watchmen begins with a young boy witnessing his parents die in the horrible Tulsa Race Massacre, and brilliantly sets up the origin story of Hooded Justice in one of the show’s best twists. It is revealed that Abar’s grandfather (the old dude who killed the police commissioner) is actually Hooded Justice, showcasing how vigilantism lies in their blood.

Louis Gossett Jr. as Hooded Justice

In episode 6, which is one of best scripted episodes of television I have seen, the tragic backstory of Hooded Justice is revealed as Abar consumes her grandfather’s nostalgia. The show makes changes to original mythology of Hooded Justice’s origins, and adds so much more depth to it. The show explores his tough times growing up alone and taking care of the baby he found on the day of the massacre, then how he fought in the war of USA even tough he was always treated unfair by his superiors and not given the honor he deserves and then how he eventually got a job as a police officer like he always wanted, but that was only for namesake – he still didn’t have any power over the whites who owned him. In fact he almost gets beaten to death by his peers, while his is face covered in mask and then hanged from a tree with a rope, for trying to arrest a rich white asshole.

Hooded Justice and the Minutemen

But the policemen don’t kill him, they just let him go with a warning – Don’t get your nose into white folk’s business. As he walks back to his house with a rope hanging from his neck, tortured and humiliated by his fellow officers like a dog, he sees a few mob men attacking a lonely couple. He puts his mask on and fights the bad guys – and thus Hooded Justice is born that night. To be honest, I have always thought that the Hooded Justice costume looked dumb, but what they did with it here is mind-blowing, and I gotta commend them for that. But he doesn’t wear a mask to be a superhero – he wears his mask to hide his racial identity because he feels society isn’t ready for it. He wears white makeup around his eyes so that nobody realizes that they are being saved by a black man and even after he joins the superhero team Minutemen, his racial identity remains unknown, and as far as the world knows – all the superheroes from history were White. Talk about whitewashing history.

Regina King as the Series Lead

Regina King in Watchmen

While the Watchmen graphic novel was revolutionary for it’s time, there were noticeably no black or characters of color and minority in the whole story. Also the only female character in the story was the one who was least developed in the story (and raped I might add). Damon Lindelof made it very clear that his intentions were to diversify Watchmen’s rich world and tell the story with modern sensibilities. Casting Regina King as the lead was a big part of that, and she absolutely nails the role. She’s a bad ass as the vigilante who works for the police and we all knew she was great performer, so the acting is top-notch. Watchmen went from being a book with no black characters to a show with a woman of color as the lead.

The Police in Watchmen’s World

The way the police are portrayed in Watchmen is very important to analyse considering the recent events regarding George Floyd’s death. Watchmen takes place in an alternate universe where the government is run by far-left politicians. So in this world, rather than the police exploiting the minorities, here we have the police being attacked by the racist white terrorists who feel they are being suppressed for not being able to use their ‘white privileges’ anymore. Thus, the police wear masks to hide their identities and they are just another part of the vigilante system in Tulsa. Also, an early scene in the show establishes how the police aren’t allowed to use guns anymore, unless a threat is verified, so that the department can reduce incidents of cop killings. We definitely need a check like that in our real world.

White Supremacists in Rorschach Masks

White Supremacists wearing Rorschach Masks in Watchmen

The white Supremacists form a cult in Watchmen’s world, who wear Rorschach masks in memory of their beloved misguided hero who believed in ‘Justice even in the face of Armageddon’. And what justice are they fighting for – loss of their white privilege or the humiliation in treating a black person equally?

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II’s Dr. Manhattan

Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen

Another revolutionary casting from the series came as a big surprise, as it was revealed Abar’s husband, played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, was secretly Dr. Manhattan in hiding. Apart from a black actor portraying a famous character from comics who is traditionally white, this change is immensely powerful for what they decide to do with Dr. Manhattan’s story line here. Yahya is amazing in the role, and plays Dr. Manhattan so good that he steals every scene he’s in. And like the original, Dr, Manhattan raises many questions of love, faith, destiny and time in the series that are worth analyzing and giving a deep thought to.

