The Watch is a fantasy police television series developed by BBC America. It is inspired by Terry Pratchett's hit Discworld novels. The eight part season was ordered in 2018 and premiered on January 3, 2021, though the first episode was made available on December 31, 2020 on the streaming service AMC+.
Set in the fictional city of Ankh-Morpork, where crime has been legalized, The Watch is a "punk rock" drama. The eight-part series centers on a group of misfit cops as they rise up from decades of helplessness to save their corrupt city from catastrophe.
The City Watch, an unlikely group of misfits, finds the guts to save the world, surprising even themselves in the process. The 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 incorporates elements from many of Sir Terry Pratchett’s famous “Discworld” creations.
Cast and characters
- Sam Adewunmi as Carcer Dun
- Anna Chancellor as Lord Vetinari
- Marama Corlett as Corporal Angua von Uberwald
- Richard Dormer as Sam Vimes
- Jo Eaton-Kent as Constable Cheery
- James Fleet as the Archchancellor of Unseen University
- Adam Hugill as Constable Carrot Ironfoundersson
- Hakeem Kae-Kazim as Captain John Keel
- Ruth Madeley as Throat
- Craig Macrae as Death
- Wendell Pierce as Voice of Death
- Craig Macrae - Sergeant Detritus
- Ralph Ineson - Voice of Sergeant Detritus
- Bianca Simone Mannie as Wonse
- Ingrid Oliver as Doctor Cruces
- Lara Rossi as Lady Sybil Ramkin
The Watch premiered on BBC America in the United States on January 3, 2021, with episodes also made available via the streaming service AMC+, and in Australia on Stan. However, despite the series being based on a British property, the series has yet to air in Britain itself and no release date has been announced. Negotiations are said to be ongoing. On February 21, 2021, it was announced that broadcasters in Africa, Greece, Israel, New Zealand, Russia and Spain had all signed agreements with BBC Studios to broadcast The Watch. In the United States, the first season was released on both DVD and Blu-ray formats on June 29, 2021.
As of January 24, 2021, The Watch holds eight negative reviews at the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes and eight positive ones, for an overall rating of 50%. William Hughes of AV Club gave the series a C+, stating that the series would disappoint fans of Discworld and maybe everybody else too and that "Neither of the two disparate shows that The Watch seems to be trying to be is actually very good." However, John Anderson of the Wall Street Journal felt that while the show can't be taken as seriously as Game of Thrones, which series star Richard Dormer is known for, it is a lot more fun. The site's "critics consensus" feature states that "Despite fantastic production design and a solid cast, The Watch simply doesn't capture the wonder, whimsy, and world building of Terry Pratchett's beloved novels." The series has attracted large amounts of controversy and criticism from fans of Discworld for being too far removed from the source material.
Show creator Simon Allen stated that the series is comparable to the "Kelvin timeline" of the Star Trek films, in being part of a greater multiverse.
- About The Watch. BBC America. Retrieved on December 27, 2020.
- Burrows, Marc (February 11, 2021). Calling time on The Watch? What went wrong (and right) with the latest Terry Pratchett adaptation. Hey Guys. Retrieved on February 14, 2021.
- Layton, Mark (February 21, 2021). BBCS strikes deals as global broadcasters tune in to ‘The Watch’. Television Business International. Retrieved on February 23, 2021.
- Amazon - The Watch Season One (Blu-ray)
- The Watch Season 1. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved on January 10, 2021.
- Discworld fans are right to be nervous about the BBC's 'punk rock' The Watch. The Guardian (January 17, 2020). Retrieved on December 31, 2020.
- Damore, Meagan (December 29, 2020). The Watch Creator Compares Series to Star Trek's Kelvin Timeline. Comic Book Review. Retrieved on December 31, 2020.