HBO is streaming the entire Watchmen series for free this weekend to coincide with the Juneteenth holiday. Also known as Freedom Day, Juneteenth celebrates June 19th, 1865, the day the Emancipation Proclamation finally went into effect throughout all of the former Confederate States of America.
Beginning Friday, June 19th at 1 p.m. local time, the TV network will air all nine Watchmen episodes in succession. If you don’t have a subscription to HBO, fret not: the whole series will also be streaming for free on HBO.com and On Demand through June 21st.
Creator Damon Lindelof adapted Watchmen as a modern-day sequel series of sorts to the classic 1987 comic by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. In the show, Angela Abar (Regina King) is a masked Tulsa police officer known as Sister Night. She uncovers a conspiracy by the Seventh Kavalary, a white supremacist terrorist group inspired by original costumed vigilante Rorschach. She kills a lot of racists in the process — but that’s only one of the show’s densely-packed storylines.
Other characters from Moore’s Watchmen comic, including Calvin Abar/Jon Osterman/Dr. Manhattan (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias (Jeremy Irons), and Hooded Justice (Louis Gossett Jr.) make noteworthy appearances in the show, along with new characters like Lady Trieu (Hong Chau). It’s a much more diverse cast than the comic and 2009 movie directed by Zack Synder. It also features a score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
Upon its original release, Watchmen was lauded for its nuanced, highly-relevant portrayals of police brutality, legacies of institutional racism, and inequity, illustrated with historical settings like the 1921 Tulsa race massacre and the Jim Crow era. Given everything that’s happening today, this HBO marathon could not have come at a better time. From the murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery to the Black Lives Matter protests nationwide to the calls for the dismantling of white supremacy and police departments, it’s almost as though we’re witnessing Watchmen play out in real time.
In a statement, HBO said the free marathon is an “extension of the network’s content offering highlighting Black experiences, voices and storytellers.”
Watchmen local air times on HBO:
Episode 101 – 1:00 p.m.
Episode 102 – 2:03 p.m.
Episode 103 – 2:58 p.m.
Episode 104 – 3:51 p.m.
Episode 105 – 4:43 p.m.
Episode 106 – 5:43 p.m.
Episode 107 – 6:44 p.m.
Episode 108 – 7:42 p.m.
Episode 109 – 8:45 p.m.