Regina King and Yahya Abdul-mateen II in Watchmen

Politics, Vigilantism, Philosophies and Watchmen

Watchmen Graphic Novel by Alan Moore

Watchmen has a long history of dealing with politics and asking philosophical questions – it is what made Alan Moore’s original graphic novel so famous. The graphic novel broke down the superhero genre and really analysed what it meant to be a superhero, and HBO’s adaptation continues this tradition. There’s so much to dig into and analyse in Watchmen, that if I were to discuss them all, I would need to write at least ten more posts on the show. So, in case you haven’t seen the show yet and are at the safety of your home – it is the perfect time for you to binge Watchmen on HBO. You’ll have a great time while subsequently get educated on some timely topics, and at the end you will be left with some heavy questions to ponder upon for hours.

Why you should get HBO Max.

With HBO Max launching tomorrow, a lot of you maybe be wondering whether you should spend your valuable bucks on the brand new premium streaming service. This article will tell you everything you need to know about the AT&T and Warner Media owned streaming service, so that you can decide for yourself if its worth the monthly subscription.

In this article:

  • HBO Max vs. HBO GO vs. HBO NOW
  • The Crown Jewels of HBO Max
  • DC CONTENT
  • HBO Max Originals
  • The Criterion Collection
  • Studio Ghibli and Crunchyroll Anime Collection
  • HBO Collection
  • Children’s Programming
  • Extensive Movie Library
  • Why you should get HBO Max

HBO Max vs. HBO Go vs. HBO Now

HBO Max vs. HBO Go vs. HBO Now. What should you pay for?

Since 2015, HBO NOW has been HBO’s standalone streaming service. For $15/mo., you get access to everything HBO’s ever made, plus a rotating collection of around more than a thousand movies. HBO Max will include everything that HBO NOW has for the same price, and so much more. Not only do you get everything that already available, but a whole bunch other big shows, movies and HBO Max Originals. If you’re already a HBO NOW subscriber, you’ll automatically be upgraded to HBO Max without any extra cost.

But for HBO GO subscribers, things are a little complicated. HBO GO is a streaming service included in HBO cable subscriptions and TV packages. It essentially allows HBO cable subscribers to stream the HBO content they’re already paying for, facilitating on-the-go viewing. If you get HBO through AT&T TV, DIRECTV, Hulu or Spectrum, you’ll automatically get an HBO Max subscription at no extra cost as soon as it launches. If you however don’t get HBO through the following service providers, you’ll need to pay the bucks for HBO Max.

To me, HBO Max is clearly the superior streaming platform, since you get so much more at practically the same price point. So, if you’re a HBO NOW or HBO GO subscriber, I would advice you to upgrade to HBO Max at launch without a doubt.

The Crown Jewels of Streaming

Even tough every streaming service is hungry for new content, most people just wanna watch the good old stuff and have a good time. HBO Max reportedly paid over 1.5 Billion dollars for 3 big shows alone. Let’s have a look at these shows.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

The Friends cast – Courtney Cox, Matthew Perry, Jennifer Aniston, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Lisa Kudrow.

Friends is arguably THE crowning jewel of the streaming wars – drawing more viewers than any other show in the world. The popular 90’s American sit-com about the tumultuous lives of a group of friends living in New York is still hit with fans among both the old and new generation. The Friends reunion was supposed to be the thing that would make people sign up for HBO Max, but due the corona-virus pandemic, the show has now been delayed. Still, Friends remains one of the most popular shows on the platform and with it’s high re-watch-ability, it sure gonna be there for you.

The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory

WarnerMedia’s nascent streaming platform will have exclusive rights to 12 seasons of the show from Warner Bros. Television and co-creators/executive producers Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady. All 279 episodes of “Big Bang” will be available on HBO Max when it launches.

