Watchmen was one of the best shows of 2019, even more so in retrospect for its eery prescience about life in 2020, from the continued exposure of institutional racism at the core of American police forces to the general idea of “masks” as a motif. Today, the HBO series won a Peabody Award for storytelling in its gloriously divergent adaptation of the original comic. In a statement, the Peabody Awards praised Watchmen for its “frank, provocative reflection on contemporary racialized violence, the role of police, and how Americans understand their place in the world after a large-scale disaster.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Peabody Awards ceremony in Los Angeles was canceled, so Watchmen creator Damon Lindelof and star Regina King recorded an acceptance speech from their homes. (The speech was filmed before the murder of George Floyd sparked widespread protests against police brutality around the world.) “This show not only evoked thought and conversation,” King says, “but exposed history that had been forgotten, all while we were able to entertain.”
“Tulsa became the foundation of a new interpretation of Watchmen, reframing the traditional superhero origin story, born not from the aftermath of an exploding fictional planet but from the ashes of a very real place in Oklahoma that was erased from history 100 years ago,” Lindelof says. “It is in the memory of the lost lives of Greenwood — not victims, but mothers and sons and fathers and daughters and doctors and lawyers and journalists and veterans — that we dedicate this award.”
Lindelof finishes their speech by thanking his creative partners, “all of whom agreed this was not my story to tell, so they stepped forward and told it themselves, with candor, authenticity, and grace. I have never been more honored in my life to shut the hell up and listen.”
The nine other TV shows that won Peabody Awards under its Entertainment category for 2019 are: Chernobyl, David Makes Man, Dickinson, Fleabag, Ramy, Stranger Things, Succession, Unbelievable, and When They See Us.