'Watchmen' Is the Most Nominated Show At This Year's Emmys—And It May Not Return for Season Two

Gabrielle Bruney
·4 mins read

From Esquire

No series was nominated for more Emmys this year than Watchmen, Damon Lindelof’s sequel to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ iconic graphic novel of the same name. The show received 26 nominations, including Outstanding Limited Series and acting nods for stars Regina King, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Lou Gosset Jr., Jovan Adepo, and Jean Smart.

Given the fact that the series was the night’s biggest winner at this week’s Television Critics Association Awards, which can be a good predictor of Emmys outcomes, the HBO show’s future this Sunday is looking pretty bright. But the series’ long term fate is less clear: Despite the fact that Watchmen is now one of the most acclaimed TV shows of recent years, we may never get to see a second season.

The series ended with a major cliffhanger.

With Doctor Manhattan (Yahya Abdul-Matteen II) seemingly dead, his wife Angela Abar (Regina King) swallowed an egg that may or may not have imbued her with his god-like powers and went out to her swimming pool to give walking on water a try. The season closed with a shot of Angela's foot hovering over the surface of the water, poised to take that first step.

It’s the sort of ending that seems like it could demand a follow-up season—but not according to series’ showrunner. "Can someone really make a legitimate argument that Dr. Manhattan said all that stuff about the egg and that Angela grabbed that carton of eggs and threw it down as hard as she could yet one miraculously survived?" he told Vanity Fair. "Or that Dr. Manhattan said in Episode 8, ‘I need you to see me on the pool, it's important for later.’ And that then she would just basically splash into the pool and be like, ‘Well I guess I misunderstood what he was going for there?’"

So Angela almost certainly has Doctor Manhattan’s powers, which means that her story is pretty much resolved.

The show’s future is still uncertain.

At first, it looked like the series wouldn’t be returning for a second season. Lindelof confirmed to USA Today in January that he's not returning to the series for a second season, and HBO's programming head Casey Bloys told the same paper that it "would be hard to imagine doing [Season Two] without Damon involved in some way."

Before confirming that he wouldn't be onboard for a new season, Lindelof didn't keep his ambivalence about the idea of continuing the series a secret. And his reluctance to spin out a sprawling story is understandable: He worked as a co-creator on Lost, and after helping lead that show to its much-criticized finale, he approached Watchmen with the intention of telling a tight tale.

Photo credit: HBO
Photo credit: HBO

"I wanted to make sure that everybody who was going along for the ride knew what the design of the season was," he told Entertainment Weekly in December. "Especially after what happened with Lost, and the way that a lot of serialized dramas unfolded, where the audience doesn’t know how thick the book is when they pick it up… I wanted everyone to know this is not the middle of the trilogy, this is not the beginning of a seven-season run."

That same month, he also told Deadline that he didn't "have any ides for subsequent seasons."

But in the EW interview, Lindelof revealed that when he began talks with HBO about Watchmen, he cited anthology series True Detective as an example. Lindelof seemed open to the idea of handing off the show to someone else when Vulture asked him who he’d want to helm the series were he to step aside. "I would love to see someone who is not a white dude taking a shot at Watchmen," he said, "a woman or a person of color or both. Most of the good ideas that ended up in this season did not come from a white dude."

But even though Bloys said that it would be tough to bring back the show without Lindelof, he tweeted a link to a Decider article with the headline “Watchmen Season 2 Still a Possibility at HBO, Despite Reports.” Coming from HBO’s head of programming, that’s a pretty big hint that a new season really is possible. Lindelof hasn’t said much since the premier, but who knows—maybe some big wins on Sunday will help convince him to return for another round of episodes.

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