A.J. Walker


Watching The Watch

Earlier on in the year I saw that the BBC/BBC America were producing a show called ‘The Watch’ based loosely on the characters in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. I can’t say I was that excited by the idea. It would be substantially easier to mess it up than hit a bullseye.

It was only at the weekend that I noticed it was already available on
iPlayer and that you could watch the entire series of eight episodes. I downloaded the first one but took a while to get around to pressing Play. I mean it could make me angry - or at least a little annoyed.

The Watch (BBC America)

On IMDB the average rating is a not very impressive 5.3 at the moment (out of 10 if you don’t know IMDB). However such ratings can be misleading. And in this instance I would expect it to be very much down to proper personal preferences and pre-exisiting views. I mean it’s Discworld and it is not easy to make in the way Terry has told it to the millions of us fans.

I am a big fan of Discworld. And The Watch (the wacky police force in Ankh Morpork) include some of the best characters across the entire series: especially
Samuel Vimes. It would be easy to mess up bigly - many people think they have from what I’ve seen on Social Media and the IMDB rating. But the rating will also be pulled down by people who just don’t get Terry’s ideas and the world.

Personally I’ve somehow ended up being in the minority who enjoyed the thing. So much so that I binge watched the series over two days. At the end of the day it is not Ankh Morpork as in Terry’s books. It is a different - parallel universe - place. Vimes is nothing like I pictured him reading the books and the other characters are somewhat skew-whiff, but they are still as mad and diverse as in the books. It’s not overbearing how their histories or nature are described and maybe some people watching it who have never read the books would wonder what the fuck is going on with the werewolf, goblins, dwarves and an orangutan (and the Guilds) but hell they can’t be expected to explain and set the scene for everything. They don’t even go into the whole Discworld on the back of elephants and a gigantic turtle thing.

The Watch (from Discworld Emporium)

At the end of the day it isn’t Discworld per se and it isn’t supposed to be. But the characters themselves are great and the story is good. If you haven't been able to bring yourself to watch it yet I can understand some reticence but i'd recommend you give it a go. Just enjoy it for what the story and characters are and don’t worry that it is not Ankh Morpork (or Discworld) as you envisaged when you read the books. If you haven’t read the books then sort yourself out - you need to read a few forthwith.
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