It was a hot night in Atlanta and the line was long. Over 400 people piled into the building, cascading yellow light cascading of the slick walls. Atlanta showed out for HBO’s The Watchmen screening in a big way, with more bodies than chairs getting ready to see HBO’s newest epic. The Sunday night ritual (not to be confused with the Sunday truce from The Wire, a participant of the ritual) of having a blockbuster TV show in the primetime spot was magnified to dizzying levels with Game of Thrones. Now, Game of Thrones is gone, but the excitement for The Watchmen screening may prove that Sunday nights still have a full dance card for the network.
This was the second of screenings for the Watchmen, the first taking place at NYCC. While that screening was a big event taking place at a huge, multi-genre event, the event that took place in Atlanta had a different excitement for it. People put on pants just to be there, stood in line under a setting Georgia sun, then sat on barstools to watch the hour-long show. The first episode (and the subsequent ones) are arresting in it’s imagery and spectacle. Gasps, breathlessness and more laughs than you would expect were a garnish upon the evening. Atlanta came out to see a show and they got one.
I was lucky to be in the building for all of it, on a panel that followed the screening hosted by the peerless Kid Fury. My fellow panelists Karama Horne aka The Blerdgurl and Tatiana King Jones of the famed For All Nerds podcast and myself volleyed our impressions back and forth. We dove into our first impressions, how it relates to the Watchmen graphic novel, the maturation of comic book lore and what storytelling looks like in this social climate. And Regina King. We could’ve talked about Regina King and her character Sister Night well into the morning hours. We tried. They had to kick us off the stage.
Following the panel was the reception with food, photographs, drinks and mingling. General conversation happened of course, but what everyone really wanted to talk about was more Watchmen. The event had mad that type of impact on people. This is no small thing. The event was Blerds and built for the Black Atlanta community. HBO has no shortage of Black viewers and subscribers, but those audiences are often so specific. Insecure and Black Lady Sketch show are obvious answers. But many of the Triple-A budget shows lack people of color or their perspective. Regina King is the star and the cast boasts a huge diverse range of performers. But this isn’t a zeroed in perspective, this is one of HBO’s next landmark series aimed at capturing everyone. It was inspiring to see that in Atlanta (and I imagine everyone by the end of the week) was there for it.
Watchmen debuts on 10/20/2019 at 9pm EST, only on HBO
My brother, my friend, my colleague, my mentor, my partner-in-art! I ? #DamonLindelof We are only 2 days away. Still pinching myself. @watchmen #WatchmenHBO pic.twitter.com/Q8dDyTsLij
— Regina King (@ReginaKing) October 18, 2019
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