The nature of modern television means that sometimes it’s unclear whether any given drama is a full series, limited series, or even an anthology series. Ultimately such distinctions don’t mean much…unless you have your heart dead set on seeing a second season one day. Such is the situation we all find ourselves in with HBO’s Watchmen.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO has opted to submit Watchmen in the “Outstanding Limited Series” category at the Emmys, as opposed to the more competitive Outstanding Drama Series category. This is a change in categorization from how Watchmen competed at the Golden Globes, in which it went up against other dramas. The decision for this year’s Emmys puts the show in a category alongside shows like Unbelievable or Good Omens and not dramas like Better Call Saul or Succession.
This is great news for Watchmen‘s Emmy hopes. You may as well lock in your “Watchmen – Outstanding Limited Drama” bet snow. But it also might be bad news for any Watchmen season 2 hopes.
Watchmen was described by HBO as a drama series when it first premiered in October of last year. The show came from Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers) and was adapted from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ classic 1985 graphic novel of the same name. Set in the Watchmen universe, Lindelof and HBO’s show brought Moore and Gibbons’ universe to the present day. It followed masked Tulsa police detective Angela Abar (Regina King) as she became embroiled in a massive conspiracy…among very, very many other things.
Despite HBO categorizing the show as a series, Lindelof was never shy about the fact that he would not return for any future endeavors.
“We designed these nine episodes to feel like we are telling a story. We are presenting a mystery and we are resolving that mystery,” Lindelof told Den of Geek prior to the show’s premiere. “It doesn’t mean that it can’t continue, because of course it can, it always can. But it wasn’t designed to have a cliffhanger, where it’s like ‘Wait til you see what we do next season!’ It’s just not built that way.”
Some may disagree with Lindelof’s interpretation of the finale as not being a cliffhanger. While it conclusively finishes the story of the season, there remains plenty of wiggle room to expand. A hypothetical Watchmen season 2 could continue the story of Angela or perhaps even switch over to an anthology format and tell a new modern story within Moore and Gibbons’ original framework.
Either way, Watchmen‘s Emmy categorization is the latest evidence that HBO may be content to let sleeping squids lie. Or maybe this is just a Veidt-like scheme on HBO’s part to garner more golden hardware and they’ll announce season 2 the moment after Lindelof makes his acceptance speech. Only Doctor Manhattan knows.