Avoid Like The Plague: The WatchThe Dark Herald
This show hates me. And it feels quite personal.
I mean, ran over your dog, backed up and did it again, burned down your house, then sent your wife and children to the gas chambers personal. That is the level of individual hatred I felt directed at me while I was viewing The Watch. I am quite serious when I say that this show is the product of extreme mental illness.
Absolute, abject hatred of its source material is evident in every aspect of this production.
The Watch’s art style is a discordant series of nightmare images meant to evoke disgust. It’s walking into Wonderland and finding Alice’s bloody severed head as the center piece of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. It’s a Middle-Earth where Sauron prevailed, and Frodo is now one of Nazgul.
The direction consists entirely of rapid-fire cuts that come in such an unending hurricane barrage you feel absolutely pummeled by them. It made my eyes barf.
The characters are hideously disfigured caricatures of the originals and are clearly meant to be a sadistically cruel mockery of them.
And the writing is a barbarously, ugly and disgusting burlesque of Terry Pratchett’s. I know that it will shock you to learn that almost all of the writers have worked for Doctor Who (Chibnall era) or Torchwood.
Looking at this show is like watching the degeneration of SJW society on a genetic level, like the double helix itself is unraveling and splitting apart.
Nothing inspires creeping, spidery, cythuloid terror like the words, “a bold re-imagining by the BBC.” Everything the BBC makes, they SJW to death. A Christmas Carol, Dracula, Top Gear, Doctor Who. The death toll from its Woke pop-culture juggernaut is staggering. It’s Star Wars on steroids. Minimal credit where it’s due at least the Rise of Skywalker was an attempt course correction. It wasn’t a good one but there was at least fig leaf of an apology being tossed to the fans. The government tax-supported BBC has no need to try and so they do not. Ravaging and remaking intellectual properties in the image of their twisted Woke fever dreams has become an obsession for the BBC.
This is made so much worse when it happens to a beloved series of stories. Terry Pratchett’s Sam Vimes stories are…
I was going to say they were all great but the truth is they weren’t. There were definitely some books that were clinkers. Although a clinker from Terry Pratchett is still worth a read.
For the most part.
The big thing about Sam Vines is that he was Pratchett’s very own Mary Sue. This is something that happens with all authors. Usually you get it out of your system early but sometimes they creep their way into your works. Tyrion is fairly obviously George R.R. Martin’s self-insert. James Bond was Ian Fleming’s. And Sam Vimes was Terry Pratchett’s.
Pratchett started off as a reporter and as such got to know some cops pretty well. Reporters that cover certain professions regularly start to see the world the same way they do. This falls somewhere between Silo Effect and Stockholm Syndrome. And Pratchett started adopting a London cop’s perspective on things.
Most of Pratchett’s Discworld stories take place in the twin city of “proud Ankh and pestilent Morpork.” I think the idea was to have a city that was clearly divided between the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor. But let’s face it. Ankh-Morpork was ninety percent Morpork. Pratchett’s pet city started life as a blatant ripoff of Fritz Leiber’s Lankhmar. The fact that the first two people you meet are clearly and obviously Fafherd and Grey Mouse prove that. Lankhmar it was and Lankhmar it remained in spirit for a while but then it began to drift into a steampunk-fantasy version of Victorian London.
When we first meet Sam Vimes he’s a failed, alcoholic literally falling asleep in the gutter. But then he meets Carrot the six-foot-five inch dwarf and Carrot’s innocence and idealism drags Sam out of the gutter and starts him on his way. It’s no coincidence that as Pratchett came up in the world so did Vimes. When Pratchett became a Sir Terry, Vimes became the Duke of Ankh-Morpork. The City Watch went from a failed organization with four cops to a large and successful metropolitan city police force.
Along the way it gained a number of fun and interesting characters like Angua the werewolf who became Carrot’s love interest and Cheery Littlebottom a female dwarf. Female dwarves on Discworld have beards just like the males, (which now means they are transexuals).
Like I said, the performance of the City Watch books is varied.
Guards! Guards! – Very Good.
Men at Arms – Okay, I guess
Feet of Clay – Good
Jingo – Weak
The Fifth Elephant – Okay, I guess
Monstrous Regiment – Not really a Vimes book
Night Watch – Excellent! Prime Pratchett and probably the best in the whole DW series
Thud! – Weak and Globalist
Where’s My Cow – If you have a little one it’s a Must Read With Daddy Sound Effects
Snuff – Very Weak*
So, as you can see the City Watch books had, (so far as I’m concerned) a pretty spotty record. But that said there were always a few laughs to be had in any Terry Pratchett book.
There was a lot of snarling and snapping by Pratchett fans when The Watch’s showrunner thanked the cast and crew at the end of filming but not Terry Pratchett. I myself am pleased that he didn’t because this show has nothing to do with Pratchett’s work at all.
Let us (takes a deep swig out of his hip flask) take a look at it.
It’s starts with Nobby Knobs meeting with Death. Or at least that is what any fan of the series who was Blissfully unaware of the horrors he was about to endure would assume. They didn’t really get Death right. in the book’s Death is more traditionally a grim Reaper figure consisting of cloak, skeleton and scythe. Here he was more of a giant robot with clawed hands and glowing eyes in the hood. So, they missed the mark there, but they got Nobby Nobs completely right. Nobby is the only person on Discworld that has to carry a certificate that reads: “I, after hearing evidence from a number of experts, including Mrs. Slipdry the midwife, certify that the balance of probability is that the bearer of this document, C.W. St John Nobbs, is a human being. Signed, Lord Vetinari.” They did brilliantly there.