South Park

South Park

South Park, the long-running animated comedy hit, will have a new streaming home on HBO Max. The upcoming streaming platform from WarnerMedia scheduled to launch in May of 2020 will have exclusive streaming rights to the iconic series beginning in June of 2020.

DC CONTENT

Personally for me, the biggest draw of HBO Max is all the DC content they will be serving up.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League

#releasethesnydercut

After years of fans petitions and online wars, Warner Brothers finally announced last week that Zack Snyder’s version of the justice league will be release exclusively on HBO Max in 2021. It is said to either in the form of a four hour movie or a six episode miniseries. Whatever be the case, excitement for the Snyder Cut among fans is high and it is expected to fetch HBO Max a lot of subscribers.

Green Lantern

Green Lantern HBO Max

A live-action Green Lantern TV series is currently in the works for the HBO Max streaming service, with Greg Berlanti producing.

Justice League Dark

Justice League Dark

Abrams’ Bad Robot company is working on a number of projects for HBO Max, including a Justice League Dark series. The line is not official yet, but expect Constantine and Zatanna to appear.

Other HBO Max Original DC shows

DC’s Strange adventures
DC Super Hero High from Elizabeth Banks
Aquaman: King of Atlantis from James Wan
DC’s DMZ from Ava DuVerney

The CW Shows

Arrowverse shows will not be available at launch

All the new CW shows will be available on HBO Max including the season of Batwoman and the new Stargirl show.

DC Universe Shows

Doom Patrol

Doom Patrol season 2 will release on HBO Max along with the first season. However, the fate of other DC Universe shows like Titans, Harley Quinn is still unknown.

The DC movie Library

DC Movies on HBO Max

The complete DC movie library will available on HBO Max – From The Dark Knight to Joker, Wonder Woman to Aquaman and Man of Steel to Batman Returns.

HBO Max ORIGINALS

Dune: The Sisterhood

Dennis Villeneuve will accompany his star-studded film adaptation of Dune with a companion series on HBO Max, titled Dune: The Sisterhood. The series will center on on the women of Bene Gesserit as they navigate the political framework of The Imperium to make way for the planet Arrakis.

Overlook

This Stephen King-inspired genre piece will feature characters from The Shining and will tell stories from the most famous haunted hotel in fiction. It’s produced by J.J. Abrams and his company Bad Robot, who are also behind Hulu’s Castle Rock.

Raised by Wolves

Ridley Scott will executive-produce the sci-fi series from Aaron Guzikowski about two androids raising human children on a mysterious planet. As the growing colony of humans almost falls apart due to religious differences, the androids realize how dangerous and difficult their task really is.

There are literally tons more, these are just what I’m most excited about.

THE CRITERION COLLECTION

The Criterion Collection, Inc. is an American home video distribution company which focuses on licensing “important classic and contemporary films” and selling them to film aficionados. Honestly, I’d pay 15$ just for this.

STUDIO GHIBLI COLLECTION

Studio Ghibli, Inc. is a Japanese animation film studio based in Koganei, Tokyo, Japan. The studio is best known for its animated feature films, and has also produced several short films, television commercials, and one television film. 

CRUNCHYROLL COLLECTION

Crunchyroll is an American distributor, publisher, and licensing company focused on streaming anime, manga, and dorama. Founded in 2006 by a group of University of California, Berkeley graduates, Crunchyroll’s distribution channel and partnership program delivers content to 50 million registered users worldwide.

HBO COLLECTION

Well, this is a given but all shows and movies will be available on HBO Max. They are know for their prestige dramas and they have some huge shows coming up too like Lovecraft Country and Game of Throne’s prequel House of the Dragon.

Children’s Programming

As the parent company of Cartoon Network and Looney Tunes, WarnerMedia has an impressive collection of children’s content that will also hit a nostalgia nerve for their parents. Many of HBO Max’s original series are also aimed at children and families. Also cartoons from Cartoon Network and Adult swim will be available on HBO max.

