TV and Film:The Watch

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The Watch
Series Poster
ASIN [1]
IMDB 8080292
First Broadcast 31st December 2020
Broadcast Channel AMC+
Director(s) Craig Viveiros
Producer(s) Rob Wilkins, Hilary Simon, Phil Collinson, Simon Allen
Writer(s) Simon Allen, Amrou Al-Kadhi, Ed Hime, Catherine Tregenna, Joy Wilkinson
Starring Richard Dormer, Marama Corlett, Adam Hugill, Sam Adewunmi
Duration 480 minutes
Episodes 8
Series Watch Series
Annotations Annotations for TV and Film:The Watch
Notes
Preceded by Good Omens
Followed by The Amazing Maurice
All data relates to the UK home release.

The Watch is an original series inspired by Terry Pratchett's books about the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. Developed by BBC America in conjunction with Narrativia. It has been variously described as a "Pratchett-style CSI," "a punk rock thriller" and "cyberpunk."

Blurb

Set in the fictional city of Ankh-Morpork, where crime has been legalised, The Watch is a uniquely anarchic drama. The series centres on a group of misfit cops as they rise up from decades of helplessness to save their corrupt city from catastrophe. The Watch is an inclusive genre-bending series inspired by the legendary ‘City Watch’ subset of Sir Terry Pratchett’s bestselling “Discworld” novels and its many iconic characters.

Episodes

  1. A Near Vimes Experience
  2. Ook
  3. The What?
  4. Twilight Canyons
  5. Not on My Watch
  6. The Dark in The Dark
  7. Nowhere in the Multiverse
  8. Better to Light a Candle

Cast

Differences Between the Series and Novels

Spoiler Warning

The Watch is an original series "inspired by" the Watch books, rather than being based on any specific Discworld novel. The show therefore differs in numerous ways from the books. Some of these differences are outlined below.

Characters

  • Angua, along with Detritus and Cheery, are members of the City Watch before Carrot, and is tasked with training him.
  • Carcer, described in publicity material as “wounded and wronged”, is not a psychopath, but a youth whose life on the streets have led him to rebel against the systems that separate rich from poor in Ankh-Morpork. He is still cruel and violent. He is not sent back in time by magical accident, but instead to the realm of the Observers, who transport him forward in time with a mission.
  • Vimes and Carcer were best friends in their youth; Carcer's gang saved Vimes from poverty when he was a boy, and they sent young adult Sam to join the Watch to destroy it from within. Sam was meant to kill his commander, but refused, having come to believe in the good of the Watch.
  • Cheery is now a non-binary person rather than an openly female dwarf. Cheery is also taller than several human characters and remarked by Carrot to be rather tall for a dwarf. In Cheery's home mine all the dwarfs that live there are human sized.
  • Sybil Ramkin is younger than in the books, though still a noblewoman. She attempts to improve the city through “chaotic vigilantism”, including kidnapping criminals to re-educate them at the 'Sunshine Rescue Centre for Broken, Bedraggled Things.' Part of her motivation is that her parents were killed by the Assassin's Guild.
  • Carrot has a different origin story: he was dropped down into a dwarf mine shaft as a baby and was sent to join the City Watch as it was feared by his parents that his height would put others in danger, as he once knocked his head against a mine shaft support which nearly collapsed the mine. It is suspected later in the series that there might be something special about his parentage, but testing reveals this is not the case.
  • Before joining the Watch Detritus lived under a bridge acting as a literal bridge support.
  • Throat Dibbler is a woman and clearly a criminal; she is sometimes a “snitch” for the Watch, but also has “a gang of freelance henchmen”. She is shown to be dealing in Slab.
  • John Keel was Sam Vimes' mentor in the Watch, and is killed by Carcer after Sam refuses to do it. He passes command of the Watch on to Sam. No time travel of the sort seen in Night Watch take place.
  • Sergeant Swires is a human character present in the Watch even before Vimes.
  • Wonse was a part of Carcer's old gang and works as a cleaner at Unseen University, where she has picked up some talent with magic.
  • The Librarian was not transformed by the Octavo, but because he spent too long inside a magical room in the Library that allows people to read anything - including other people.
  • Alice Band is a very young child member of the Assassin's Guild.
  • Inigo Skimmer is still an Assassin but is not a Dark Clerk, or an ally to Vimes. He does not end his sentences with "mhm-mph."
  • Jocasta Wiggs is now an elderly former member of the Assassin's Guild living in Twilight Canyons.
  • Sally is a Vampire that Carrot meets in the Mended Drum, she runs a 'virgin support group' which she seems to use to hunt virgins for prey.

Ankh-Morpork

  • Members of the Alchemists' Guild operate as drug dealers in a similar way that the Thieves' Guild operates.
  • Slab is now a drug taken by humans instead of being exclusively for trolls, it is also used as an important ingredient in magical spells.
  • Assassins use a code name in their work e.g. The Slash, Bad Steph, Sex Party Ben. Dr. Cruces and Alice Band seem to be exempt from this rule (perhaps because they are the public face of the Guild?). Assassins are meant to leave no witnesses when carrying out an inhumation, as opposed to not touching non-targets.
  • Wizards wear hooded robes instead of pointed hats. They enjoy a high status in the city because they have created the magic-based technology the city relies on.
  • The Assassin's Guild has its own cemetery plot where members are buried. Notable assassins are buried under their guild name while disgraced assassins are buried under their real names.
  • The Unreal Estate is now located outside the city of Ankh-Morpork. It begins in a large desert that surrounds the outskirts of the city and continues towards a lake with corrosive waters. The area is flooded with magical energy that can affect the minds of people who enter.
  • There is a cell specifically for the Patrician located in the Watch-house.

Technology

  • The technological level of Ankh-Morpork is far more advanced than in the books: the city has electricity and light bulbs, and some clothing has zippers. These advances are down to the Wizards stealing technology from Roundworld and attempting to recreate it with additional magical properties.
  • Imps inhabit security cameras and paint on tablets similar to their book counterparts. However the tablets act similar to touchscreen devices with scrolling images and zoom and video functionality.
  • The Clacks system is represented as ticker-tape like machines.

Non-Humans

  • Goodboy is a pocket-sized dragon resembling a winged Armadillo girdled lizard, that Sybil uses as a handheld flamethrower.
  • Goblins are much taller - a similar size to humans - wear armour, and work as mercenaries.
  • There are some new unnamed humanoid species present in the show: a human species with various types of horns, a blue skinned humanoid wearing gold armour and a humanoid with large pointed ears and bushy eyebrows.
  • It is unclear whether female Dwarfs have beards. Carrot's dwarf mother did not have a beard but Cheery mentions that her mother shaved her beard off and later wore a false one.
  • The Summoning Dark, also called the 'Dark in the Dark,' is now a benevolent entity. It seeks out outcasts in Dwarf society and transports them to a realm where they can be their true selves as well as other versions of themselves. It can also transport people across the world instantly.
  • Trolls can communicate with other Trolls telepathically via touch. The oldest Trolls can even communicate with each other through different universes.
  • The Noble Dragon has a far more ethereal appearance seeming to be composed of smoke with a glowing fiery core.
  • The Auditors are now called The Observers.

Gallery

Promotional Art by Paul Kidby
Series Poster
Series Watch-Badge Image

External Links