Except that it turns out Nobby isn’t in this series at all. Neither is Fred Colon come to that.
No, the guy you thought was Nobby is actually Captain Sam Vimes. This wasn’t trying to meet the mark and missed, this wasn’t even an attempt to try something “a little more modern.” They would have just race swapped Vimes if that was what these talentless clods were trying to do. This was the deliberate character assassination of the character of “Sam Vimes, White Patriarchal Male.”
There is a difference between deconstruction and total ablation.
If a normal and sane person was trying to cast the character Sam Vimes, they would have gone with someone like Patrick Stewart in his early 40s. Or maybe Clive Owen or Gerard Butler, perhaps even Richard Dormer. That last would have been a great choice, unfortunately that is who they cast, and they did this to him.
Death is apparently going to tell Sam in flashback form how he died. I don’t recall any time in the books where this happened although I admit I didn’t finish a couple of the lesser works, so, I could be wrong. I know for concrete fact that what followed next never happened in any of the books.
It is a dark and stormy night, (long tired sigh) and Carcer is telling Sam Vimes that he has to follow through on his mission to kill John Keel and Keel is black now (that is actually important). It was the first of the many, many, many “What The Fuck” moments peppered throughout this show.
I’ll try to explain how this is so far off base it’s on another planet. These three characters were in the best of the City Watch novels: Night Watch. Although, we never actually met John Keel. The premise of the story is time travel. It takes place later in the Discworld series, commander Sam Vimes has turned the city watch into a formidable and respectable law enforcement agency in the city of Ankh-Morpork. Carcer is an almost Joker-like criminal who delights in murdering cops. Through an accident they are both thrown back in time twenty years on the eve of a revolution in the city. Sam’s mentor John Keel is murdered but has very important things to do that he hasn’t done yet, not the least of which is mentoring Sam. So, Sam takes Keels place and mentors his younger self. This Prisoner of Zenda subplot would have been a little difficult to carry off is the guy who is being replaced belongs to a completely different race.
In this POS, Sam was only supposed to be pretending to be a cop in order to murder Keel. But then Carcer murders Keel and Sam decides to become a Lawman. For reasons. Reasons to follow. And then they don’t.
Fast forward twenty years and we get to see the horrors that have been inflicted on Pratchett’s other beloved characters. In novels Angua from Uberwald is a tall, stunningly beautiful blonde who also happens to be werewolf. “She was aware that she had a slight advantage over male werewolves in that naked women caused fewer complaints, although the downside was that they got some pressing invitations. Some kind of covering was essential, for modesty and the prevention of inconvenient bouncing, which was why fashioning impromptu clothes out of anything to hand was a lesser-known werewolf skill.”
These problems are not present for the Angua in The Watch because no sane or at least straight man will be all that anxious to see her naked. She does not attract the male gaze unless you are into boys. Instead of being strong and directed, this version is sullen, resentful taciturn and looks like crack whore on her last legs.
As bad as they treated Angua the worst abuse is reserved for the white men. Specifically, Carrot Ironfouderson. In the books, Carrot was found as an infant by dwarves, after there was an attack on a human caravan that left no survivors. The Dwarves raised him as one of their own and he steadfastly identifies as a dwarf and insists that he is one no matter how tall he is.
One of his first lines in The Watch is, “I’m not really a Dwarf.” But that is far from the worst things they did to his character. The big thing about Carrot is that he is the Captain America of Ankh-Morpork. He embodies all of the heroic virtues of prudence, temperance, justice and courage. He is beyond failingly polite to everyone he meets; ‘… Carrot takes an interest. He doesn’t even think about it. He makes space in his head for people. He takes an interest, and so people think they’re interesting. They feel …. better when he’s around.’ He is also the rightful and secret king of the city of Ankh-Morpork. He thinks being a Watchman is the highest calling there is.
In The Watch he is rather dim and resentful, his adopted father sent him to city because he thought Carrot was too dangerous to keep in the mines. So now he is watchmen because he has nowhere else to go.
In Pratchett’s works, Cheery Littlebottom was the first female dwarf to join the Watch, like dwarves of both sexes she has a beard. This one shaves and is clearly supposed to be the non-binary. Also, zhe claims that dwarves come in all sizes, despite the fact that Carrot has just admitted that he is too tall to be a dwarf.
Sargent Detritus they didn’t do too badly on, he just looks like a heap of shit. The troll costume they came up with for him looks awful. Which makes it indistinguishable from anything else in this nauseating abortion.
The strangest transformation was Sybil Vimes. She has gone from stolid, aristocrat with a booming voice entering middle age when we meet her in Guards! Guards!. To a 1970s Blacksploitation kick-ass woman hero. Who is bald. TV Sybil is a fearless crimefighter in a city where crime is legal. Just to be clear, Sybil is the real star of the series.
I suppose I should mention the plot but there isn’t one. This show is too busy sucking its own dick to provide it and I’m not really kidding. The Watch is so proud of its own cleverness it doesn’t bother to give more than one dimension to its caricatures or a story for them to tell.
This show is so bad that even critics noticed. It has a 40% positive from Critics and 15% from audiences, which strongly indicates that the BBC no longer has the money to buy the shills. This is only the first episode, and I can’t do this again.
It has however managed the achievement of being only the second property to get my absolutely lowest rating:
The Dark Herald says, Avoid This Like the Fucking Plague.