Why HBO's Watchmen Series Takes Place in Oklahoma


Tulsa, Oklahoma may not seem like the most exciting place to visit, but it's the perfect setting for a superhero drama.

Speaking to Entertainment WeeklyWatchmen creator Damon Lindelof explained why the second largest city in 28th most populated state was the perfect setting for his upcoming adaption of Alan Moore's acclaimed graphic novel.

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"The superhero genre always feels like it takes place in New York, Gotham City or Metropolis. And Gotham City and Metropolis are just New York paradigms," he said. "So I was like: What does a superhero show look like in Oklahoma? That idea was interesting to me in terms of what it would look and feel like and kinds of people we would populate it with. I also just felt that tickle in my gut that was like, Do it here. That tickle has not always steered me right but it is the thing that makes me do the things I do."

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Lindelof also noted how the Tulsa Race Riots and Massacre of 1921 -- where mobs of white residents attacked black residents and businesses in the area and left between 100 and 300 African Americans dead -- played a major role in his decision. In his Watchmen world, the government has passed Victims of Racial Violence Legislation, which provides "tax exemption for victims of, and the direct descendants of, designated areas of racial injustice throughout America’s history," including the Tulsa Race Riots.

"My ignorance of the fact that it happened made me feel compelled to educate others," he said. "And I could go around to my friends or put it on social media but I feel the biggest platform that’s been afforded me is I get to make television shows that potentially millions are going to watch. And for a show like Watchmen, which already had a built-in audience that has nothing to do with me, to use Watchmen as a delivery mechanism for this piece of erased history felt right as long as it was presented in a non-exploitative way."

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Developed by Damon Lindelof and based on Alan Moore's acclaimed graphic novel, HBO's Watchmen stars Jeremy Irons, Regina King, Don Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Tom Mison, James Wolk, Adelaide Clemens, Andrew Howard, Frances Fisher, Jacob Ming-Trent, Sara Vickers, Dylan Schombing, Lily Rose Smith and Adelynn Spoon. The series will premiere Oct. 20.

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