Since Christmas, as Doctor Who took over the BBC America channel, every commercial break was flooded with promos for an upcoming fantasy series, The Watch, bombarding viewers. Sunday night the series premiered with two episodes introducing viewers to the complex and intricate world of The Watch.
About The Watch
The Watch follows an unlikely group of misfits, The City Watch, who are forced to find the guts to save the world, surprising even themselves in the process. The comedic yet thrilling series pits trolls, werewolves, wizards and other improbable heroes against an evil plot to resurrect a great dragon which would lead to the destruction of life as they know it. From lead writer and executive producer Simon Allen, the modern and inclusive series is inspired by the characters created by Sir Terry Pratchett’s famous “Discworld” novels.
Richard Dormer sloppily stars as Sam Vimes, Captain of The Watch, disempowered by a broken society that’s reduced his department’s jurisdiction to almost nothing. His performance as a drunken misanthrope is too believable and annoying to watch. The introduction to the series includes an idealistic new recruit,Constable Carrot (Adam Hugill) who joins the team providing an equally annoying yin to Dormer’s yang.
Beautifully fantasy elements and a handful of humorous bits, the definitive highlight of the series are the women, like Cheery, played by Jo EastonKent, the ingenious non-binary forensics expert, ostracized by their kin and finding a new home and identity. Angua played by Marama Corlett, the mysterious Corporal Angua who is tasked with Carrot’s training and keeping the rookie alive. Lady Sybil Ramkin, played by Lara Rossi, last scion of Ankh-Morpork’s nobility, who’s trying to fix the city’s wrongs with her chaotic vigilantism.
Were Angua and Cheery placed at the forefront, allowing Vimes to be the bumbling drunk and butt of jokes, this series could flourish gloriously. As a viewer unfamiliar with the books, it can only be assumed that canon is driving the narrative and leadership decisions.
The Watch feels like it was intended for fans of shows like The Expanse or The Outpost. That said, some of the best laughs had a similar vibe to previously cancelled BBC America series Dirk Gently, which turned out to be surprisingly enjoyable.
The Watch airs Sundays at 8pm on BBC America
— Yael Tygiel