The Watch (TV series)
|Created by||Terry Pratchett|
|Based on||Ankh-Morpork City Watch|
|Written by||Simon Allen|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom / United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||8|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production companies||BBC Studios, Narrativia|
|Original network||BBC America|
|Original release||January 3, 2021 –|
The Watch is a fantasy police procedural television programme inspired by the Ankh-Morpork City Watch from the Discworld series of fantasy novels by Terry Pratchett. The series, developed by BBC Studios for BBC America, premiered on 3 January 2021.
Setting and plot
The series is inspired by the Ankh-Morpork City Watch from the Discworld series of fantasy novels by Terry Pratchett. Set in the fictional Discworld's principal city of Ankh-Morpork, The Watch was described by Terry Pratchett in 2012 as a "Pratchett-style CSI"; it was to have an episodic storyline, following the format of a "crime of the week" as tackled by the city's police force under the command of Sam Vimes. In 2018, Narrativia described it as a "punk rock thriller".
- Sam Adewunmi as Carcer Dun
- Matt Berry as voice of Wayne, a sword
- Anna Chancellor as Lord Vetinari
- Marama Corlett as Corporal Angua von Überwald, of the City Watch
- Richard Dormer as Captain Sam Vimes, of the City Watch
- James Fleet as the Archchancellor of Unseen University
- Adam Hugill as Constable Carrot Ironfoundersson, newest member of the City Watch
- Ralph Ineson as the voice of Sergeant Detritus, of the City Watch
- Hakeem Kae-Kazim as Captain John Keel
- Jo Eaton-Kent as Corporal Cheery Littlebottom, Forensic officer of the City Watch
- Ruth Madeley as Throat
- Bianca Simone Mannie as Wonse
- Ingrid Oliver as Doctor Cruces
- Wendell Pierce as voice of Death
- Lara Rossi as Lady Sybil Ramkin
- Paul Kaye as Inigo Skimmer
- Joe Vaz as Urdo van Pew
|No.||Title ||Directed by||Written by||Original air date || Viewers|
|1||"A Near Vimes Experience"||Craig Viveiros||Simon Allen||January 3, 2021(US)[a]||0.274|
|2||"Ook"||Craig Viveiros||Simon Allen||January 3, 2021(US)||0.274|
|3||"The What?"||Brian Kelly||Simon Allen||January 10, 2021(US)||0.248|
|4||"Twilight Canyons"||Brian Kelly||Joy Wilkinson & Simon Allen||January 17, 2021(US)||0.242|
|5||"Not on My Watch"||Brian Kelly||Catherine Tregenna||January 24, 2021(US)||0.185|
|6||"The Dark in The Dark"||Emma Sullivan||Simon Allen & Amrou Al-Kadhi||January 31, 2021(US)||0.233|
|7||"Nowhere in the Multiverse"||Emma Sullivan||Simon Allen & Ed Hime||February 7, 2021(US)||0.143|
|8||"Better to Light a Candle"||Emma Sullivan||Simon Allen||February 14, 2021(US)||0.130|
- "A Near Vimes Experience" was released on December 31, 2020, on AMC+
The Watch was announced in 2011 as under development by Prime Focus Productions, which previously created three two-part television adaptations of Discworld novels. It was later reported to be produced by Pratchett's own TV production company, Narrativia, which he founded in 2012 and which was led by Rod Brown, the erstwhile head of Prime Focus.
In 2012, the series was variously reported to be written – under Pratchett's oversight – by either Terry Jones and Gavin Scott, or by Guy Burt, and to have a budget of either £13 to £15 million, or £26 million, for its projected run of thirteen 60-minutes episodes, with Pratchett's daughter Rhianna as co-writer.
In September 2014, Pratchett's agent Colin Smythe said that the script was in development and shooting would commence in 2015. After Pratchett's death in 2015, his assistant Rob Wilkins said that pre-production was still ongoing, but that no further announcements would be made until filming had begun. In October 2016, Rhianna Pratchett said in an interview that the project was still ongoing, but in 2019, announced she had not been involved in the project "for many years".
In March 2018, Deadline Hollywood reported that BBC Studios was developing The Watch as a six-part series and as the basis of a "returnable franchise". On October 30, 2018, BBC America announced that it ordered an eight-episode series of The Watch written by Simon Allen together with Joy Wilkinson, Catherine Tregenna, Amrou Al-Khadi and Ed Hime. Hilary Simon and Phil Collinson will be executive producers; the director is Craig Viveiros. Narrativia retained an executive producer credit but was not involved creatively. Filming began in Cape Town, South Africa; the series premiered on 3 January 2021. In 2019, the series announced it would be recasting several major male characters as women.
Even before the series' release it attracted a large amount of controversy and criticism for departing too far from the books' medieval origins, delving too far into "punk rock" visuals, changing the gender, personality or origins of characters, and removing some characters completely. After casting announcements and character details began to be released, the official Terry Pratchett twitter account tweeted Ursula K. Le Guin's article detailing her thoughts on the Earthsea adaptation. These controversies were exacerbated when Simon Allen, head writer for the series, failed to mention Terry Pratchett during his post commemorating the end of filming. After the October 9th 2020 New York Comic Con panel, Rhianna Pratchett stated it shared "no DNA with my father's Watch", and Neil Gaiman compared the series to "Batman if he's now a news reporter in a yellow trenchcoat with a pet bat".
On Rotten Tomatoes, The Watch has a 'rotten' score of 50%, an average rating of 5.87/10, based on 16 reviews. The website's consensus states: "Despite fantastic production design and a solid cast, The Watch simply doesn't capture the wonder, whimsy, and world building of Terry Pratchett's beloved novels." Kiko Martinez of Variety dubbed it a 'tonal mess' and stated, "the show’s generic worldbuilding, one-dimensional characterizations and lack of consistent wit will disappoint the kind of niche audience it’s trying to attract." The Hollywood Reporter praised the show's "imaginative world-building" and humour, but said, "the plots are crushingly rote and uninvolving" and found them too familiar.
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Dalila (26 September 2014). "26. 09. 2014 – NOVINKY OD COLINA SMYTHE, AGENTA TERRYHO PRATCHETTA". www.discworld.cz. Prague. Archived from the original on 2 November 2014.
Městská hlídka – "CSI: Ankh-Morpork" – série 12x1h epizod. Projekt je nastartován, scénář se neustále vylepšuje, natáčet by se mělo buď v Londýně nebo v blízkém okolí. Může se s tím ale začít až v roce 2015 kvůli rozpočtovému plánu BBC.Alt URL
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- "Meet Rhianna Pratchett – The woman behind the Lara Croft backstory". 2016-10-06. Retrieved 2016-10-06.
- Pratchett, Rhianna (2019-08-10). "@rhipratchett on Twitter". Twitter. Archived from the original on 2020-12-25. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
Just to be clear (since I'm asked this a lot) I am not working on The Watch TV series, and haven't been for many years. The show is under the creative control of BBC Studios.
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- Pratchett, Rhianna (2020-10-09). "@rhipratchett on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
Look, I think it's fairly obvious that @TheWatch shares no DNA with my father's Watch. This is neither criticism nor support. It is what it is.
- Gaiman, Neil (2020-10-09). "@neilhimself on Twitter". Twitter. Archived from the original on 2020-12-25. Retrieved 2020-10-09.
Yes. But the fan base are fans. And they like the source material because it's the source material they like. So if you do something else, you risk alienating the fans on a monumental scale. It's not Batman if he's now a news reporter in a yellow trenchcoat with a pet bat.