Extensive Movie Library

The movie library on HBO Max is so big, that I’m not even gonna try to list them all. Apart from the great Warner Library, they also have several classic films from other big studios available on their service. Also, HBO Max will be producing original movies for their service. Seth Rogen’s An American Pickle will be the first original movie to release on HBO Max.

Seth Rogen in AN American Pickle

Why you should get HBO Max.

Now let’s get to business. I honestly think you should get HBO Max, even though it’s costlier than other service like Disney+ and Netflix. But see it this way, you were most probably already paying for HBO, you just get all the extra stuff free. And even if you never subscribed to HBO, there’s just so much content here that I believe it’s absolutely worth the 15$/mo price point. It’s literally so much content that I probably didn’t even consider 5% of all that is available in the service. And it’s not like they are just putting anything on there – it’s all premium content, made by some of the biggest names in Hollywood and with some of the biggest pop culture properties. Just like the tagline of HBO Max goes – “Where HBO meets so much more.”

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for HBO Max now!
http://www.hbomax.com

Movie Review: Scoob! – It’s a shame that this childish delight has to skip THEATERS.

Scoob!; Dir – Tony Cervone

Rating – //stream it once it’s free// (Or you know, purchase on VOD for your kids!)

Scoob! is set on it’s way to create history one way or another. It is the first movie set for a theatrical release, to completely skip theaters and release on digital VOD due too the current corona-virus pandemic. What kinda business it does is yet to be seen, but either ways it’s going to shift some gears in the Hollywood release model. Anyways we’re not here to talk about that, let’s discuss if the movie is any good. Is it? Well, it’s a both yes and a no.

While Scoob is a nice fun pastime for the family, it no ‘The Lego Movie’ which both kids and adults can appreciate together The jokes here are mostly written for kids and read as if it’s some middle aged man trying to write what he thinks kids these days find funny. Yes the Scooby Dooby franchise has been adapted to modern times and all characters are now millennials (Or GenZ, I’m not sure. Also the plot and the messaging in the film is not nearly as smart or innovative as the LEGO movies, which the scooby doo mystery mystery formula being revamped to fit into the superhero genre. Because again, what do kids love these days? Superhero movies.

The gang reuniting in the middle a third-act superhero fight scene in Scoob!

But I’m not gonna be too harsh on it for that, after all this movie IS made for kids. And honestly I think kids will love this movie – with all the bright colors, funny gags and entertaining action. That’s why I couldn’t help but think of how much better it all would be on the big screen. Kids out of school, going to the theaters and having a blast with Scooby and gang, as they slurp on cola and much on popcorn. This movie really had the potential be some like a minions. But alas, that not the kind of time we live in right now.

Also if you’re a genuine Scooby fan, I think there’s enough in Scoob! to please you too. Shaggy and Scooby are the stars of the film and I think the voice actors did a good job here. But the real show stealers in the voice acting department are Zac Efron as Fred and Mark Wahlberg as The Blue Falcon. What you don’t get much of is – enough time with the gang together as they are separated right at the beginning. But to compensate for that, you get a slew of Hanna-Barbera characters in the movie. There are a ton of references in this movie! This is essentially an origin story for a planned hanna-barbera universe by the Warner Brothers. So if you’re like me and spent your childhood watching hanna-barbera cartoons on Cartoon Network, that’s plenty reason to get excited.

How good Scoob! would’ve done if it were released in the theaters? I can’t possibly tell that, but the last act of this movie would definitely have been a blast to watch on the big screen. So, I would recommended you to watch this film – kids will love it, and chances are you will too.

Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, Daphne and Velma in a scene from Scoob!

Click on the link below to watch Scoob! online right now –
https://www.amazon.com/SCOOB-John-DiMaggio/dp/B087L5HNCR